My Way to Japan

Applying for scholarships without university recommendation (part 1)
Johannes Nicolaus Wibisana Updated in September 2022

PhD student at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

Field of research: Molecular biology, Genome biology

I finished my undergraduate studies in 2020 and decided that I wanted to continue for a master’s degree at Osaka University. Most scholarships that were available required university recommendation, and at that time, I was only offered 2 choices by my graduate school:

  • - Sato Yo International Scholarship foundation scholarship
    • o 180,000 JPY stipend per month for 2 years
    • o Additional support for tuition fee and to attend conferences
  • - MEXT Super Global University Project University scholarship
    • o 147,000 JPY stipend per month for 1 year
    • o Fully paid tuition

These scholarships mostly only required me to submit a research proposal, a personal statement, and a recommendation from my professor. I later found out that I did not get pass the screenings and had to look for other scholarships that can fund my studies. Unfortunately, at the time, due to changes in the department that I belonged to, I found out that I was not eligible for most scholarships requiring university recommendation. I then browsed the internet for scholarships, mostly through the JASSO directory. There, I found a total of 3 scholarship awarding foundations that do not require university recommendations. Nevertheless, as pretty much anyone can apply for these scholarships, there are far more applicants, and the passing rate is extremely low.

Here are the 3 foundations eligible for me at the time for which I applied to:

  • - Ito Foundation for International Education Exchange scholarship
    • o 180,000 JPY stipend per month for 2 years
    • o About 10 grantees per year
  • - Honjo International Scholarship Foundation scholarship
    • o 200,000 JPY stipend per month for 1-2 years, 180,000 JPY stipend per month for 3 years, or 150,000 JPY per month for 4-5 years
    • o 200,000 JPY travel grant per year for conferences
    • o A few of grantees per year
  • - Nitori International Scholarship Foundation
    • o 80,000 JPY per month for 1 year
    • o 100 grantees per year

As for the detailed procedures, results and some tips and tricks, I will discuss them in part 2, so stay tuned!