Study in Japan Global Network Project in ASEAN


Student Voice

Tadao Sonava



University/Institution Name

Okayama University


Discovery Program for Global Learners

Period of study abroad


What did you do before studying in Japan?

High school student

Why did you choose to study in Japan?

I decided to come to Japan because to Cambodian people, Japan is known for its professionalism and high quality education. On top of that, national universities in Japan are prestigious yet their tuition fee is reasonable.

How did you prepare for studying in Japan? Please tell us about how you found the information on institutions, supervisor, scholarship, and others.

About preparations before studying abroad
The preparation process is very clear and specific. Everything is set and easy to follow, as long as procedures are taken in a timely manner.
・I did many research on Japanese universities.
・I prepared necessary paperwork and translate documents like birth certificate, school transcript etc and submitted them to admission officers.
・I studied basic Japanese before coming to Japan. There are many interesting courses conducted in Japanese.
・I learned basic Japanese customs. It is important to respect other cultures.

 About opportunity to know about Okayama University
I know Okayama University from JASSO homepage. Since I was searching for a national university which has English classes, that’s how I found Global Discovery program.

How is your student life in Japan? Please tell us about your study, research, part-time job, and others.

Besides my difficulty with Japanese language, my life as a student is beautiful and worthwhile because:
・Has varieties of scholarship available for international students
・Students and staffs in the campus are friendly and helpful. They take care of international students very well.
・There are many departments and faculties to choose from
・Has many events and trips for foreign students to interact with the locals to get to know more about Japan
・School cafeteria sells healthy meal
・School environment is peaceful and beautiful.

Are you receiving a scholarship? What scholarship? If you receive a scholarship, is it enough to study Japan?
Depending on the type of scholarship, some scholarship covers everything and some only enough for apartment rental.
I am currently under Monbukagakusho Honors scholarship, receiving 48,000 yen per month for one year. The scholarship is enough for me to pay the dormitory and groceries.

About your classes (course status, difficulties, preparation, review)
Currently I have a huge interest in social innovation course, particularly in non-profit organizations, politics and business-related subjects. I am careful when registering to a course because I want to take minimal number of class and be able to invest in quality effort in those subjects rather than taking many courses and perform poorly. I always make sure to choose quality over quantity.
I have around 3.5 hours of class per day and I spend extra 2 to 3 hours researching and reviewing at the library or dormitory. Personally, I try to take around 5-6 classes and I do not want to be too overwhelmed with schoolwork especially during exam weeks because I also need to cook, sleep and stay healthy.

How do you spend holidays?
I spend my holiday travelling to other prefectures with my friends or take a day trip to nearby tourist spots in the city. Since trains and busses are easily accessible, travelling in Japan is very convenient.

About difference between Japan and Cambodia
There are many differences between Japan and Cambodia. Major differences are weather and manner. Japan is very cold during winter compared to Cambodia. Also, Japanese people is extra careful with time management, so it is important to be not be late.

Any message and/or advice to those who wish to study in Japan?

So far, coming to Japan for education was the best decision in my life. I am very pleased to learn from Japanese people and adapt myself in this country while maintaining and cherishing my identity. The scenery and culture here are absolutely beautiful. I learn new things every day and become more open-minded than ever. I strongly encourage more Cambodian students to come study here and emerge yourself in different learning environment. There is no doubt it will push you to become an even better version of yourself. So, if you have a chance, grab it and don’t miss the opportunity to experience life in Japan. Life is too short to doubt yourself, always take a chance because for better or worse, it will teach you something.