(Part 1) The Calm Before the Storm (or, Starting Your Exchange Application)

If you’re reading this, you’re either having a nose at my blog out of curiosity, or because you’re about to begin your Japanese university exchange application odyssey. Hello! Either way, this is the first part on my whirlwind guide on how to apply to your Japanese university when the time comes to do so, without getting yourself into an absolute state, as I did.

The process will vary by university (and most likely by year), so this is just how it all went for me. (I’ll split it up by sub-headings and also blog posts, because at this point I haven’t even got my visa yet but I’m already edging onto 3k words!)

Part One: The Beginning

Basically, my home university had a list of partners to which we could apply (you can find University of Birmingham’s exchange partners here; your home university will likely have their own list), and we chose our top three choices from the list (mine personally were Waseda University, Keio University, and Hitotsubashi University, in that order).

In November last year, we had to send details about how we are splitting our third year between our languages (I do French and Japanese, so I could either split my year and spend a semester each in Japan and in a Francophone country, or go to Japan for a year and then do a summer intensive course in France, so I chose the latter because duh when else am I going to live in Japan? France is just down the road), our uni choices, and a personal statement as to why we had picked these three to the Study Abroad office. As far as I remember, we did not get guidance on how to write the personal statement, but I do remember being told not to write it like a UCAS personal statement: instead of writing about why you’re a miracle and the university should want you, you need to write about how the university would benefit you personally. You don’t get a lot of time to do it, but this does mean that it is really important to research your choices and also consider the course that you would be doing there. Most universities in Japan to my knowledge do offer an intensive Japanese language course (which you will likely be doing if you’re a languages student, like me), but if you’re studying something different for your degree (business, economics, liberal arts, etc.), your home university will likely expect you to do at least some modules on that subject. So it’s important to find out what exactly you’re applying for!

I’m not going to post my own personal statement here because it’s cringe, as personal statements are, but if you have a similar personal statement that you need to write for your application and looking at mine would help, let me know and I’ll send you mine to look at/admire/be disgusted by.

アンジュルム – 乙女の逆襲
Angerme  – Otome no Gyakushuu (A Girl’s Counterattack)




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