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    Just read the post enquiring about the Chinese year abroad, and rather unsurprisingly got to thinking about the Japanese one.

    I'd love to hear what it's like, any aspect really - the more the better. I'm really curious to learn what there is to look forward to (and be scared s***less about).

    Many pre-emptive thanks
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    Ummm, I'm not at SOAS. But I can say Japan is amazing. I went there last year
    Just make sure you can speak and read some japanese
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    (Original post by ndkathleen)
    Ummm, I'm not at SOAS. But I can say Japan is amazing. I went there last year
    Just make sure you can speak and read some japanese
    Least helpful post ever?
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    Well the universities you can go to are listed on the website I think, and which one you actually get to go to depends on how well you do. (the people who do best get first choice.) I think the main exam it's based on is in Januaryish some time, in year 2.. eek. anyway, I think first year grades might also be considered by the universities in Japan so don't mess up :P Even though I've just finished year one I don't actually know that much about it, which is kinda weird but I think the Japanese teachers like to wait and see who actually passes into second year.. I think you write down about three choices and it goes from there. You can go to Japan and come back at any time in the summers as long as you're back in time for SOAS terms. So theoretically you could be there almost a year and a half if you spent both summers there. I'm sorry I can't tell you much more about classes there etc, although I've heard from a Japanese teacher that their uni exams are easier than here. :P Anyway, I presume you're coming to SOAS so come ask the second years in the Japanese society a bit later on in the year as I'm sure we'll know more then. Also, you need to have a statement showing you have enough to live for a year in Japan in the bank before you can get a student visa. (I'm pretty sure you can borrow the money, get a statement, and give it back though.. That's what I'm planning anyway cuz I don't have like £5000+ lying around. :s ) Uhh.. I heard one of the unis gives classes in sword making. (not too sure if that's true, lol.)
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    (Original post by fourr)
    You can go to Japan and come back at any time in the summers as long as you're back in time for SOAS terms. So theoretically you could be there almost a year and a half if you spent both summers there.
    Really? I'm stuck in the UK waiting for the Japanese bureaucracy machine to kick into action. Theoretically, you have to stay in the UK to apply for your student visa as I don't think the Japanese government like having you in Japan whilst you are applying for a student visa on a holiday one. Its far too dodgy and immigration can send you back because they might suspect you are seeking to work illegally. We were all advised against traveling to Japan without a student visa, because there was no guarantee if the Japanese authorities would sanction changing visa statuses in Japan. Actually, I am almost certain you cannot change a visa like that - unless you get married and require a spouse visa.

    You should get your visa around August time and are free to enter from then on.

    Some unis are really strict though. Some will allow you to come early, some won't - purely out of security and safety issues so they can keep an eye on you.

    Regarding unis - I heard Keio was an absolute ******* to get into. Guy on our course get in but scored pretty high on all his modules. This is reflected in the fact that he is only the second person in 7 years to have been accepted there.
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    (Original post by guy_incognito)
    Really?
    Ahh, you're right, I completely forgot that there might be visa restrictions.. ):
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    2 people from my year went to Keio.

    I'm at the end of my year abroad here in Japan. (Osaka University)

    All unis are different, all will be a lot lower standard that SOAS in terms of work. To the point where we're bored...?

    I managed to get working permission, started working, moved off campus (which was in the countryside, and 2nd highest suicide rate out of all japanese unis!!), and since then this has been the best year of my life. Things have taken off so much I don't want to come home.
    But my visa is ending, and I have one more year of study at SOAS. So Ill be on my way next month.

    My advice would be to choose your uni in Japan by the city you want to go to. Try to make sure your campus is not in nowhereland. Don't become isolated.
    Get a job - it will broaden your social circle, push your japanese more, and earn you some cash too. The Yen shot up this year, the Pound plummeted, and it freaked us all out.

    It's very hard to make friends with Japanese students, they seem so young. Herd mentality and shy as hell. Universities have more like high school atmospheres. The only students that aren't freaked out by you and want to make friends are probably English-bandits or Gaijin-hunters. And you may have to make do with that, retreat to your ryuugakusei ghetto, or meet people off campus! (the best!)

    It's very very tough at first. But worth it in the long run! So much to see and do here!
    Japanese never stops being difficult, but Japan makes it worth the effort.

    Finally, a lot of people fail the end of year exams in Japanese at SOAS. So study like your life depends on it. GANBATTE.
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    (Original post by Exoskeletal)

    It's very hard to make friends with Japanese students, they seem so young. Herd mentality and shy as hell. Universities have more like high school atmospheres. The only students that aren't freaked out by you and want to make friends are probably English-bandits or Gaijin-hunters. And you may have to make do with that, retreat to your ryuugakusei ghetto, or meet people off campus! (the best!)
    What do you mean by so young? They act that way or they are a few years younger :confused: (oh, and what's an English-bandit? sounds amusing:giggle:)
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    (Original post by Susant)
    What do you mean by so young? They act that way or they are a few years younger :confused: (oh, and what's an English-bandit? sounds amusing:giggle:)
    Japanese unis are like British high-schools, they simply prepare you for the outside world of work with a dilution of academia. In the UK, unis tend to be more of a place of academic place of learning with lots of drinking, whereas in Japan its more of a place of social status to get to and then get drunk.

    But I agree with Exo to some extent. I think its best to join a society at uni though (so far I've signed up with Bowling society and cycling society. ) Most of the people there are not looking to speak English and make gaijin friends so its a pretty rewarding experience. Kinda throws you in the deep end though.

    Oddly enough some of my best friends in Japan, originally just spoke to me in English most of the time. But after a while, thanks to pure laziness and a greater sense of friendship and japanese ability/knowledge, we speak mostly in Japanese now. I think once they get past the 'wow, I have a gaijin friend' the 'gaijin' bit falls off and then you just start talking in Japanese most of the time.

    Eigo-bandits are the really annoying people who approach you out of nowhere wanting a free English lesson. Be prepared to; a) run away, b) speak back in colloquial Japanese, preferably kansai-ben (何言うてんねんお前!..) or c) do the really annoying British thing of being as polite as possible. Its a lot worse if you are western girl because Japanese guys will leech onto you, in the subway, in the konbini, its all good. I feel very bad about this. One girl who as the uni I'm going to next month, said she was constantly harassed by some weird Japanese guy who kept following her. thankfully, he buggered off when her b/f turned up.

    That guy is more of a gaijin hunter, (motto chikan no kanji) and the female version is the gaijin-gold digger (motto toroi burikko no kanji darou) who best be avoided like swine flu.
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    (Original post by Exoskeletal)
    2 people from my year went to Keio.
    Wow. Must be smart. Not sure what the requirements from SOAS are, but at Sheff you need 70%+ on Japanese language tests and then 60%+ on everything else to be considered to go there. Its really daft though because unless you want to work in Japan, the prestige of having done a year in Keio means nothing to us really.
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    Thanks for answering

    If I got on a course, hopefully I could dodge a few Eigo-bandits . The is until I let the ol' accent rip
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    (Original post by Susant)
    Thanks for answering

    If I got on a course, hopefully I could dodge a few Eigo-bandits as I apparently look like them. The is until I let the ol' accent rip
    British Hong-Kongese?

    I must admit, I'm quite jealous of those people who go to Japan, because you can assimilate a little bit more easier than we pasty face blue-eyed folks can. Plus, 99.9% of everyone you encounter in Japan will address you in Japanese. :yy:
 
 
 
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