Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I'm going to Japan! (With the Monbukagakusho Undergraduate Scholarship)


But before that, I'm so excited! And that's not because I went to the zoo today (but that was great too). No, it's because the letter that I've been waiting months for has finally arrived today:


Although I got an acceptance email way back in December, it's still very nice to have actual paper in my hands. Now, my sisters (and parents and extended family) can't keep asking me if it's a hoax because I have an official letter(: Now, I just need to get them to stop making those rather insensitive coments about whether I'm going to turn Japanese (the hidden subtext being that I'll betray my race).

Now, I realise that there aren't many posts on the Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Undergraduate Scholarship process, and also for my rather-short-term memory, I think it'll be really helpful to write down what I went through.

Stage One: Submitting Documents

This should theoretically be the easiest stage. But, since I didn't have many of the documents, I spend a fair bit of time worrying. That's because I applied before I graduated from school, which meant I didn't have any documents about my final scores and whatnot. All I had was a letter from the school saying that I was "expected" to graduate.

And even that letter was trouble. The first time it was written, they referred to me as "he". And keeping in mind that it typically needs three working days to be written, I was very near panic-mode. All I can say is THANK YOU FRONT OFFICE STAFF. Especially for bending the three day rule for me.

Later on, I heard that some candidates (who made it pass the Document Screening), that they made some mistakes, like choosing Private Universities for direct placement. If nothing changes, MEXT only allows you to apply for public universities. I'm a very cautious person, so I'd rather make no mistakes in the documents, in case it reflects badly on you.

Lesson learned: Make sure you have plenty of time to finish and submit the right documents.

Stage two: Examinations

For the humanities side, I had to take three exams in English, Maths and Japanese. (Did I mention that I'll be studying Business Administration?). The main difficulty with this stage is the lack of time. If I remember correctly, I had about a week to prepare for this. So, I ended up doing past year papers every night.

If English is your native language, the English paper shouldn't be a problem for you. And it probably won't be a problem for many of the candidates. In fact, I think the scores should be the same.

Maths on the other hand, was tough. Even though I take Higher Level Maths (Not that I'm very good in it, since I only scored a 6 in IB), it was still really really hard. I took a few problems to several maths teachers (all of them brilliant) and even they had trouble solving them. But thankfully, I managed to finish more of the questions, although I heard there were candidates who handed in blank sheets.

Finally Japanese, is pretty hard to cram in a week. All I can say is to study regularly, which is why I was so thankful that I've been taking regular lessons. It's supposed to be very important, so some basic knowledge of kana and kanji is essential.

Stage Three: Interview

Again, I had about one week's notice for the interview dates, so you should arrange for that day to be free as early as possible (they do give out a schedule). Other than that, there are only two things:

1. Be Honest
2. Have someone practice your answers with you. I am so blessed to have my Business and Management teacher, who spent the time to give me interview questions so that I wouldn't ramble (too much) at the actual interview. Note however, this doesn't contradict number 1. Thinking about and Practicing explaining your motivations and background does not mean that you make up stories to tell the interviewers.

[EDIT] I've been getting so many questions about the interview, so rather than make another post and have you guys click and click and click (although it would make the blog stats look good), here's what else I can remember after two years:

a. The interview won't be as bad as you think. Honest. The questions aren't tricky, they're the normal kind - "Why do you want to study ______?", "Why do you want to study in Japan?", "What do you plan to do after graduating?". Of course, they may vary the questions from year to year, but it should stay roughly the same.

b. Yes, the interview is very important. It's the last stage of the embassy selections, so do your best.

c. This is just a recommendation  but I think it would make a good impression if you went for the interview either in a suit, or your school's formal uniform. If in doubt (perhaps where you live, everyone dresses in a suit or something for interviews), ask a teacher (I asked my business teacher, who also coached me).

Stage Four: Medical Tests

If I learnt anything from the interview process, it was that the Japanese are efficient people, so like the other stages, I had about a week. This time, things like blood tests and X-rays were needed, so if you can, pay extra to get the results ASAP. It really helps if your doctor writes a note to the technicians there (if you go to outside facilities) to explain why, because they might have policies on that. Of course, tell your doctor the deadline for submission, so he knows why you're rushing him.

This might be a good time to mention that I hand-delivered all documents to the embassy. Although the Singapore Postal system is very effective, I still feel safer knowing when the documents arrive at the embassy, and of course, knowing that they have arrived!

Stage Five: Waiting

This is the most difficult part, because the waiting is the longest. Keep calm and have hope.

NOTE: I think many of you lovely readers find my blog through this page, so if you do have any questions, I'd really appreciate it if you look at these pages first:

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (II)
Frequently Asked Questions (III) Please do NOT ask me these questions. 

NOTE II: It seems like Google has stopped notifying me about comments. Please search the archives and read through the FAQs first, and if I left out something, email me using the widget on the right. I'll definitely get that message(:

2017 Update: I created a PDF that summarises my 5 years in MEXT! You can learn more at this post. 

103 comments :

  1. hey...congratulations....well i also want to get monbusho scholarship....plz plz plz guide me regarding universities ...i mean plsss guide me how to choose ryt public universities....please...i will be faithful to you

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    1. Thanks! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have ^^

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    2. hiii,i hav been preparing for my science 12th board exams.....can you give me JASSO science past year question papers if possible.....i want them ..or else tell me the link of all past year papers for monbusho scholarship.....and i wil be applying for 2014....after my 12th grade..shoul i hav to keep good relations and talks with japanese embassey staff??....and while ur tym.. how many students were there for qualifying examination in singapore embassey..???....

