My Story to Get MEXT – A Full Scholarship
Updated in December 2020
Finding my scholarship
By chance, when I was 3rd year undergraduate student, I was introduced some Japanese professors whose research are about material sciences. At that time, these professors also had a business trip in Vietnam to present their researches and their university. Therefore, I had a great opportunity to talk to them directly instead of exchanging conversation via email like other cases. Thanks to recommendation from my current school at that time, one Japanese professor accepted me as his master's student and suggested me to apply for MEXT scholarship.
The most DIFFICULT part !!!
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 letter, transcript, English certificate, others (published papers, award...). The most difficult to me was the research plan. For the research plan, 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.
Only document screening, that was all. So the hardest part was to prepare. 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.
Advice for you
Each university has different offered scholarships (MEXT, prefecture's scholarship, private scholarship...) so the best way is to contact with staffs for more information.
There is another choice is applying scholarship after coming Japan if you can survive in Japan by your own budget and good enough Japanese. Almost scholarship offering after coming Japan requires Japanese ability (document screening, interviews), but it is high chance to get it.
The application process
Just follow the procedure and complete everything as soon as possible. Discuss and ask the help from supervisor and friends. Each university gives different procedure, then you do not need to compare with others. Keep calm and do your best.
Scholarships to consider
Full-covered: MEXT, Yoshida (around 200000 JPY/month for both tuition fee and living, only offered for a few universities), Panasonic (around 120000 JPY/month, offer travelling twice per year, some universities only), JSPS fellowship (for PhD, postdoc with around 200000 - 500000 JPY/month)
Not full-covered: school's scholarship (stipend or tuition fee's reduction), prefecture's scholarship, private scholarship by some companies.
Depending on timing or some circumstances, you might fail for a full scholarship. But if you keep your passion on studying in Japan, there is always a bend in the road.