Kuuki's about to learn a lot of Japanese...here's how she's doing it!
I recently became a student in Japan. What am I studying you might ask? Japanese. I don’t think there is anything more typical than this but everyone needs to start somewhere.
Now you might have other questions…like, if you want to study in Japan, how do you do it. Fear not! I am here to bring you answers on becoming a student in Japan!
The first step is to decide to do it. It might seem silly but it’s quite an important step. Be prepared for anything but what you have experienced so far. Right now, in the space of 2 weeks, 3 hours a day, everyone in my class (me included) know how to perfectly write hiragana, katakana, and we’ve just started lesson 7 in the infamous Minna no nihongo, which we’ll have done in 2 days. Normal university might be a bit slower but considering you’d have to follow everything in Japanese, you need to be fluent before coming and that’s easier said than done. Unless you luck out and find a program in English.
Not only that but, obviously, Japan is completely different from home and every year, people can’t cope and go back home. Basically, think before you act.
Second step is to find a school. If you want to enter university, either find an exchange between your university and a Japanese one or do it the hard way and pass the test for international students. If you want to enter a Japanese school, find a school that suits your need and contact them asking for details that interests you, such as schedule, the classes offered and so on.
Third step is completing the visa application process. Which is hell. Not only does it take 6 months for a clear answer but it takes quite some times to even complete the different documents. I started applying in September and handed everything and had complete and perfect papers in the end of October. Know that the school isn’t going to process your application if it isn’t perfect and they’re not going to accept even a single mistake. Every week I got an email asking me to complete something on the application paper, and every week it was something different. Then I finally got an email that told me the application was sent to the Immigration Bureau and then started the next step. Waiting.
So I waited until the end of February, obviously it doesn’t end there. After I had to go to a Japanese Embassy (everywhere in the world is fine) and apply for the actual visa. Which took 2 days. That probably came as the best surprise in the whole process.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that nothing is easy when you want to become a student in Japan, nor is the process, nor are the actual studies. You’d better be ready and prepared, prepared to see your Japanese level go up and go up fast. I can already see it after only 2 weeks, I can’t only begin to imagine what level I’ll be at after 2 years.