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    3. Hi Saurabh!

      I didn't take the science papers, but here's the link to JASSO: http://www.jasso.go.jp/index_e.html If you look around, I'm sure that you'll find them somewhere.

      I don't actually know how many students were taking the exam (we were broken up into groups), but I think there were quite a few).

      Well, I'm not sure if you have to keep good relationships, but it's always good to be polite to people, especially those that have helped you.

      ^_^

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    4. Hey saurabh!
      How did the exams etc go?
      Did you get the scholarship?

      Delete
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  3. Dear Eustacia Tan, good afternoon.
    My name is Ramon Aleixo, I am from Brazil.
    Firstly, congratulations for your approval by Mext! Enjoy your academic education in Japan! :) Next year, I intend to apply for an undergraduate scholarship here in my country too. I read in the application guide of this year something about a procedure called "direct placement". This a way to enter the university with no japanese language requirement or to who possesses a sufficient knowledge of japanese to begin their studies. Both cases waive the one-year preparatory school (i.e the grantees are placed directly at the university in which has their courses, being just 4 years of study. The chosen university and all this process is intermediated and decided by Mext). In my case, I am very interest in this procedure since I'd really like to have an university education in english language in Japan. Could you explain me more about this, please? Do we have to request it in the time of submitting the application in the Embassy / Consulate? I have many and many questions, so if you permit me, i'd like to clarify them with you. I look forward to your answer, thanks a lot ^^

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    1. Hi Ramon,

      Hmm.... I've heard of the direct placement, and I assume if you have JLPT N2 or higher (or your university is in English), you can apply to skip it. But I didn't take this route so I'm afraid I don't know much about it. I think the best way to get the information is to request it directly from the embassy, especially since the application procedures and guidelines could change.

      But to the best of my knowledge, the number of English courses in Japan is very small, especially since MEXT scholars can only go to public universities (and it is the private universities that tend to have more English courses).

      I'm sorry I can't help much in this aspect. But if you have any other questions, feel free to ask me.

      ^_^

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    2. Thanks for your reply, Eustacia Tan!

      I got informations from the Japanese legation here and they confirmed that the direct placement is possible (you only have to submit a form with 3 options of University). In the fall semester (over between August and December), if the applicant have passed the exams and interview, they contact the desired universities (for my suprise, all kind of university can be chosen - national, public and private), and so the applicant provides the remainder documentation of the own University. if it accepts him/her, everything is ok and the scholarship is given (in this case, he/she goes to Japan in the date chosen by the university) if not, Mext rejects the application and does not give the scholarship.

      Despite a process of "high risk" (as they're only 3 universities), im really thinking of applying for this. Let's see...i will do my part ^^





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    3. Hi Ramon,

      That's great! I'm glad you managed to find the information you need. All the best, and hopefully, you'll be in Japan with MEXT one day!

      ^_^

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    4. Thanks a lot!!! I will really work hard for that! :)

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  4. I envy you! Congratulations
    Hello, I finished High School in 2011, even went to Japan and within a year of self study, I am now around JLPT2 level (can read / write Kanji as well). I am really bad at the math (from previous year, I cannot understand what they are asking from me) I believe English will be 80%, Math 0%, Japanese 80%, and interview Japanese fully well done; would it be passable? I wonder...

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    1. Hi Diari,

      Woah N2? That's a really high level! You'll probably ace the Japanese exam!

      Hmm.... what major do you intend to study? If you're going to do a major that has nothing to do with math, it might not matter so much. But I think it would be best if you try to get at least 50% for Math.

      I'm quite bad at maths too, but I used the past year papers (from JASSO) to practice, so I was somewhat used to the questions. Perhaps you could do something similar?

      All the best!
      ^_^

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  5. Hello!
    First of all, congratulations! I bet you studied really hard, so you deserve it!
    Um, but I wanted to ask... did they tell you your scores? How do you think you did on your papers? I plan on applying for humanities, like you, too. But I'm afraid I'm not that good in Japanese (although I take classes for five years...), and my Maths is just a little bit above average. English is the only subject I think I'm capable of doing great, so I'm really nervous.
    What did you use to study? Do you remember any books you can tell me about?
    ALSO, the interview is in english, right?
    Thank you, and sorry for so many questions! I'm really excited for you, haha!

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    1. Hey(:

      Thanks~

      Um, no they didn't. But, I think my Japanese was much worse than yours. I only studied for two years back then, and I barely practiced at all.

      Hmmm.... your situation actually sounds a lot like mine. I'm not sure how I did for math, but I know that everyone found it difficult :p

      Yup, the interview was in English. I believe it's so worldwide, because my friend from Indonesia said something to that effect (I think, it was quite a long time ago).

