The Student Room Group

Japanese BA - Is there any graduates or current students that are studying Japanese?

Hi, I just made a student room account to ask for some advice on university choices, I have been reading through quite a lot of posts about studying Japanese at different universities and am not sure about my firm choice universities anymore, due to mixed opinions.

I am currently looking at Leeds university and SOAS university as my top choices, when I visited SOAS I was really impressed by a alumni who talked about their experience and how they loved their year abroad, when I talked to them personally after the presentation they greatly recommended SOAS to me, and answered a lot of my questions about costs and graduate outcomes.

Leeds on the other hand I have not visited but through my friend who speaks highly of the university it seemed quite appealing, but I have no knowledge on the proficiency graduates have after studying Japanese at leads compared to SOAS where the alumni mentioned that her fellow graduates mostly had N2 certificates and a few had or were going to take the N1 test.

I was wondering if there are any students that are currently studying Japanese who could give a perspective of their experience studying the degree at their universities? In terms of student life, graduate outcomes, living costs and the intensity of the course itself?

Thank you and sorry for the long thread, I hope to hear from people soon!
Original post by Kermitmyself
Hi, I just made a student room account to ask for some advice on university choices, I have been reading through quite a lot of posts about studying Japanese at different universities and am not sure about my firm choice universities anymore, due to mixed opinions.

I am currently looking at Leeds university and SOAS university as my top choices, when I visited SOAS I was really impressed by a alumni who talked about their experience and how they loved their year abroad, when I talked to them personally after the presentation they greatly recommended SOAS to me, and answered a lot of my questions about costs and graduate outcomes.

Leeds on the other hand I have not visited but through my friend who speaks highly of the university it seemed quite appealing, but I have no knowledge on the proficiency graduates have after studying Japanese at leads compared to SOAS where the alumni mentioned that her fellow graduates mostly had N2 certificates and a few had or were going to take the N1 test.

I was wondering if there are any students that are currently studying Japanese who could give a perspective of their experience studying the degree at their universities? In terms of student life, graduate outcomes, living costs and the intensity of the course itself?

Thank you and sorry for the long thread, I hope to hear from people soon!

Hey, I studied Japanese at Edinburgh and have already graduated.

Here are my thoughts on the Japanese degrees offered in British universities (from what I've heard and witnessed from friends who've studied Japanese at the institutions):

Oxford - somewhat weak conversational Japanese due to extremely heavy emphasis on history and classical Japanese. Knowledge of grammar and ability to read will be exceptional but speaking won't be as strong. Also, all students go to the same university during their YA. I understand they might do this to maintain standards for their students while abroad, but it completely holes them up in a bubble. Ergo, go here if you want to learn more about the academic field of Japanese studies but not if you want to improve your conversational Japanese.

SOAS - phenomenal for language and you will skyrocket in all aspects of language. However, extremely, extremely competitive (and, to an extent, toxic) student community. Everyone knows everyone's grades and is vying for top place. Every man for himself. Also, huge focus on reading, learning kanji and passing tests. Speaking will improve (and most likely be better than an Oxford student's) but still a little lacking due to the heavy emphasis on test-taking. Again, have heard some terrible things about SOAS as far as departmental politics go.

Durham - extremely new Japanese department made only a few years ago. Don't know anyone who went here but would most certainly not recommend going somewhere where they've literally just begun the course. Even courses which have been going on for decades still haven't perfected the formula, especially for a course as difficult and sinuous as Japanese.

Manchester - The uni itself gets extremely poor ratings for student satisfaction (as most big universities including Edinburgh do) but its Asian Studies department seems to be rather low as well in contrast to Edinburgh's which is near perfect. They also have links to some of the most random Japanese partner universities: from the elite of the elite to some of the complete worst and unknown Japanese universities. Don't know too much about the actual course but a few of the guys I met during my YA didn't really speak it too well. I imagine their reading was better. In any case, Manchester has access to its interpreting and translating department, so I imagine there would be some very useful modules in that!

