According to economists, the economic powers are shifting to the East. China is the number 2 economy in the world, Japan remains a strong economy, India is now in the top 10, Korea keeps improving and other countries continue to emerge, among which Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia … In this context, it is easy to understand why more students want to study in Asia. However, as developping countries emerge, their education system may not be up to par yet. Japan may be the exception: its education system is excellent and compares to popular study-abroad destinations (the US, the UK, Canada, Australia …). As the Japanese government is determined to attract more international students, one can expect Japan to become a major player in the international education field. So how to study abroad in Japan?
While there are a few exceptions (we will get back to that in a moment), most higher education programs in Japan are taught in Japanese. Therefore, the main condition (or hurdle, one may say) to study in Japan is to learn Japanese first. The Ministry of Education has launched the “Global 30” project which currently has thirteen of the most prestigious Japanese higher education institutes offer programs in English (Waseda, University of Tokyo, to name just two). But again, those are the exceptions, not the rule. For the vast majority of international students who dream to study in the land of the rising sun, the path will have to first make a stop in a Japanese language school. The only efficient way is to learn Japanese in Japan indeed.
It is widely believed that in order to master Japanese, it takes between one and two years of studying in a Language School in Japan. For those who want to learn in their own country, it will take them up to ten years to reach an equivalent level … The choice is easy: students who are committed to studying in Japan and make the most of the island’s great institutions plan at least a year of language studies first. And it works! Language schools prepare students with the expected Japanese thoroughness, making them ready for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) and the EJU (Examination for Japanese University), the latter being most often required to enroll in a higher education institute. Students who graduate from language schools in Japan get guidance and benefit from their schools’ own networks. The path is open for them to pursue further studies and possibly for great, rewarding careers in Japan.