It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities
– J.K. Rowling
Let me begin by acknowledging the fact that university life is hard. But do you know what is harder? – Deciding where to go for spending the next four years of your life! I was bent on going to the U.S. for my undergrad.
However, my aspirations of chasing the American dream was short-lived. Fast-forward a couple of months, at a point where I was facing the prospect of taking yet another gap year and apply to the States, I took a leap of faith and seized the opportunity to come to the land of sushi and anime. I decided to come to Japan.
I knew it was not going to be easy to give my dream of going to the States and come to Japan, a place I had barely given thought to during my applications. I took some time and started looking at why I should come to Japan. To my surprise, there is more to Japan than meets the eye.
Coming from Dhaka, I do not believe it is necessary to say anything about the hustle and bustle people face on a regular basis. I was exasperated with roads teeming with cars,sidewalks bustling with hawkers and people.
So, I needed to escape the city (Dhaka city), where people would value time as much they value their money, hence Japan. Also, Japan has amazing scenic places that people would die to visit. So I could always take myself to some of the most beautiful places on the planet like Okinawa, Hokkaido, Kyoto or the magnificent Mount Fuji.
If you want easy money in your hands, Japanese government provides the famous MEXT Scholarship (Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship) to freshman students pursuing undergrad, graduate and Ph.D. degree, which I also received upon enrollment.
Moreover, once you get enrolled in a Japanese university, there are several altruist companies that offer to fund scholarships, totaling to a handsome amount that will make you a millionaire even before you start your second year of college! Not joking!
Then again one of the most common questions I get asked by juniors wanting to come to Japan is about the availability of part-time jobs. While you create the opportunities for earning money for yourself, it’s good to know that Japan has the third largest economy in the world.
What you need to understand from this is that Japan pays, a lot. So, alongside providing for yourself (with more than enough) indulge yourself in comforts without the necessity to bound yourself with financial constraints.
While many international undergraduates dread the possibility of unemployment after graduation, in Japan however, international student have a 93.5%, with 2.3% even landing a job in the civil service department. Besides, job-hunting period in Japan start in the 4th year of university giving students time to think their options through and getting a job in their dream company.
Before I came here, I heard that Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. As I am very used to seeing police officers on patrol or security guard at apartments in Dhaka, it was surprising to not see a single police officer until two weeks after I arrived in Japan.
The threat to security over here seems to be 0. You can take a 3 am stroll and no one would cast a second glance at you, let alone think of the prospect of being mugged or harassed. Ever! Period.
‘The Japanese are gentle’ – is a common notion. I believe, the Japanese lead by example. Japan has entirely changed my concept of the slogan ‘the customer is always right’. The Japanese take it to a whole new level.
As much as the service is expensive, you can rest assured that you are getting your money’s worth, yen for yen. And good service comes from the people offering them, right from bus drivers to bank employees, everyone happily greets customers as they come in with a smile (Irasshaimase!).
With all the technology that Japan has to offer, I would like to mention a couple of trivial ones compared to the shinkansen (bullet train). University brings out the coffee addict in us, and vending machines in Japan serve both hot and cold cans, which is very rare in other countries.
You can walk up to a vending machine after every 100 meters or so (Be careful! Vending machines may leave you broke! Joking!) Next up, washlets. These heated-electric toilets are a blessing. Enough said! For sushi lovers, you can simply place your order on a screen and your sushi will be brought to you in a mini train. How cool is that?
After all the good things said, I can’t say I have a complaint against this amazing country. A place that is beautiful, safe and pays good money (while you are still a student)!
You have got to come see it for yourself to believe it. So, if you are thinking of keeping your options open for your college applications, be sure to put Japan on your list!
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