Edinburgh - excellent language courses with heavy emphasis on speaking. Reading, although covered in depth, is not covered as much in detail as those in SOAS or Oxford. Ergo, JLPT test results (which don't examine speaking ability) in the first few years might not be as good as SOAS and Oxford students'. Speaking, however, will be way better. Partner universities are also being cut down to about 6. They're all elite universities but much fewer options than the previous 12+. Edinburgh is also somewhat heavy on academic Japanese studies (but not as much as Oxford) all the while focusing on speaking a lot.

Leeds - have heard nothing but great things about here. That said, I only knew a handful of people, so there could've been bias. Still pretty good though.

Sheffield - have heard quite decent stuff about here but their language courses don't seem to be nearly as intensive as the other universities I've discussed.

In any case, language degrees do, to a certain extent, depend on the student and how far they get independently. But, you need a good teacher to guide you and you can't expect to be magically fluent in spoken Japanese if all you're being taught is to read classical stuff. Think carefully about what you want from your Japanese degree. Whether you want to be an academic or well-rounded etc. Also, look into the academic Japanese studies modules because at ancient universities like Oxford and Edinburgh, you'll be taking half of your stuff in these things. Edinburgh's focus is more contemporary while Oxford's is classical. SOAS does more history etc.
(edited 2 years ago)
So essentially Leeds, Edinburgh or Sheffield.

Ive recieved an offer from Sheffield for Japanese Studies. So that may be my main choice.
Original post by Quick-use
Hey, I studied Japanese at Edinburgh and have already graduated.

Here are my thoughts on the Japanese degrees offered in British universities (from what I've heard and witnessed from friends who've studied Japanese at the institutions):

Oxford - rather poor conversational Japanese due to extremely heavy emphasis on history and classical Japanese. Knowledge of grammar and ability to read will be great but speaking will be pretty bad. Also, all students go to the same university during their YA. I understand they might do this to maintain standards for their students while abroad, but it completely holes them up in a bubble. Ergo, go here if you want to learn more about the academic field of Japanese studies but not if you want to improve your conversational Japanese.

SOAS - phenomenal for language and you will skyrocket. However, extremely, extremely competitive (and, to an extent, toxic) student community. Everyone knows everyone's grades and is vying for top place. Every man for himself. Also, huge focus on reading, learning kanji and passing tests. Speaking will improve (and most likely be better than an Oxford student's) but still a little lacking due to the heavy emphasis on test-taking. Again, have heard some terrible things about SOAS as far as departmental politics go.

Durham - extremely new Japanese department made only a few years ago. Don't know anyone who went here but would most certainly not recommend going somewhere where they've literally just begun the course. Even courses which have been going on for decades still haven't perfected the formula, especially for a course as difficult and sinuous as Japanese.

Manchester - The uni itself gets extremely poor ratings for student satisfaction (as most big universities including Edinburgh do) but its Asian Studies department seems to be rather low as well in contrast to Edinburgh's which is near perfect. They also have links to some of the most random Japanese partner universities: from the elite of the elite to some of the complete worst and unknown Japanese universities. Don't know too much about the actual course but a few of the guys I met during my YA didn't really speak it too well. I imagine their reading was better. In any case, Manchester has access to its interpreting and translating department, so I imagine there would be some very useful modules in that!

Edinburgh - excellent language courses with heavy emphasis on speaking. Reading, although covered in depth, is not covered as much in detail as those in SOAS or Oxford. Ergo, JLPT test results (which don't examine speaking ability) in the first few years might not be as good as SOAS and Oxford students'. Speaking, however, will be way better. Partner universities are also being cut down to about 6. They're all elite universities but much fewer options than the previous 12+. Edinburgh is also somewhat heavy on academic Japanese studies (but not as much as Oxford) all the while focusing on speaking a lot.

Leeds - have heard nothing but great things about here. That said, I only knew a handful of people, so there could've been bias. Still pretty good though.

Sheffield - have heard quite decent stuff about here but their language courses don't seem to be nearly as intensive as the other universities I've discussed.