      As for study materials, I used the JASSO website, for past year papers. For Japanese, it was mainly the JLPT books, so whatever grammar book works best for you is the right one. I really do like Japanese the Manga Way, athough it has romaji throughout the book.

      I hope you get the scholarship too~

      ^_^

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  6. Hello, my name is Ian. I'm from Indonesia. I have some questions about this scholarship. I hope you will answer it :)

    I graduated from high school last July and right now I'm studying at university with a major in nuclear engineering. I plan to drop-out after the first semester and apply for this scholarship next year. (Don't ask why, ^_^)

    Do you think it will affect the selection process and hurt my chance if I write on the application form that I have an experience of dropping-out from university? I plan to study economics in Japan.

    For the exam, I'm worried about maths. Is there any calculus?
    I have 7 months starting from now to prepare for the exam though. I really want to get this scholarship XD.

    By the way, which university do you intend to study?

    Thank you :)

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    1. Hi Ian!

      Hmmm.... I don't think it'll hurt your application, since quite a few of the scholars here have dropped out from their universities to come for this program.

      I don't think there's calculus in the entrance exam, but we do study it in maths class here (If I remember what calculus is correctly :p).

      Hehe, my university application is due next week, so forgive me for being a little secretive. I will be posting about it once I know the results though.

      Would you want me to put you in contact with a few of the Indonesians with this scholarship? They may know more about the entrance exam, because it varies from country to country (I think).

      ^_^

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    2. Thanks for replying!

      All right, that's cool :)

      There's no calculus? Great then (I suck at it :P). Integrals, derivatives, and limits are some example of calculus by the way.

      I just read your post about your exam result. I feel bad asking which university you intend to study, sorry. Please do your best in the future!

      No, I'm good. I don't want to distract them with my not-so-important question(s) XD

      Thanks again, Eustaciaさん ^^

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    3. Hey Ian,

      Oh ok. Hmm... I don't recall any calculus in the exam question, but it's definitely a big part of the syllabus here (Strange right?) Sorry for misleading you. I'm quite terrible at math myself :p

      Alright. But if you ever need to contact a senpai, feel free to ask me, or my friend Stella (she's one of your Indonesian senpai's)

      ^_^

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  8. Hey.. Congratulatins.
    I graduated from high school last year and now I'm going to try for the mext scholarships, I want to study electronic engineering so can you please give me the syllabus for math, physics, and chemistry.?
    another question , what do they usually ask in the interview?

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    1. Hey!

      Sorry but I'm a humanities student, so I don't know much about the sciences.

      And I've only been to one interview, so I can't say what are the "usual" questions, but do read this post again for the interview tips.

      All the best!

      ^_^

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  9. Hello there! Well I've been reading your blog for over a year now! *yay! And now that I'm in year 11 I've sorta decided that I want to try for the scholarship. I've got a good idea about the process and since I know it won't be all that easy , I've made it my goal to get better at school and in return do well on the scholarship examinations. I'm still just confused about one thing. The timeline on the Embassy of Japan in New Zealand says:

    April Applications open
    25 May Applications close
    6 June Examinations held
    6-13 June Interviews held
    January 2013 Decision notification

    What I'm confused about is the timing of the interviews. As you can see they seem to be held right after the examinations. Of course , I am no way near confident I will be chosen -_- , however I do need to know the timing since I would need to travel a few hours by plane to get there. So I was wondering how long did you wait for after the examinations till you got interviewed? And thank you so much! I really enjoy your blog and I hope you continue enjoying japan :D !

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    1. Hey!

      Woah, that means you've been reading from the start! Thanks so much(:

      Hmm... in my case, I got the notice for the interview on the same day as the examinations. If I were you, I'd just block out the whole period just in case. (And don't worry, my friends and I weren't confident about being chosen either. Just try your best!)

      ^_^

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    2. Wow thats fast! And I'll try my best! Anyways thank you so much! :D

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  10. Hello Eustacia, I want to congratulate you for the obvious effort you are putting in your blog. I know you are a busy person, however, I have many questions so just answer to the ones you feel like answering. I am a student from Spain and the academic year ends in July but the processing period of the scholarship is around spring, so I don't really know if that will be a problem. Around how many people apply for the scholarship? Are there any Spaniards or Europeans among them?

    Now, this is a more personal question: I was born in Australia, then moved to Spain and studied high school in Japan for a year, part of my family is Japanese so I go there every year, I do volunteer activities, I am a member of the socialist youth, and have won some japanese calligraphy contests. I know I just sounded like a snob (wasn't my inbtention at all) but, would all that help if I mentioned it?

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    1. Hi Saifa!

      Thanks for the compliment! I'll try my best to answer your question.

      I don't know how many people apply, not even just the numbers for Singapore :p There are many Eastern Europeans and Latin American scholars.

      Personally, I don't know if it would help. If you think it would, then you could just submit it. I think if it was unnecessary, it would just be ignored rather than held against you. Still, if you're unsure, I'd advise that you ask your embassy about what documents they want.

      Hope it helps!

      ^_^

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  11. hello, my name is fadlan.
    i'm from indonesia.
    This year I will be graduating from senior high school.
    I wanted to follow Monbukagakusho scholarship for humanities
    i need help for solve math problem, can senpai help me?
    can senpai give me the syllabus for math?

