Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU)
Department of International Public Administration
Period of study abroad
April 2019 - Feb 2023
What did you do before studying in Japan?
I was a research student in Kyoto University before my enrollment at current university.
Why did you chose to study in Japan?
I had worked in the IT industry at a Japanese firm, which naturally led me to think about studying here. Of course, a wide variety of scholarship options and familiar cultural practices played encouragement in the consideration process.
How did you prepare for studying in Japan?
I have friends who won scholarships before, and they advised me to apply to MEXT. Also, there are many resources available online about studying in Japan, especially in the Burmese language. The accessibility is rather high compared to the information about other countries.
How is your student life in Japan?
At my first university here, I could not get enough information about the fields that the university encourages. When I finally found out, it was not a good option for my field of study. My current supervisor is in the same field and trend as mine, so it works out pretty well. The good thing is that I am getting more international friends from both universities.
My scholarship provides living allowances so that I can entirely focus on my research. Since students are allowed to work only under 28 hours per week here, I only work occasionally in the educational field. It was nice to have face-to-face conversations with youths in Japan.
As I am with MEXT, I had to attend the compulsory Japanese classes for the first 6 months since my supervisor back at Kyoto University applied it for me. This process led me with enough abilities to communicate in daily life.
Except for Hanami and Hanabi, I do not usually go out a lot for holidays since I am more of a home person. Yet, Japan has interesting sweets, food, and seasonal offerings. If I have to recommend, those would be first place, and also do not forget to enjoy the Japanese culture!
My challenges are mostly about my choice of university, department, and supervisor. My first supervisor retired and that led me to choose another university that can help me study the field I want to. For graduate studies, it is important to study the field that you want to, instead of the fields that are recommended to you. My solution was to transfer to the other university and it works out well for me.
Any message and/or advice to those who wish to study in Japan?
First, please find the field you want to study and go for a scholarship. There are many scholarships available for students in Japan, compared to other Asian countries. And second, never settle for the field of study you do not want to. That is the most crucial part.
Also, if you are a graduate student, the publications, and your thesis matter, compared to the university ranking. Instead of the university ranking, check the department, the available supervisors, and their research, then do maths about if it would match with your field and trend. High-ranking universities usually have particular graduate schools they invest in and prioritize. If your field of study is not in one of those, try considering other universities where your field is invested. Of course, you would need to work hard for a qualified paper or research.
And most importantly enjoy! Best wishes to all of you!