Friday, 15 February 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

When you come, the Sakura should be blooming

Alright, as promised, here is a compilation of the questions all of you ask me. If your question isn't answered here, please ask it in the comments.

1. What documents do I need?

Just to be clear, I have no idea what documents the Osaka gaidai requires. But, it would be a good idea to bring certified true copies of your  graduation certificates (and however many years of transcript you had to submit to the embassy when applying for the scholarship) in case they want it. This is very important if you applied before you graduated. If you're worried about luggage space, you could always wait until the school asks for it and then get your parents to mail you the transcripts. There's normally sufficient time to get the necessary documents by mail.

2. Under what conditions will I be sent home?

You will be sent home if you're caught cheating. And also, if your attendence is below 80%, you may be barred from the examinations. So basically, do not cheat, and do not frequently skip class.

And yes, you have to pass, but even if you do fail, you'll have make-up tests. It's no fun to have to do the exams twice though, so study hard and try to pass.

3. Are the subjects (MATH) very difficult?

Yes, math is difficult. I hear that in Osaka Gaidai, it's common to fail.

Don't worry so much about Japanese, when you have lessons in Japanese every single day, and you speak it every day, passing generally isn't that much of a problem.

Visa Matters
I'm sorry, but if you have any questions here, you have to ask your embassy. There are different requirements for different countries. Generally though, since you're a Monbukagakusho scholar, there's a lot of help given.

Money Matters
1. How much money will I need for the first month?

Well, you should bring about one month's worth of allowance with you. For us, our first allowance was continually delayed. If you really need money (or if you can't afford), talk to the school. They're there to help. In our case, the school advanced us the first month's allowance (we had to pay them back later).

2. Is the money enough?/How much money will I need a month?

Amount of money needed per month varies on where you live, how often you eat out, how often you go out (to amusement parks, to nomikai's, etc). Generally, the scholarship amount is sufficient for the first year, because our rents are ridiculously cheap. Do note though, that you have to pay for your own gas and electricity fees here in Tokyo Gaidai. And my friend would like to tell you that they only way you can run out of money is if you have zero ability of money management. I'm sure all of you can surivive(:

3. How much is the hostel rent?
At Tokyo, I believe it's about 17,700 a month. I'm not sure about Osaka. But don't worry, your respective schools will send you an information booklet. Remember, when in doubt, refer to the information booklet!

3.1. Is there a monthly cafeteria service (I suppose you mean like in US dormitories).

There is a cafeteria, but as far as I know, there's no cafeteria meal plan. But, we have a stove in our dorm room here in TUFS (please look at this post for details about TUFS dorm rooms), so cooking is quite easy. And what your dorm room cannot handle, the common kitchen can!

4. Are there any jobs near TUFS?

Honestly, I don't know. And that's because we're not allowed to have a baito (part time job) while at TUFS. But like I said before, the allowance is sufficient, so relax and focus on your studies. You can worry about making money once you go to university (especially if you stay in Tokyo, with its sky-high rents) (;

1. What do I need to bring?

Here's what you don't need to bring:

- Electrical appliances (Except perhaps, your laptop). You can buy most of this in Japan, and besides, bring them from home means a heavier weight, and the need to find adaptors.

- Furniture. Our rooms are fully furnished, and we even have a futon, blanket and pillow (all this will be billed to you anyway).

Here's what you should bring:

- Your national costume (if you like it). It'll come in handy for the opening ceremony and other events where you want to introduce your country. If you don't, make sure you have a white shirt and dress pants/skirt (basically, something formal that resembles a suit) for the opening ceremony.

- Your favourite local snacks. If you're sure you can't find it in Japan (do a quite Google search, or ask your seniors!), you might want to bring along the snacks you can't live without. Plus, it's another very good introduction to your country. Make sure you check immigration rules before packing though!

- A LAN cable (for those in TUFS). You can get one here in Japan, but if you want internet on your very first night, bring the cable with you.

2. Can I join a club? What clubs should I join?

You should definitely join a club! It's the best way to make friends and practice your Japanese. And if you're coming to TUFS, please go and check out the kendo team! They're a fun and friendly group, and if the idea of being allowed to scream and hit people with a bamboo sword excites you, you're totally suited. Total beginners are welcome too.

If you're a bit more quiet, what about Kyudo? The Kyudo team is very friendly too (I've intruded, I mean, visited their dojo enough times to say so), and it's apparently a popular club for foreign students to join.

Apart from these two that I'm promoting, there are lots of other clubs like Quatro (dance), choir, etc. Just make sure to check the practice frequencies and times. Remember, school over clubs!


If you have any other questions that I haven't answered, please feel free to ask me in the comments below! I'll probably make a FAQ part 2 from them ^^

ETA: Please take a look at this page of "Do not ask me Questions" and the comments (if possible, I understand that the comment page is very long). If your question falls into the "Do Not Ask Me" section, I will not be replying, even if you use the email me widget and email me.