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    1. Hi Fadlan,

      What do you mean by syllabus? Are you talking about what we learn during the prep year? Or are you talking about the entrance test? If you need past year papers, I think JASSO has a few online (I don't have any sadly).

      ^_^

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    2. what books that senpai use for preparing for test of monbukagakusho scholarship? especially for math (^^;)

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    3. I didn't use any books. To me, what the schools cover is sufficient.

      ^_^

      Delete
  12. Hello :)
    Congratulations! You sure worked pretty hard to get this and I am certain you deserve it. I hope everything's going just fine for you right now :)

    I'm sorry if this bothers you, but I have a few questions please ;;

    My name is Camellia, and I am from Algeria.
    I want to apply for the MEXT scholarship of 2014 (Since 2013 is not possible now).
    In my country, we do not have any Japanese class. And this is my freshman year at university, major: English Language. So to speak, I wanted to know if we can 'skip' the Japanese test but also be directed to Japanese universities that actually provide lectures in English.
    I am willing to learn Japanese, of course, but I do need my lectures to be in English or else, I'd struggle a lot.

    Also, it doesn't really bother me to repeat the freshman year if it is necessary. I'm willing to do it again.

    Oh and, since I want to try ths for 2014, when do you think the application guides will be put online? And concerning the TOEFL, is it necessary to have it?

    Thank you for taking the time to read and answer everyone!
    Good luck!

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    1. Hi Camellia!

      If I remember correctly, it is possible to take an English undergraduate course and skip the one year. You'll have to list the public universities you plan to apply to though. I didn't do this, so I'm not sure what other things you need. But, I know that Tokyo University has a new program called PEAK (I think), which is entirely in English, and Kyushu University has an English language based undergraduate program. If you like the sound of either of the two programs, you could do some research and then approach the Japanese embassy and ask if the scholarship includes these programs.

      And don't worry about the Japanese. There were quite a few people (a few classes actually), in my course that didn't know a single word of Japanese when they started. But now, they're all doing well in their various universities.

      I didn't need to take TOEFL, but I'm considered a native speaker. For Singapore, the application guides are online all year round, but I'm not sure what Algeria is like. You should check the website (and if there are consultation sessions, you can go with a list of questions).

      I hope this helps! Do let me know if you have any more questions.

      ^_^

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  13. Hello Eustacia! I've been reading your blogs a multiple of time to get updates from you because you have been super informative in providing guides for the scholarship. I've just sent my application form for next year's batch, and I'm so anxious! I'm quite curious myself, does the examination paper vary from country to country since each countries took different set of exams in high school/college although they are still from the same syllabus? I'm from Brunei Darussalam, and I took 'A' level examination. Once again thank you for continuously updating us your journey!

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    1. Hi Shuu!

      Thanks for reading my blog so many times! I'm really touched(:

      Hmm.... I'm not sure actually. But since JASSO only provided one set of exam papers (per stream) per year, I assume that the exam is the same around the world. The questions aren't so much based on a particular syllabus, but more on what they want you to know (I think).

      I hope this answers your question!

      ^_^

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  14. hello & good day Eustacia,
    my name is Ami Azihan from Malaysia. i bet you'll have a great experience over in japan. I always keep updating with your blog, but i think now was the perfect time for me to ask you several question that always been bugging me for the past 2 week or so. here in Malaysia, The japan Embassy had already released the application form which is due on 17th May 2013 as for academic year 2014.

    So basically, I can say that we are in a same boat, why? because. i just finish my Diploma recently on March 2013 so my full academic transcript will not be available until sept this year. apart from that I also did diploma in Business Administration Like u. So, i think u would be the best person who i can give me good advised on this Scholarship thingy.

    I had completely filled in the application form 100% as in the guidelines. just waiting for next week's monday to hand it over to the embbasy.

    rite now what worries me was, the examination which will be conducted for the candidates who had pass the first screening. i did do my homework, researching on the examination thing. most of the feedback that I've got was "the test was so tough" or "You Cant screw up the exam" an so on. So, im a bit concern about this unsettle issue. Until to the stage that i almost Gave up.

    Fortunately for me I found your blog and your inspirational word that triggered my will to just go for it, give it a try & apply this scholarship. thank your so much to you.

    In general, My question that i really wanted to ask was. was the examination tough?especially Mathematics. for your who had actually sit for the exam at least you can give me an advise on it.

    For social science and humanities we need to sit for english,Mathematics A and Japanese(which is optional), correct me if im wrong. can you give me a complete over view of these three subject. about the question structure, syllabus and ultimately your conclusion about this three subject..
    rite now im super duper Worried with the exam until to the extend that my Knee won't stop shaking.

    I'll be more that happy to hear any response from you.
    thank you so much.

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    1. Hi Ami,

      Thanks for always reading my blog! Well, the exam really was tough! But if you get a hold of the past year copies (from JASSO), you can get a sense of what it's like - it doesn't change much! I would say, practice from the past papers, and bring things like rulers, compass, whatever you think you would need (I wish I brought a protractor!). English, though, was extremely easy. Japanese had three stages - easy, intermediate and advanced. I can't remember the exact syllabus, but I'm very sure JASSO has information (I'm so sorry! I forgot quite a lot :p)

      Please don't worry! If you're nervous, you may end up blanking-out during the exam and that would just make things worse! If you practice, I'm sure that you can do it!

