(Part 2) Aaaaagghhhhh (or, Applying for a Japanese University Exchange)

In early February I was offered my allocation to Waseda, and at about 5pm on February 17 (notably, this was a Friday evening, because this country operates on business days and hours only) I got an email from the Study Abroad Office, in which they’d forwarded me Waseda’s application pack.

I was so excited.

Then I saw that the deadline was the 1st of March. Everything for my application had to have been prepared, posted, and have arrived in Japan, a little over a week after I got the email.

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Real footage of me as I was making a to do list for the week

I like to think of myself as an easygoing, optimistic person. I do try my best to be adaptable too, but it doesn’t come very naturally to me. So, naturally, as soon as it dawned on me that I had, realistically (considering postage and, as I said before, the world’s inability to function on a weekend), about 3 days to get everything finished whilst working and studying and getting-my-life-together at the same time, I started crying every time I thought about trying to do it all sorry Mum and Dad  got a bit stressed.

Of course, everything is relative and now I’m like aw whatever I was freaking out over nothing (but honestly no, I’m a massive control freak, I was screeching)

But I digress: Alex (who is one of my best pals and is also to become a Waseda darling) and I were quite panicked, but our Japanese tutor, Junko, is an angel and life saver. It’s a long story (basically the application window opened on February 1 and we were supposed to have gotten all of our application information around that time, and for reasons which nobody has explained, we just didn’t get given it when we were supposed to), but she spoke to the Study Abroad office for us. They explained the unfortunate situation to Waseda and requested an extension, and Waseda thankfully extended the deadline to the March 15 especially for us. It all worked out okay 🙂

So, my friends, here is a list of things to absolutely make sure that you have ready for your Japanese university application, just in case you conveniently don’t get told about said application until a week before the deadline.

  • Your passport (in-date for now, your whole time in Japan, and a bit after)
  • A letter from your university, stating that you are a student there. It should probably be stamped too, but this probably varies according your own university’s system.
  • An academic transcript, with a grading system chart (at Birmingham, you can contact your department’s office for this or email student services and ask for a .pdf, but I only got the grading system chart when I asked the Study Abroad office so they should probably be your first port of call)
  • At least 6 copies of a head and shoulders picture of you. Passport style, but the size that Waseda asked for (3x4cm) is a little bit smaller (5mm each side) than passport photos you get here. The photo shops I went into that can take passport photos didn’t do this size, so I just had to cut the pictures smaller myself. They need to be recent too, so maybe do it Christmas time/early January so you have them ready.
  • A recent bank statement (they might contact you if you don’t have at least £7k in your account since something around there is a requirement for a Japanese visa, although it depends since you can put in your application how your year is being funded through student finance or other ways)

Other stuff will depend on your host university however, so try to find their application page and complete what they ask for before they officially ask you for it, just in case. Here is Waseda’s page which lists what you will need to do (I wish I’d known that this exists before!), and it also has a really helpful guide for filling out the CoE (Certificate of Eligibility) that might be useful even if you’re not going to Waseda (other unis appear to format the application for a CoE differently, but the questions are basically the same). Like the personal statement, if you want to have a peep at my Academic Study Plan to get an idea for yours, message me and I’ll send you a copy. (You may also message me for dog pictures, or a story of what I would personally do if I were Hugh Grant for the day.)

Some other universities also require a health check as part of their application, including a chest x-ray to check for tuberculosis (wild, I know). I wouldn’t book any appointments until you know what you need from your university exactly, but I’m not sure if medically unnecessary x-rays and things like that are covered by the NHS, so it might be an idea to keep some cash back for it.

I think you can claim expenses for things like health checks back from Student Finance through the Study Abroad Grant if you receive a maintenance loan (although it is means tested), just keep your receipts for everything. It’d be worth phoning up and checking with them first though, because I don’t really know since Waseda never asked me for any health checks. I’d make a joke about sneaking tuberculosis into Japan but I’m scared about customs finding this blog and using it as evidence against me. I haven’t got tuberculosis and I’ve never had tuberculosis. I promise. I literally had a chest x-ray yesterday. I considered asking for a copy just in case I need to prove that I’m TB Free™, but I don’t think that’s allowed, and they’d have probably mentioned it to me if I was riddled with tuberculosis anyways.

ゲスの極み乙女。- キラーボール
Gesu no Kiwami Otome. – Killer Ball

Part 3

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