Lunes, Mayo 23, 2016

Study abroad (JAPAN) via University Recommendation with MEXT Scholarship

I dedicate this blog to all my Filipino friends who would want to study abroad, specifically at Osaka University, JAPAN with scholarship, Monbukagakusho/ MEXT in particular.

Special programs offered conducted in English:
1) Biotechnology Global Human Resource Development Program (my program)
2) Chemical Science Course (Material Emergence Program)
3) International Program for Maritime and Urban Engineering

I'm not being a racist here. It's just that I don't know if the process of application in my country (Philippines) applies the same to all countries. Based on what I've read on blogs and forums such as (forums intended for aspiring Japan International Students), deadlines of submission and process might differ. Moreover, I'd be specifically discussing the process involved for Osaka University Graduate School application (though some Universities of Japan, might have just the same procedures)

Reasons why application might differ from country to country:
1. Diplomatic relationship to Japan
2.Specific Foreign University connection to Universities in Japan

I applied through University Recommendation at Osaka University Graduate School of Engineering, Japan. My M.S. UPLB classmate Jenny Trinidad who's now studying there for about 2 years now played a big role on the process of my application. (This personal experience deserves separate blog. Let's focus on the process of application, shall we?)

Application Requirements:
-Applicant must be from a country with diplomatic relation with Japanese government
-Age must be less than 35 years of age.
-Education: 16 years of formal education
-Must be at least 22 years old. (If below 22 y.o., you are required to take Preliminary Examination of Applicant's Qualifications by Oct.31, consult ISAS)

There are two (2) ways of application:
1.) Embassy
(Semester Starting Date: April)
2.) University Recommendation
(Semester Starting Date: October 1)

I don't have concrete knowledge about this process, since I applied via University Recommendation. Based on the account of my former M.S. classmate who's now studying at Kyushu University (Thru embassy), her first screening would be through a written exam that would assess your English and comprehension skills. Then second screening would be in a form of interview/oral exam moderated by a panel of experts/scientists. 

University Recommendation 
(visit )

1.) Email your prospect adviser/sensei at Japan first. 

Usually you would be able to find their email address online via University website. Write a letter (via email) and make sure to highlight your achievements and credentials, such as degree sought, publications such as thesis, reasons why you'd like to work under your sensei's supervision, and if possible your proposed study. You may also want to attach your curriculum vitae/resume. Wait for your sensei's reply. (This applies for all degree level: BS, MS, Ph.D)

2.) Web Application System

Applicant must visit this URL and complete the necessary processes. Basic Workflow:
A) visit the URL
B) click "Registration", fill out the necessary items and finish the process. 
Note that this system only opens during the designated date and time of application such as last year's period of application (November 16, 2015 to December 15, 2015 4:00PM (Japan Time)
C) when applicants receive an email confirming the registration (B), visit the designated URL to continue further requirements.
Note that applicants should fill out the necessary items and upload the following required materials. After completing the process, press " Submit" button. Also, applicants must complete "Recommendation" term to request the letter of recommendation ( you would be needing email address of your Dean or Chancellor. At least 2 professors must compose a recommendation letter for you. Before you even submit your Dean's email address to this website, as common courtesy you must visit and talk to your Dean first. Inform them that ISAS would email them to request for a recommendation letter for you)

You will receive an e-mail of confirmation when the application has completed. Moreover you should watch out still for another email ( for their assessment on your documents, for sometimes they would ask for more supporting docs), since they give strict deadlines on submissions. Once you're cleared and everything so far is sailing smoothly, you may now "Generate PDF", print the PDF and submit it together with the required documents by AIRMAIL to ISAS:

International Student Affairs Section
Student Affairs Division
Graduate School of Engineering
Osaka University

2-1 Yamadaoka, Suits
Osaka 565-0871, JAPAN
Telephone: +81-6-6879-7225
Facsimile: +81-6-6879-7229

D) Documents (all ORIGINAL) that must be submitted to ISAS before December 25 (this may vary)

1) application form (a photograph of 4cm x 3cm, taken within the last 3 months should be affixed on the first page)