      All the best! I hope you can make it(: (Also, I have met some of your seniors here in Kyushu - from a different program unfortunately. But, if you would like to get in contact with them, I can pass your details over and ask them to contact you)

      ^_^

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    2. you don't have to be sorry though,It is really nice of you. I dont know how can i replay you. so rite now i think the best way for me to get through is to study hard, famaliarize with the question.

      Anyway how was Kyushu?
      do you mind share some information about the business administration course over in University the you are currently enrolled. like do many student are taking the course?

      how do the lecturer conduct the class, is it limited to few people around 15-20 or they are open up to 50-60 people in the lecturing hall?

      and if you dont mind, I want to know in business administration class/course which you were enrolled do men are more than women or vice versa?like in some other courses men are more than women, or the are just equally in numbers. like for an example men are more than women in mechanical engineering and so on, while women are more than men in dentistry, veterinary and so on, u got what i'm try to say did you? :-3

      If i Remembered Correctly, you did Mentioned TUFS(Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Student) in one of your post. what is TUfs actually is it the place where u did 1 year preparatory course before entering the University? you don't mind spare me some details don't cha? :-)

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    3. Hi Ami,

      Kyushu is amazing!

      I... actually don't remember the details. I think there are quite a few students, but I suggest you check the Kyushu University website. Or are you talking about foreign students. As for clases, it really depends on the class. Some have very few students, some have a lot.

      And if I remember right, there are more guys than girls in Business. But my class has quite a few girls (around 10).

      TUFS is the preparatory school(: I did quite a few posts on it I think ^^


      I hope this helps!

      ^_^

      Delete
    4. hey,

      sorry coz it take some time for me to actually replay you. hehe anyway, thank you very much it help me out a lot. wish you the best in the coming year. :)

      Delete
  15. hello there!
    I'm Windy from Philippines. I have read your blog and found it very useful.
    I'm graduating this 2014 in a University here in my country and planning to apply for MEXT Scholarship. I'm a psychology student and planning to take either humanities or biology. (: I just want to ask if the scholarship also covers your living expenses in Japan, or somehow give you an allowance for the whole month (:

    Thank you. . .and sorry for suddenly asking you about this stuff (:

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    1. Hi Windy!

      I'm glad you find my blog useful(: The money given is for living (rent, food, transport), and they pay your school fees too. Quite a lot of students have part-time jobs too (because in Tokyo, the money's not going to be sufficient).

      I hope this helps!

      ^_^

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    2. Thank you!! ^_^,
      Have you met any Filipino MEXT scholar in your preparatory year? :)

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    3. Sadly, no. They may have been sent to Osaka though....

      ^_^
      Eustacia

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  16. Hi Eustacia, I'm aya from malaysia. my problem here is same with ami fordouse. i also just finish my Diploma recently and i did not have full academic transcript.so can i just submit my academic transcript from semester 1 to 5 only? and one more thing,i have no basic in japanese at all, cant even read and write in japanese. and for the entrance examination, can I just skip the japanese paper? will it affect my application? thank you in advanced. :)

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    1. Hi Aya,

      I think you should just submit what you have. And well, we have students who didn't know any Japanese when they came so, I don't don't think it will affect. Still, I don't actually know what they're looking for.

      ^_^

      Delete
  17. hi eustacia, thanks for repyling. what about you? do you take the japanese language paper during the entrance examination? or is it optional?

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    1. Hi Aya!

      Yeah, I took the paper. But I don't think I did very well haha

      ^_^

      Delete
  18. hey! congrats on your achievement!

    I'm applying for the 2014 undergrad scholarship, and wanted to know if everyone gets to write the exam or does the embassy selectively choose few candidates for it and if only the candidates for have performed well in the exam are chosen for the interview? any idea? Would be loads of help.
    Thank you.

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    1. Hey!

      Thank you! Well, the selection process was given to me as "documents -> exam -> interview", and since I made it to all three rounds, I really can't say. Perhaps you could ask the embassy directly? I believe that each embassy is in charge of the selection process (subject to approval by MEXT)

      Sorry I can't help much.

      ^_^

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  19. Congratulations Eustacia
    ^^
    I am applying for 2014 too. Its near end of July.
    Can u help me with few things?
    Do we need passports and visas made before the process?

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    1. Hi!

      Thank you! Nope, you don't need a passport or visa while applying. If/When you get accepted, the embassy will help you with the visa (I think you'll have the get a passport by yourself)

      ^_^

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    2. Oh thanx ^_^
      That eased a little few things.
      btw about the form and the recommendation letter, do we have to get that from the principle of the last school.
      its because 2 years of my upper secondary school, I changed to a different college and my previous school seemed to have better relationship with Japaneses institution, What can i do?

      Delete
    3. If I remember correctly, the form said that it has to be the principal of your current school. I really don't think the 'relationship' between your school and the embassy matters. If your principal will write you a good recommendation, that's all that matters.

      Of course, if you really want the recommendation from your previous school, you can check with the embassy to see if they'll accept it instead.