In any case, language degrees do, to a certain extent, depend on the student and how far they get independently. But, you need a good teacher to guide you and you can't expect to be magically fluent in spoken Japanese if all you're being taught is to read classical stuff. Think carefully about what you want from your Japanese degree. Whether you want to be an academic or well-rounded etc. Also, look into the academic Japanese studies modules because at ancient universities like Oxford and Edinburgh, you'll be taking half of your stuff in these things. Edinburgh's focus is more contemporary while Oxford's is classical. SOAS does more history etc.

Thank you for your reply!

I am currently studying BTEC Health & Social along with GCSE Japanese, Edinburgh sounds like a very well rounded university to go to, though I believe they do not accept BTEC qualifications, I believe SOAS and Leeds are fine with BTEC qualifications on entry. SOAS being extremely competitive sounds unappealing along with everyone knowing each others grades as that kind of environment could encourage others but I am not sure if I could survive in it, do you have any opinions on the proficiency level of Leeds graduates after they finished their degree? Also a random question for you, I was wondering how job prospects were for you after you finished your degree?

Thanks again for the reply!
Original post by Kermitmyself
Thank you for your reply!

I am currently studying BTEC Health & Social along with GCSE Japanese, Edinburgh sounds like a very well rounded university to go to, though I believe they do not accept BTEC qualifications, I believe SOAS and Leeds are fine with BTEC qualifications on entry. SOAS being extremely competitive sounds unappealing along with everyone knowing each others grades as that kind of environment could encourage others but I am not sure if I could survive in it, do you have any opinions on the proficiency level of Leeds graduates after they finished their degree? Also a random question for you, I was wondering how job prospects were for you after you finished your degree?

Thanks again for the reply!

I'll just copy/paste my responses to other threads. :rambo:

Post 1 -

Languages are highly employable and eternally rewarding. At university, I did French, Spanish and Japanese. After graduating, I worked at a private firm in Tokyo assisting medical and business clients with English translation all the while going on several business trips around the country (including one to Sapporo for 3 months). I also did some freelance interpreting during my year abroad studying in Japan. Now I'm back in the UK hoping to start a Master's degree in International Relations from this September. I also intend on applying to the diplomatic service, the CIR JET position (http://jetprogramme.org/en/positions/) as well as some PhDs.

My friends who did a Japanese degree have gone onto the following jobs: working in immigration offices in Japan, working in local Japanese governments such as Fukushima, Beppu and Kyoto as the Coordinator for International Relations (one such example: https://rediscoverfukushima.com/), working at the consulate general (embassy) in Edinburgh, working for the NHK (Japan's version of BBC) in both Tokyo and London, investment banking, working in Japanese translation (environmental and video games), practicing Law in Japan, working at a local sake brewery in Okayama (https://www.originsake.com/?fbclid=I...0neClapyuUuqyY), lecturing at universities in Japan and the UK, teaching business English to professionals and so on and so forth.

My university friends who studied French and Spanish have gone onto working at the European Parliament, investment banking, tourism and so on.

When you study a languages degree, you don't just study the language - the language will just be 50% of your studies whereas the other 50% will be focused on whatever your university department specialises in. For example, within the context of the University of Edinburgh's Japanese, Hispanic and Francophone departments, during my undergraduate degree I took various modules on Japan-China foreign policy, East Asian (Japan, China and Korean) economies and politics, Japanese communist politics in the 1960s, French immigration laws, French medieval literature, French post-modern philosophy and politics, Spanish journalism and contemporary Hispanic film and literature etc. What's more, regarding the language component of our degrees, there were modules consisting of writing newspaper articles as well as translations to and fro of dense political documents, medical documents, historical religious documents, both classical and contemporary literary texts and journalistic articles among many others.

As I mentioned before, a languages degree helps you become extremely advanced in all aspects of the language/s in question (speaking, writing, reading and listening) as well as providing you with an advanced knowledge of the country's social, political and economic issues (contemporary or otherwise). You'll basically be studying various aspects of history, sociology, politics, literature, philosophy and IR of another nation or two. My final year undergraduate dissertation was on modern Japanese diplomatic issues and I also wrote a mini-dissertation in my 2nd year on the paradoxical nature of the Japanese mafia (yakuza) within the context of an evolving Japanese society that, since the 1970s, has adopted a stance that simultaneously promotes and rejects the crime syndicate.


