I received my acceptance by email from Waseda on June 1st, and applied for accommodation on June 5th.
You apply for accommodation at Waseda by filling out a lifestyle, or personality test (amazing). After normal questions (name, birthday, gender, home university, would you like university owned accommodation, would you like a single or shared room, what is the maximum amount of rent that you’re willing to pay, medical requirements, religion, Japanese and English ability), they allocate you to a dorm (you get no choice, although they won’t put you in any dorm that is more expensive than the maximum rent you say that you’re willing to pay) based on your responses to these questions:
- Do you smoke? たばこを吸いますか？(Never まったく吸わない, Sometimes 時々吸う, Regularly 毎日吸う
- Do you drink alcoholic beverages? アルコール飲料を飲みますか？(Never まったく飲まない, Sometimes 時々飲む , Regularly 毎日飲む )
- Do you have a fear of heights? (Acrophobia) あなたは高いところが苦手ですか？（高所恐怖症）(Yes はい, No いいえ)
- Do you consider yourself… あなたのライフスタイルを教えてください。(A morning person 朝型, A night person 夜型, Both どちらも)
- Do you consider yourself… あなたはどれにあてはまりますか？(Quiet おとなしい, Average 普通, Active 活発)
- How do you like to keep your living space (this includes both your room and the bathroom)? 自分の部屋（トイレやシャワールームを含む）は、(I prefer to keep it neat, tidy and organized. とても清潔で整理整頓されているほうが良い。 , I don’t mind if it is somewhat messy and disorganized. 少し散らかっていても気にならない。
- Do you mind background noise, music? 物音や音楽について (I mind it. とても気になる。, I don’t mind it so much. さほど気にならない。, I don’t mind it at all. 全く気にならない。)
Just fill it out honestly (mine was boring, I was just in the middle for everything so I don’t end up in a boring flat but I don’t end up in The Sesh Flat™ either), and put everything, however small in the medical conditions category. They will contact you asking for clarification on your condition if they’re unsure, and what aid they can give you if they haven’t dealt with it before. It may help to have any doctors’ notes/university support agreements you have to hand to email over to them in this case.
They have been very accommodating with me so far! For example, I stated a joint condition on my form and they emailed back pretty soon after asking what the condition was, how it affected me, and if there’s any way they could help. I told them my condition is basically self-managed and alright these days, but my doctor’s letter mentioned that I might sometimes struggle to walk distances in cold weather (amongst other symptoms) so they’ve assigned me a room that’s not too many storeys high up, in a building that’s only a 5 minutes walk from campus. It could be a coincidence, but I do appreciate it anyway.
I also booked my flights as soon as I received my acceptance. It is not recommended to do this before you get your visa (apparently), but flights can be expensive so you should try to book them asap, since the price will only go up with time. There’s a lot of ways you can go about looking for cheap flights, but going through a travel agent is probably easiest, since they’ll take into account that you want cheap flights and lots of baggage (plus Waseda have a pick-up service from Narita airport if you arrive within certain times on certain days, so I wanted to aim for that time to make my life a bit easier and it was practically impossible to find them myself. I tried flight comparison sites, but the only flights they were suggesting that landed when I wanted them to had ridiculous layovers of around 18 hours!).
Like I said in my previous post, Geraldine Sproston Personal Travel Consultant at Hays Travel is an endlessly lovely person who helped me to find everything I needed, and she even sent me a personalised e-brochure for the area I’m going to. She was also really helpful in helping me figure out my return flight – I don’t plan on coming back to England at all (Full Immersion All The Way All 日本 All The Time Come On My Tomodachis), but I couldn’t book as far ahead as August 2018. For a fee, you can change the date of your return flight, so she found me all the costs of doing this too. She even sorted me out a vegan meal for my flight because I was paranoid about eating fish (which I’m very allergic to) (I know it’s very ironic and sad, going to Japan and being severely extremely allergic to fish, but I would very much rather have an allergic reaction on the ground than IN THE AIR, ON A PLANE). So I’d say it’s very helpful to have someone helping you, (especially if you’ve like me and have never been on a long-haul flight before so you can ask them silly questions like “When am I supposed to go to the airport” and things like that)
It’s also worth mentioning that I got my housing allocation (I’m still deciding whether to post where it is because duh it would be helpful to anyone going to Waseda, and I will take pictures of my room and stuff, but posting your address online is a Bit of A Silly Thing to Do. I once called an alt-right man on Twitter bald and he got really mad at me for it and called me a baldist crack whore. What if he eggs my window for my baldophobic attitude? I’m not baldophobic, I just said he was bald to state a fact), and thankfully there isn’t a lot to do for that. There’s just a form you need to email in confirming your personal details, an emergency contact at home. You’ll also need a head and shoulders picture of yourself, so maybe keep back another passport photo from your previously-obtained stash (I was not smart enough to do this. This is why this blog exists; future exchange students can thrive living off the knowledge gained from my idiot mistakes. However, I did take a head and shoulders selfie on my phone and they appear to have accepted that!)
On said form, you also book in for use of the pick-up service from the airport, which I would recommend (despite obviously not having used it yet) because according to Google Maps, Narita to Waseda by train is about 2 hours, whereas by car it’s one hour. I don’t fancy navigating a whole new train system after 14 hours of flying; even just Tamworth and it’s weird split level situation makes me a little bit confused and scared at times. I mean you go upstairs and there’s another train track? What? It’s so weird.
Other than that one form, there’s just a contract that you need to print twice and sign each that you take with you and hand in to reception yourself. Easy peasy.
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