      ^_^

      Delete
  20. Hi! Congratulations!
    I'm applying for 2014. I want to study Business Administration :)
    I noticed that you're studying the same career.
    I wonder if you can tell me what did they ask you about the career and if you have some recomendations for me, i would be really glad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thank you(: Hmm... what do you mean "ask about the career"? Do you mean in the interview? As in plans for the future or about the major? I'd love to help, but I'll need a bit more details - I don't really know what you're asking about.

      ^_^

      Delete
  21. hi eustacia!
    congrats to you .hope u enjoy studing in japan.
    this is my first year applying!and i need some help.
    i dont understand how to prepare for the entrance exam
    i am not clear about the syllabus for different subjects.also what kind of paper is it -are wrong questions negatively marked etc moreover is there any website which provides information bout the entrance test?.(i will be opting for science but still if you could guide me it would be realy helpfull)
    thankyou

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ankita,

      I have no idea how the marking is done, but there are past year papers on the JASSO website. I used them to practice(: I'm afraid I can't give you any more information with regards to the exam because I'm not in the science stream. All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  22. Hi!
    Congratulations! :DD

    I'm not a native english speaker, but I'm going to do my best to write this XD. I'm applying for 2014 to study business administration, and your help would be really useful to me c:.

    These are my questions:
    - Do you remember any of the questions of the interview?
    - Did you studied with past years exams? If you did, was the math exam similar to them?
    - How many kanji did you have to learn?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Let me try to answer your questions:

      1. I'm not quite sure, but I remember things like "why do you want to study in Japan?", "why do you want to study Business?" etc. Most of it was pretty standard stuff.

      2. Yes I did. And um, I can't remember :p I should think so though

      3. I don't really know either (sorry!). Kanji is a little bit similar to Chinese, so I've "known" some words even before I was taught them. Plus, I don't keep track of how many I've learnt - I don't find it particularly meaningful.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  23. You can submit the documents before you graduate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! That's what I did.

      ^_^

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the reply :D

      I live in Indonesia. I read the conditions, it is said that I should at least get the average of 8,4 for my national examination. The result of national examination comes later than the deadline of registration so I think I might not be able to know my grades before the deadline. Am I still able to submit the documents even if I don't include my national examination result? >.< and to graduate means I've received both my national examination result and the school report

      Sorry for asking too much ._.v

      Delete
    3. Hi Tika,

      Hmmm, Singapore didn't have such conditions. But what I did was that I submitted whatever I had, then sent them the records when I got the results. You should check with your embassy to be sure though.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Eustacia,
    I want to know the syllabus for undergraduate exams, didn't found on embassy's website, and plz provide me the link

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I'm sorry but I don't know the syllabus (I just went for the tests). I believe there are past year papers floating about on the JASSO site, you should be able to find them by google "MEXT scholarship past year papers".

      ^_^

      Delete
  26. Hi Eustacia,
    I found your blog very useful! Sadly my exams will start next Wednesday. I intend to study Natural Sciences A, architecture, since I'm in the second year of a Architecture course. I'm worried about the exams because I don't have subjects like Math, Physics and Chemistry in the course. I'm trying to review as fast as possible. I hope I can do my best in the exams!!! I'm trying very hard to get this scholarship. I hope i'll do it!
    Do you know anyone who applied for Architecture?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lari Tami,

      I'm sorry, I don't ):

      All the best for your exams, I hope you do well!

      ^_^

      Delete
  27. Konnichiwa Eustacia-san,

    Thank you so much! You're so helpful with the posts! I trust you have a wonderful time in Japan, yes? Hopefully I can follow your steps and meet you there hehehe.. :D

    Hajimemashite, I'm Putri from Indonesia. I've applied for the Monbusho Undergraduate Scholarhsip 2014 and now waiting for the written test results. I have a few questions about this scholarship, and I'll be really grateful if you can answer them. Feel free to answer them when you have time (:

    1. I've been accepted as an International student faraway from Japan and my home country. I'm going to study there too, since I'm not too sure about the scholarship outcome. With this, am I still eligible for the scholarship? I'm really hoping I can study in Japan..
    2. After the interview, will there be any meeting or gathering with the embassy (prior to the announcement in January)?
    3. Also, if I (hopefullly) do pass the first selection round, can I manage the following scholarhsip procedure through the embassy of the country where I'll study? Or is it better if I just send my documents to my home country embassy?
    3. -correctmeifi'mwrong- I saw in the application guide, there are two selection rounds, the first being goverment selection (documents screening, writing test and interview) and the second, MEXT. I'm still a bit unclear about the second round though. What exactly is being screened in this stage? Will there be any interview again with MEXT?

    I hope you'll find time to answer my questions. Yeah, they're a lot too, I'm sorry >,<"

    Arigatou gozaimashita for your kind help :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Putri,

      My case was different from yours, but I'll try to answer all your questions.

      1. I'm honestly not sure. You should check with your embassy.

      2. I didn't have any meeting with the embassy until after the final results were given out.

      3. I don't think so. I had a friend who was studying in Singapore at that time, but she had to fly back to Indonesia for each of the stages.