Post 2 -

As students of languages degrees, we were continuously immersed in the language - all of my lectures on medieval Spanish literature or French post-modern politics, for example, were conducted in their respective languages and all of my essays (3000+) were written and researched in the languages. People write dissertations in foreign languages which have to be of equal standard of one written in English. We had to solely speak in the foreign language during all of my tutorials. The type of translations I did into the foreign language on extremely dense political dossiers or newspaper articles concerning murder crime truly cemented my knowledge of the language within various fields, be it economics, politics, crime or philosophy.

During my year abroad studying in Tokyo, I undertook extremely intensive 3 hour-long Japanese language classes from 9.15am to 12.30pm with tests and homework everyday 5 days a week for 1 semester. In my 2nd semester, I was in regular classes with Japanese students for lectures and tutorials on courses like modern Japanese literature or American Victorian literature, politics and philosophy all of which were conducted in Japanese. Each lecture/tutorial was 1 hour 30 minutes long of just constant non-stop extremely advanced Japanese and all of the course material/secondary reading (on Darwinism, for example) was in Japanese and most of the novels I read for my Modern Japanese Lit class had never been translated before so I was reading around 2 dense novels on a weekly basis. I also had to write weekly essays for each subject in Japanese of about 1500 words long, never mind the end of term essay for each course that was triple the length. Even all of my exams were in Japanese where I had to write essays on Social Darwinism or discuss how examples of some modern Japanese texts were political critiques of the Second World War and the Japanese regime at the time.

Regarding jobs, they don't usually have a requirement of being able to just speak a language. Jobs like this are far and few between and might only be for translation or interpreting but even then they'd require you to be a specialist of a given field, so you might have to be extremely proficient at translating medical documents, newspaper articles or literary fiction (all of which I've done at university). Most jobs, on the other hand, require general skills - these are the jobs all graduates can apply for. Even though other graduates who, for example, have studied subjects like History or IR may have extremely good analytical skills that would be great for a job, I believe that a languages graduate will be just as good if not better seeing as they've done something similar but in a foreign language.
Oh yeah, in Edinburgh I now work as a seasonal exam proctor for the JLPT (twice a year) and worked as an interpreter and social programme assistant for a group of 30 Japanese high school students from Kyoto at Edinburgh college last summer. I went around Scotland with them for a whole month and acted as their interpreter and supervisor. Aside from that, I'm currently doing a full time Master's in Diplomacy and International Relations.
Original post by The Lonely don
So essentially Leeds, Edinburgh or Sheffield.

Ive recieved an offer from Sheffield for Japanese Studies. So that may be my main choice.


Original post by Kermitmyself
Thank you for your reply!

I am currently studying BTEC Health & Social along with GCSE Japanese, Edinburgh sounds like a very well rounded university to go to, though I believe they do not accept BTEC qualifications, I believe SOAS and Leeds are fine with BTEC qualifications on entry. SOAS being extremely competitive sounds unappealing along with everyone knowing each others grades as that kind of environment could encourage others but I am not sure if I could survive in it, do you have any opinions on the proficiency level of Leeds graduates after they finished their degree? Also a random question for you, I was wondering how job prospects were for you after you finished your degree?

Thanks again for the reply!

All universities have their pros and cons. In all honesty, in terms of becoming a complete God at Japanese, I'd recommend SOAS. The only drawback is the atmosphere and the fact that their spoken Japanese might not be as good as their phenomenal reading and writing. That's not to say their speaking is bad, by no means! It's probably one of the best, actually. Most likely up there but just behind Edinburgh. It probably beats all other universities for reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary though. :tongue:

I honestly don't know any Leeds graduates at the moment but I really have heard nothing but praise! :fluffy: Either Leeds or SOAS would be good, @Kermitmyself

@The Lonely don I've heard great things about Sheffield but just that their Japanese language is somewhat weaker than the students of SOAS, Edinburgh, Leeds and Oxford etc. Aside from Japanese language courses, the academic modules look very interesting.
Original post by Quick-use
I'll just copy/paste my responses to other threads. :rambo:

Post 1 -

Languages are highly employable and eternally rewarding. At university, I did French, Spanish and Japanese. After graduating, I worked at a private firm in Tokyo assisting medical and business clients with English translation all the while going on several business trips around the country (including one to Sapporo for 3 months). I also did some freelance interpreting during my year abroad studying in Japan. Now I'm back in the UK hoping to start a Master's degree in International Relations from this September. I also intend on applying to the diplomatic service, the CIR JET position (http://jetprogramme.org/en/positions/) as well as some PhDs.

