My Way to Japan

My Amazing Journey to Japan
Nusrat Omar Updated in October 2022

In 2020, amidst of the pandemic, Osaka University published a circular of MEXT Scholarship for master’s and PhD degree. I applied to that circular and joined Osaka University the next year as a master’s student. I must say my way to Japan was very simple and straight forward. Let me talk about the important features that I think is important for MEXT scholarship (university recommendation).

1) Choosing laboratory and research topic:

Having a clear view of my own research goal and my study background helped me a lot to determine where I want to work. Visiting Osaka University before applying eased my way of course. But to find the appropriate lab one should search preferred university; their lab works and contact to the professors. Not necessarily for applying but may be to talk or to discuss about the research topic. If the professor is not responding, it is good to reach out to the running PhD students as well just to discuss about the lab research. It is very important to be outspoken in this regard.

2) English proficiency and SOP:

I took IELTS to show my English proficiency although the university says that a certificate of the medium (English) of language of undergraduate study is equivalently sufficient. I had both but I think my IELTS certificate was more of importance to the university than the other one. Statement of purpose (SOP) is a very important material of one’s profile. In my SOP, I clearly drew the connection of my major and my future goal and how it is right for the lab I am applying to.

3) Entrance Examination:

After my application got selected, the professors from my desired lab took an online entrance examination based on my discipline. It was an open book exam continued for nine days. They sent me one question each day via email with a deadline. It is important to know that this exam is not about how good grades I am getting. It’s about the screening process of how I am evaluating a problem and trying to solve it and how punctual I am. So do not get disheartened if you answer wrong for one or two questions.

Last but not the least, the experience of getting into a desired university is different in case of each person. The main key is to create an understanding with the professor with all the aspects (cgpa, research topic, publication, SOP, letter of recommendations, etc.) of one’s profile. All the aspects are not mandatory but a good combination mostly catches the eye of the professor.