      4. Yes, there are two rounds - embassy and MEXT. I'm not sure what goes on with MEXT, but there's nothing we have to do for that round.

      All the best!

      ^_^
      Eustacia

      Delete
  28. Hi Eustacia,
    Omedetou! Your blog has been helping a lot during the last month. It has helped me with any doubts that I have stumbled upon, but there is this one last thing bothering me.
    Well, first of all, I am a natural science student that has the interview next week.
    My question is: What are the chances of being recommended by the embassy once one has reached the interview stage?
    Also, approx. what percentage of the total interviewees get recommended?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no idea! Not all the students take the exams at the same time (at least, we were separated by sciences and humanities), so I have no idea what the percentages are.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  29. say Eustacia, how many recommendation letters did u submit? :DD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just one! It should be enough(:

      ^_^

      Delete
  30. Hey Eustacia! I've been reading ur blogs lately eversince I learned I got nominated for the undergraduate monbusho scholarship! I also got recommended to be a ASJA scholar! Anyways, I have two questions:

    1) Did you still submit your IB diploma or did you just submit your highschool transcript? Which one was better? Personally, when my IB grades are translated into my highschool's grading system, all my subjects practically become a perfect 100 versus my IB grade which was a measly 36


    2) If you know any current Monbusho scholar who is also a ASJA scholar, how do they fare when it comes to balancing their studies and their compulsory activities of being a ASJA
    scholar? Did they regularly have to skip class because ASJA activities took up their time?


    Thanks! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jan,

      Congrats on the nomination!

      1. My highschool only did the IB course, but since I got the scholarship it didn't matter that I only scored 41 :p If the two are equal, you can probably submit either or both. I'm not very sure though, because the only transcript I have is the IB one.

      2. Sorry, I don't know any MEXT+ASJA scholars. But I'm sure that if you get both scholarships, you can work something so that you can go to both classes and the activities (which sound pretty cool) - TUFS is really supportive. I'm not sure how it'll go in the actual university though, it seems like it depends on the individual teacher.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  31. Hello~
    just to ask, may i know what level was your japanese at the point of time when you took the written examinations? Eg N4/N3.
    Thank you~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,

      I passed my N4 at that time, although I really couldn't speak a word :p

      ^_^

      Delete
    2. Oh i see... thanks for answering!!
      Enjoy your stay in japan!

      Delete
  32. Hi Eustacia, congratulations for what you've achieved so far :)
    And thank you for your blog, it is a great help to know about the scholarship from someone as kind as you :)

    Could you tell me, what did you think of the math exam, do you think you did very good? did you answer all the questions?

    I want to study international relations and I'm taking the exams soon, I know I'm really not good at maths, so, say if I scored low on that exam, does it immediately mean I get rejected?

    Oh, and about the interview, do you remember how long it lasted? I know it is a weird question, but I'm very curious about how long it could last.
    And in your case, if they asked you why did you choose Japan to study, do you remember what you answered? I wouldn't be surprised if they asked me that during the interview, I just don't know what would be an appropriate answer, so if you could advise me on that, it would be great.

    Again, thank you so much for your help :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your compliments!

      To be honest, I never think I do well for an exam :p But I did answer all the questions. I'm not too sure how everyone else did though.

      I think the interview was, under ten minutes? I really have no idea, but it didn't feel very long.

      Oh, I actually went to Japan on a school trip before, so I used that experiene as a launching point for the reasons why I chose Japan. I think I had a few reasons, so my teacher actually went through them with me and taught me how to answer.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  33. Hello Eustacia,

    First of all, congratulations on your accomplishments! Your blog has been very informative about the processes involved inapplying for the Monbukagakusho Scholarship. I just have two questions I would like to ask:
    - Can you give a rough estimate of the number of undergraduates who successfully got this scholarship in your year?
    - I want to do something in health care because it has always been my country's weak area. Would it help my chances if my recommendation was from a hospital or organisation which does volunteer work?

    Thank you and I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your compliments.

      For my year, about 120 of us got in. The number varies from country to country though.

      As for your second question, I have no idea. Healthcare isn't even remotely related to my field. I'd suggest you ask your local embassy of Japan though - they are very helpful and should be the first place you ask about matters relating to the scholarship.

      All the best!

      ^_^
      Eustacia

      Delete
  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hello!
    First of all congratulations for what you've achieved!
    Do you know if you can apply to this even if you are second or third year university or if you need to be on first year?

    And thank you for your blog, is motivating me to try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!

      I think it's possible as long as you're not above the age limit! I have a friend from Russia who was graduating from university when she got in (I think she flew back to take her exams and graduated).

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hey Eustacia,

    Thanks for your post!

    Do you know if it is necessary to be proficient in Japanese to get the undergraduate scholarship? Or is the Japanese test just for the people who may want to skip the 1 year prep course? I'm a year 5 student of ACSI doing the IB programme, so i'll be applying for the 2014 scholarship. (I see from the comments that you're my senpai? XD) However, i'm only taking JLPT N5 end of this year - I'll not be able to get to the level to do the Japanese exam by the exam dates next year. I'll be going to Ikoma after promos, but i'm not sure if it'll be enough. I'll probably be trying for daily lessons during the holidays if necessary, but I have Bio EE to do too. Would the lack of japanese affect my application? I couldn't do a single question in the japanese practice papers!