My friends who did a Japanese degree have gone onto the following jobs: working in immigration offices in Japan, working in local Japanese governments such as Fukushima, Beppu and Kyoto as the Coordinator for International Relations (one such example: https://rediscoverfukushima.com/), working at the consulate general (embassy) in Edinburgh, working for the NHK (Japan's version of BBC) in both Tokyo and London, investment banking, working in Japanese translation (environmental and video games), practicing Law in Japan, working at a local sake brewery in Okayama (https://www.originsake.com/?fbclid=I...0neClapyuUuqyY), lecturing at universities in Japan and the UK, teaching business English to professionals and so on and so forth.

My university friends who studied French and Spanish have gone onto working at the European Parliament, investment banking, tourism and so on.

When you study a languages degree, you don't just study the language - the language will just be 50% of your studies whereas the other 50% will be focused on whatever your university department specialises in. For example, within the context of the University of Edinburgh's Japanese, Hispanic and Francophone departments, during my undergraduate degree I took various modules on Japan-China foreign policy, East Asian (Japan, China and Korean) economies and politics, Japanese communist politics in the 1960s, French immigration laws, French medieval literature, French post-modern philosophy and politics, Spanish journalism and contemporary Hispanic film and literature etc. What's more, regarding the language component of our degrees, there were modules consisting of writing newspaper articles as well as translations to and fro of dense political documents, medical documents, historical religious documents, both classical and contemporary literary texts and journalistic articles among many others.

As I mentioned before, a languages degree helps you become extremely advanced in all aspects of the language/s in question (speaking, writing, reading and listening) as well as providing you with an advanced knowledge of the country's social, political and economic issues (contemporary or otherwise). You'll basically be studying various aspects of history, sociology, politics, literature, philosophy and IR of another nation or two. My final year undergraduate dissertation was on modern Japanese diplomatic issues and I also wrote a mini-dissertation in my 2nd year on the paradoxical nature of the Japanese mafia (yakuza) within the context of an evolving Japanese society that, since the 1970s, has adopted a stance that simultaneously promotes and rejects the crime syndicate.


Post 2 -

As students of languages degrees, we were continuously immersed in the language - all of my lectures on medieval Spanish literature or French post-modern politics, for example, were conducted in their respective languages and all of my essays (3000+) were written and researched in the languages. People write dissertations in foreign languages which have to be of equal standard of one written in English. We had to solely speak in the foreign language during all of my tutorials. The type of translations I did into the foreign language on extremely dense political dossiers or newspaper articles concerning murder crime truly cemented my knowledge of the language within various fields, be it economics, politics, crime or philosophy.

During my year abroad studying in Tokyo, I undertook extremely intensive 3 hour-long Japanese language classes from 9.15am to 12.30pm with tests and homework everyday 5 days a week for 1 semester. In my 2nd semester, I was in regular classes with Japanese students for lectures and tutorials on courses like modern Japanese literature or American Victorian literature, politics and philosophy all of which were conducted in Japanese. Each lecture/tutorial was 1 hour 30 minutes long of just constant non-stop extremely advanced Japanese and all of the course material/secondary reading (on Darwinism, for example) was in Japanese and most of the novels I read for my Modern Japanese Lit class had never been translated before so I was reading around 2 dense novels on a weekly basis. I also had to write weekly essays for each subject in Japanese of about 1500 words long, never mind the end of term essay for each course that was triple the length. Even all of my exams were in Japanese where I had to write essays on Social Darwinism or discuss how examples of some modern Japanese texts were political critiques of the Second World War and the Japanese regime at the time.

