My Way to Japan
Scholarship application and the hardest part - research plan proposal
Updated in January 2022
After one Japanese professor at Kwansei Gakuin University accepted me as his master's student, I was told that there are 3 options to get a full-scholarship there:
1) MEXT through university recommendation: around 144000 JPY/month for living, free tuition fee, must pass school entry test, a few students are offered every semester
2) MEXT through Vietnamese embassy recommendation: must pass embassy test (3 rounds), then choose university later, the whole process takes long time, there could be one year of learning Japanese and taking university entry test before studying
3) Yoshida scholarship: around 200000 JPY/month for both tuition fee and living. No more than one student will simultaneously receive scholarship per university. It means even if I was selected, I have to wait the current Yoshida scholar graduates, and start mine (http://www.ysf.or.jp/englishpage/index.html)
For me at that time, option (1) seems the best. So to apply for it, I had to prepare a lot of documents for both MEXT submission and school admission. For MEXT scholarship recommended by university, documents included application form, research plan, recommendation letters from both your current supervisor and Japanese professor, transcript, English certificate, others (published papers, award...). It is said that English certificate of IELTS/TOELF is better than TOIEC, so I would recommend you to prepare English certificate in advance. For school admission, documents were almost the same.
The most difficult part to me was the research plan. For that, I had to discuss with my Japanese supervisor around 1-2 months to clear what I would do for the master. The research plan required around 4 pages including abstract, introduction, detailed plan, and expected result. That work is never easy. I was so glad that my Japanese professor worked together with me on research plan proposal. I have heard that many professors did not support that and students have to prepare by their own. That’s why choosing a right professor is so important.
My applying process is mostly document screening, I was so surprised because my friends also applied for MEXT in another universities and they had interviews. It seems that each university will have different process to choose candidates to submit for MEXT.
In general, I started preparing from October 2015 and university gave me a deadline by early Jan 2016. But because of New year holiday, I had to send all these documents by EMS in Dec 2015, then university's staffs could receive it before vacation. The result was informed in Jun 2016. So after a half of year waiting, I was informed that I got MEXT, and my studying would start in Sep 2016.