Thank you all for waiting for this “How to study in Japan” post. Before anything else, I would like to thank Jessica and Sig for contributing their knowledge and time. This wouldn’t be possible without them! I’m sure you guys will learn a lot from these girls’ experiences as exchange students from Manila. I also applied for scholarships before but those weren’t meant for me.. but I still found a way to make my Japanese study dreams to come true (with the help and support of my family, especially my brother).
Artwork by Keeshia Felipe
Kaila’s Japanese Language Student Experience at Bunka
After finishing my university thesis at De La Salle University-Manila and completing all my requirements, I took a risk and chased after my cherry blossom dreams in Japan. A year before that, I had a lot of “Japan-related” heartbreaks because firstly, I was denied when I applied for a visiting relative visa (to visit my older brother Kuya Eric in Japan). It was the time when I also stopped school for a while (financial problems in the family). I also applied and researched a lot about Japanese school scholarships. However, I failed the written test. But those delays did not stop me nor discourage me to fight for my childhood dream to live and work in Japan. During my 6-month being out of school (1 term + summer vacation), I helped my brother with our online business by providing graphic design and webdesign help. At 18/19 (cannot remember omg), I was already working and setting up e-commerce websites even if the internet was so slow that time. I did get depressed for a few weeks because I really wanted to go to Japan and visit my brother and help him but I thought to myself… maybe The Guy Up There had different plans for me. I incubated myself inside my room for a half a year and that was the time I started to plan and think of ways on how to pursue my dreams. I was decided that I would make the most out of my university life so that I would be prepared in the “real-world” setting once I have graduated.
After my brother and I helped out each other (he financed my education while he was setting up his company + working everyday + finalizing his university thesis too), I was able to graduate from DLSU. He also saved up for our last option to bring me to Japan.. which is to enroll me in a language school. Our plan was: Study Japanese for a year -> Apply for a working visa. With my diploma, I was able to convert my student visa to a 3-yr. working visa. My brother’s company sponsored my working visa.
Going back to the topic, I studied an intensive Japanese / Nihongo program in Bunka Institute of Language (BIL) in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I originally wanted to work and save up for a fashion-related course and study at Bunka Fashion College (hashtag ambisyosa haha) but I realized along the way that I wanted to pursue another dream. You can read my “Bunka” posts here from before.
My “Studying in Japan” experience is categorized under “self-sponsored” (though I badly wanted to become an exchange student huhu). If you want to try living in Japan for a year (or half a year), I suggest that you save up by working in your own country (or ask for financial aid from your family) and find a school that will best suit you. For me, if you want to study fashion in Bunka Fashion College, the BIL program is good! My class would start at 9AM and end at around 3PM. I live in Saitama so I had to wake up at around 4:30-5:00 am, walk to the train station and avoid the packed trains / train delays. I would arrive at school at around 7:30-8:00AM. I usually have my breakfast in the canteen and I study better in the morning too. : )
My classmates stayed in a dormitory that was recommeded by Bunka. Click here for more information about that.
Snippets from BIL days. My language school friends Lily, Dawa, Shouro and Sabrina!