Regarding jobs, they don't usually have a requirement of being able to just speak a language. Jobs like this are far and few between and might only be for translation or interpreting but even then they'd require you to be a specialist of a given field, so you might have to be extremely proficient at translating medical documents, newspaper articles or literary fiction (all of which I've done at university). Most jobs, on the other hand, require general skills - these are the jobs all graduates can apply for. Even though other graduates who, for example, have studied subjects like History or IR may have extremely good analytical skills that would be great for a job, I believe that a languages graduate will be just as good if not better seeing as they've done something similar but in a foreign language.

Thank you, I really appreciate your response to my thread I think I have a better view on what a language degree may provide for me. I will try to visit all the universities next year to see it for myself and hopefully talk to some students or graduates that are studying at that uni. For your year abroad did you get to choose what uni you would like to go to? and do you have any recommendations for the types of universities I should aim for during my year abroad, I was looking at Ritsumeikan, Kyushu, Nagoya, Keio and Waseda university as they all seemed to have good reputations, though my aunt in Japan said Waseda and Kyushu were my best options.
Original post by Quick-use
All universities have their pros and cons. In all honesty, in terms of becoming a complete God at Japanese, I'd recommend SOAS. The only drawback is the atmosphere and the fact that their spoken Japanese might not be as good as their phenomenal reading and writing. That's not to say their speaking is bad, by no means! It's probably one of the best, actually. Most likely up there but just behind Edinburgh. It probably beats all other universities for reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary though. :tongue:

I honestly don't know any Leeds graduates at the moment but I really have heard nothing but praise! :fluffy: Either Leeds or SOAS would be good, @Kermitmyself

@The Lonely don I've heard great things about Sheffield but just that their Japanese language is somewhat weaker than the students of SOAS, Edinburgh, Leeds and Oxford etc. Aside from Japanese language courses, the academic modules look very interesting.

From what ive seen of the modules for Sheffield Japanese Studies.

The course is very focused on language and yes there is academic stuff but the majority focus according to uni page modules is language.
Original post by The Lonely don
From what ive seen of the modules for Sheffield Japanese Studies.

The course is very focused on language and yes there is academic stuff but the majority focus according to uni page modules is language.

You might want to write this down for future reference. When you go on your year abroad, whatever you do, do not choose Kyoto University. It has one of the absolute worst exchange programmes and you'll find that your level of Japanese actually gets worse.

For exchange, the best are Seikei University > Sophia University = Doshisha University > International Christian University = Waseda University = Kyushu University > Hokkaido University = Keio University = Yokohama National University = Ritsumeikan University > all others.

I have no idea about Tokyo University, admittedly. Kyoto University is the absolute worst. 100% would not recommend.
(edited 4 years ago)
Original post by Kermitmyself
Thank you, I really appreciate your response to my thread I think I have a better view on what a language degree may provide for me. I will try to visit all the universities next year to see it for myself and hopefully talk to some students or graduates that are studying at that uni. For your year abroad did you get to choose what uni you would like to go to? and do you have any recommendations for the types of universities I should aim for during my year abroad, I was looking at Ritsumeikan, Kyushu, Nagoya, Keio and Waseda university as they all seemed to have good reputations, though my aunt in Japan said Waseda and Kyushu were my best options.

You do get to choose but it usually depends on your grades/attendance in 1st and 2nd year. You'll be competing with your classmates in order to get into your chosen university.

As for university, the problem is that even though certain Japanese universities might have an excellent reputation in Japan, their exchange programme could be very bad. In other words, although Kyoto University is considered the second best, if not the best, university in all of Japan, it has one of the absolute worst exchange programmes. It's so bad that Edinburgh doesn't allow its students to do exchange there unless they're already fluent in the language. So many bright Edinburgh students were going to Kyoto and coming back worse than when they went. :confused: Kyoto, for some bizarre reason, forces its students to take simple courses in English...