    Thank you!

    Alex Cheah

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alex,

      Haha, a junior! I hope you do get in! I'm really not sure about the Japanese test, but I had friends who took Japanese H2 and still went for the 1 year prep course :p Personally, my Japanese was almost non-existent when I took the test (I passed N5, but I couldn't speak a word!). I'd recommend focusing on IB first, then on Japanese.

      And about your question below, I'm sorry but I don't have the email of MEXT >< Perhaps you can just email the embassy and they'll forward it to you? I have a friend who was an Indonesian scholar studying in Singapore, and she had to fly back for the tests and interviews. But to be on the safe side, you should email the embassy and find out.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the information! (:
      Hmm then how did you do the japanese questions? it's 20 passages in an hour, it's really difficult even if reading the passage wasn't a problem. And it is. I don't think I can even finish even a quarter of the paper!

      Also, do you know if there are a lot of Medical students who get accepted?

      Have fun in Japan! Enjoy the summer festivals there! (JAS just organised one in Singapore :3)

      Delete
    3. Hey Alex,

      Hmm.... I'm not sure. I don't think I finished that much of the paper haha.

      I'm not too sure about the number of Medicine students though, I didn't really ask around (sorry!)

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  38. Hey Eustacia,

    Sorry for the bother! I have another question if it's not too troublesome.

    According to their guidelines, we are supposed to go through the first screening round in the country of our nationality.
    I wanted to ask if a citizen of Malaysia (Singapore PR) can send the application to the Japanese Embassy in Singapore (because I study in Singapore). On a sidenote, do you have the email address of MEXT? I can't seem to find it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hey Eustacia,
    Congratulations on getting this scholarship! ^__^

    There's a question I would like to ask. You said you applied before graduating high school. Well I'm in the same position right now, applications start in March and end in May. I get my certificate in AUGUST D:
    What extra papers/letters did you need to submit since you applied before graduating?

    Thank you for your time !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      I submitted a letter saying that I was expected to graduate (signed by my school principal). I'm not sure what else the embassy might require in your country, so it's best to check with them too.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  40. Hi Eustacia
    First of all congrats....... Wait! But you have got enough of those already. So I hope you are having a happy time in japan. I just want to ask a few questions.
    Firstly
    Is a recommendation letter needed from the school principal or from the school teacher.
    Secondly
    Can I apply for monbukagakusho scholarship. My results of graduation wouldn't come before May. And I am currently 16 years old and would not turn 17 until next year. Is my age eligible for the test.
    Thirdly
    Its October 14 when I am writing this post so can I apply for the 2014 mext scholarshipnext year.
    Fourthly
    How many times do we go to the embassy regarding monbukagakusho scholarship.
    Sorry for my long post but just a little more.
    Lastly
    Do Indians have to take toefl. I mean we are naturally taught with english as the medium to learn and write for your exams. And in fact all the subjects like maths and physics are taught in english and no other language.
    Arigatou gozaimasu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      For your first to third questions, I think it's best to check the application form/check with your embassy. I needed the letter, but I'm not sure what procedures in your country are like.

      For your fourth question, I've actually forgotten the number of times :p Sorry.

      And lastly, TOEFL is not needed for the scholarship. Your school might require it (but that will be a year later).

      P.s. if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me, but do look at these pages first: http://nihonjinjanai.blogspot.jp/2013/09/please-do-not-ask-me-these-questions.html

      http://nihonjinjanai.blogspot.jp/2013/02/frequently-asked-questions.html

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  41. Hello, Eustacia!
    I was looking up MEXT and stumbled upon your post. It's so kind of you to help the hopefuls!
    I have a bunch of question, could you help me with them, please?
    I am turning 18 in January, 2014 and live in Kazakhstan. I'm graduating from school in June (final exam), 2014. Thus, I should apply for 2015 scholarship, right?
    Apart from it, what are requirements for passing the embassy exams? My Japanese is really bad (I started learning it this year and do it by myself with my aunt's help, she's N1). Is it still possible to pass with poorly done Japanese exam?
    I looked up previous years' tests (found only up to 2010) and 2007-2009 ones seem easier (lots) than 2010.
    And if I want to get into the scholarship should I start gathering all required document already?
    Thanks for your help in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi!

      I would think so! You'll be going to Japan in April of the scholarship year, so it looks like 2015 is the best bet for you!

      I'm really not to sure about the requirements - my Japanese was terrible! But there were a range of students, from completely no Japanese ability to fluent.

      All the best!

      ^_^

      Delete
  42. hello I am victor from Nigeria ,I want to apply for 2018/2019 mext scholarship ,i want to ask is it possible for a person not to do well in Japanese but pass other subject and still win the scholarship then my second question is that I want to apply for humanities ( sociology) but when trying to download the form I saw recommendations form for undergraduate what does it mean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Sorry for the late reply!

      Please ask the embassy about application-related questions because they are far more qualified to answer. All the best!

      Delete

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I love to hear your opinions and stories! (And if you want to guest post, do let me know too!)

If you have a question about the MEXT scholarship, please check the FAQs and anti-FAQs to see if it's been covered.