My Way to Japan

How I Came to Japan for Higher Studies
Rahul Maroju Updated in November 2022

Research field:
Large classification: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Small classification: Power engineering

Six years ago, while I was pursuing my second year of undergraduate study at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH), India, I was excited to come to Japan for the first time. I got an opportunity to participate in the 2nd International-industry-academic PBL workshop at Ritsumeikan University, which was a part of the SAKURA Exchange Program. I always dreamed to visit Japan since childhood, and it finally came true. Though it was a short stay for just 10 days, I could appreciate the place, the people, the culture, and everything! After I returned to India to continue my study, I understood more about various collaboration programs between my university and universities in Japan.

After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree, I worked in a private company for around a year in India. However, there was always a strong desire to explore Japan more and I decided to pursue my Masters in Japan. I started exploring various programs in many universities which are similar to my interest and expertise. After shortlisting a few, I applied for the JICA FRIENDSHIP Scholarship Program and was selected. This is an exclusive scholarship for students of IITH to pursue Master’s or Doctoral programs in universities in Japan, due to an MoA between JICA and IITH. The process involved an application form, submitting some documents and followed by an interview.

Next, I applied for the Master’s Program in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Systems at The University of Tokyo. The application flow should be understood from the website of the corresponding department, as it is different for different programs. In my case, the first step involved filling an online portal with our profile information like personal details, education, uploading some documents, etc. Also, the contacts of two people who can provide recommendations must be provided. After submitting the application, the recommenders will receive an email to submit their responses, which should be filled before the deadline.

After the initial verification of the information, the prospective supervisor assessed the profile, and we arranged an introductory call. With his consent, the next step would be to take a written examination to test the basic knowledge. It was conducted online, which was monitored by him. On passing it, the final step was to take an oral examination, where a panel of some professors conduct an interview. After completing all these steps, I could obtain the admission, and further procedures were communicated.

I was expected to come to Japan in September 2020, as my program of study started then. However, due to the coronavirus, I could not enter the country and started pursuing it online, with the permission of my supervisor in the university. As the university started conducting classes online, it was beneficial to me by not waiting till I come to Japan. After a few months, when it was possible to enter Japan, I could obtain the visa and flight ticket with the support of JICA. Finally, I could come to Japan in December 2020.