As far as exchange programmes go, the very best are: Sophia (in Tokyo) or Doshisha (in Kyoto). I've heard good things about Kyushu but only know 1 person who went there. Hokkaido is a great university with an excellent location in central Sapporo; but, the drawback is that although the university is famous, its exchange programme is OK / average and Hokkaido has a very, very long winter. Waseda's exchange programme is OK but nothing spectacular. Keio's is average and its location isn't great in Tokyo... Ritsumeikan's exchange programme is fine but location isn't ideal unless you like the countryside and don't mind not being close to the city centre.

Again, I can't stress how important it is to choose a university with a good exchange programme. Wherever you go, you want to feel that your Japanese is improving, that you're receiving support and that you're making a good investment. Your main priorities are improving your Japanese, enjoying life and taking care of your health.
(edited 4 years ago)
Original post by Quick-use
You do get to choose but it usually depends on your grades/attendance in 1st and 2nd year. You'll be competing with your classmates in order to get into your chosen university.

As for university, the problem is that even though certain Japanese universities might have an excellent reputation in Japan, their exchange programme could be very bad. In other words, although Kyoto University is considered the second best, if not the best, university in all of Japan, it has one of the absolute worst exchange programmes. It's so bad that Edinburgh doesn't allow its students to do exchange there unless they're already fluent in the language. So many bright Edinburgh students were going to Kyoto and coming back worse than when they went. :confused: Kyoto, for some bizarre reason, forces its students to take simple courses in English...

As far as exchange programmes go, the very best are: Sophia (in Tokyo) or Doshisha (in Kyoto). I've heard good things about Kyushu but only know 1 person who went there. Hokkaido is a great university with an excellent location in central Sapporo; but, the drawback is that although the university is famous, its exchange programme is OK / average and Hokkaido has a very, very long winter. Waseda's exchange programme is OK but nothing spectacular. Keio's is average and its location isn't great in Tokyo... Ritsumeikan's exchange programme is fine but location isn't ideal unless you like the countryside and don't mind being close to the city centre.

Again, I can't stress how important it is to choose a university with a good exchange programme. Wherever you go, you want to feel that your Japanese is improving, that you're receiving support and that you're making a good investment. Your main priorities are improving your Japanese, enjoying life and taking care of your health.

Thank you! I will definitely take that into account when applying for unis in the uk and unis for my exchange abroad. I thought that the top rated unis would have the best exchange programmes offered, but it seems that isn't true. I'll make sure to put Sophia and Doshisha on my priority lists!
Original post by Kermitmyself
Hi, I just made a student room account to ask for some advice on university choices, I have been reading through quite a lot of posts about studying Japanese at different universities and am not sure about my firm choice universities anymore, due to mixed opinions.

I am currently looking at Leeds university and SOAS university as my top choices, when I visited SOAS I was really impressed by a alumni who talked about their experience and how they loved their year abroad, when I talked to them personally after the presentation they greatly recommended SOAS to me, and answered a lot of my questions about costs and graduate outcomes.

Leeds on the other hand I have not visited but through my friend who speaks highly of the university it seemed quite appealing, but I have no knowledge on the proficiency graduates have after studying Japanese at leads compared to SOAS where the alumni mentioned that her fellow graduates mostly had N2 certificates and a few had or were going to take the N1 test.

I was wondering if there are any students that are currently studying Japanese who could give a perspective of their experience studying the degree at their universities? In terms of student life, graduate outcomes, living costs and the intensity of the course itself?

Thank you and sorry for the long thread, I hope to hear from people soon!


Hiya! These are really good universities! I’m currently studying at UCLan doing Asia Pacific studies and Japanese. I got ABB and was rejected by Sheffield. The teachers and city are good here so I would definitely consider it an option during clearing if your other choices don’t work out! UCLan offer business and history related courses alongside a language, but also just the language itself. I also take chinese alongside my degree so they are very flexible :smile:
Original post by Quick-use
Hey, I studied Japanese at Edinburgh and have already graduated.

Here are my thoughts on the Japanese degrees offered in British universities (from what I've heard and witnessed from friends who've studied Japanese at the institutions):

Yo, I know this is a very old thread but I was wondering if you had any info regarding Japanese at Cambridge? Everywhere I look except for cambridge resources itself, there is not much info about it (but there is for oxford lol)

Quick Reply