2) certificate of (expected) / graduation completion
(If you have both B.S. and M.S. completed submit them both. If M.S. not completed, TOR would be fine). If about to graduate as M.S., expected graduation cert)

3) certificate of academic record/TOR (for both B.S. and higher levels if taken such as M.S. and Ph.D)

4) certificate of English Proficiency
(Applicants who have graduated from university where English is the main language of instruction are exempt from submitting this. So in my case instead, I just submitted Medium of Instruction Certificate) 

5) Recommendation letters 
-2 recommendation letters from 2 separate recommenders. (For Osaka U and MEXT scholarship)
-Addressed to the President of Osaka University (Google the current president of Osaka University)

(Recommenders can send the letter directly to ISAS or can be airmailed. In my case, one recommendation letter was sent directly to ISAS via email. Second rcommendation letter coming from my Dean was given to me and was airmailed together with the other pertinent documents)

6) Statement of Purpose
-Research Proposal
-A4 size paper
-double spaced pages
-maximum of 3 PAGES

7) certificate of Citizenship
-A4 size paper
-copy of the passport may substitute for this purpose

8) Abstract of Graduation Thesis/ Thesis Outline (if not yet completed)
-or any equivalent publications/documents

*First screening would be done on the basis of these documents and the interview via Skype. Interview part would just basically assess your communication skills, (if you're good in English or Japanese) also, they would ask questions assessing your determination to study in their country for 5 years. For they fear that some international students would just drop because of homesick. So make sure you'd be able to show your sincerity and determination. This may differ in your interview. But based on the forums I've read, they also just had a casual interview via Skype. Also be punctual. If your sensei scheduled you at say 1pm, you must be online by 12:30pm at least. Stay humble and use simple english words.

After the first screening. If blessed enough to be selected, the University would email you an acceptance letter, that they would accept you as their FINAL CANDIDATE STUDENT under <Insert Program> 
 *Also, by the middle of January, Graduate School of Engineering (GSE), the Osaka University will select PRELIMINARY CANDIDATES for the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho/MEXT) Scholarship from the entire pool of applicants.

Bear in mind that selection process for scholarship is independent to the screening process of University (So for example you might be accepted by University without mext scholarship)

*2nd screening (for you to be selected as FINAL MEXT candidate ): EMAIL-BASED exam-
3 professors from different fields would email you 3 questions each. This interview in a form of email-based exam would conclude by the end of February.
(A total of 9 questions). You might receive all their 1st questions at the same time. So you'd better use your time wisely. As soon as you email back your answer, then will you get the 2nd question. But bear in mind that for every question, you would only be given 24 hours to answer it. The faster you submit your answer the more credible you would be. Make your answer concise and comprehensible. Make it straightforward. They usually ask for answers within the range of 200-400 words.

3rd step: Japanese government will select among the final candidates to whom they'd grant scholarships. 
(Successful applicants will be notified by post by the end of June. Notifications will be sent to the address specified in the application form)
Although based on forums and blogs I've read, once the University had chosen to recommend you to MEXT, you can already relax and claim your victory! Yey! But then, I'm still waiting for the official acceptance letter. One month to goooo!

(Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by the middle of February. They do not reply to individual inquiries regarding admission decisions) Logically speaking, since I did not receive notification this February that I failed, then maybe I can be more positive by this time ;)

Yep! Osaka University accepted me as their October 2016 international student. But I'm still waiting for Japanese Government decision's over my scholarship! Wish me luck!

5 years ( 2 years M.S. + 3 yrs. Ph.D in Engineering)
Application fee, admission fee and tuition: exempt

147,000 JPY/Month = 60,000 PhP
Economy Class Air Ticket free (to Osaka U nearest airport before class starts and back to your country after 5 years)
-if you wish to visit your home country every year it must be at your own expense.
Insurance premiums for travel to/from Japan shall be borne by the grantee.

Godbless! Future gaijin!
If you have inquiries, feel free to leave a comment :) I'd be more than happy to help you.

Lastly, we created an FB group:
Osaka University International Students-October 2016.

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