Human life is a series of days of constantly acquiring knowledge, learning, developing, and challenging themselves. Studying abroad in a country with such a unique culture and leading technology as Japan is an exciting experience, but also a huge challenge. You can have useful knowledge, interesting perspectives, and opportunities to develop yourself comprehensively in this country.
However, you can also feel alone and strange not fitting in with the many different standards, concepts, and habits in Japan. Therefore, carefully preparing before the important trip of your life will have a positive influence on your experiences in the future. After more than two years of studying at Tokyo Tech, I feel satisfied with what I have achieved, but still have some regrets about what I could have achieved if I had prepared myself more carefully.
Unlike traveling, studying abroad in Japan is about starting a life of your own for a period of several years. First, you have to prepare the essential items in your suitcase to help you survive. The Japanese climate has four seasons, which are relatively pleasant and mild, especially in Tokyo. Winter in Tokyo is cold and long, but there is not much snow. In summer, the temperature peaks around August and September. However, during the admission seasons, the climate is pleasant and comfortable. You can absolutely use all your basic clothes, and bring thick clothes to wear in winter. After that, you also need to prepare the basic medicines that you often use. Medical examination and treatment in Japan are quite complicated for those who are not fluent in Japanese. Therefore, having available cold medicines, antipyretics, and allergy medicines will be a treasure to help you quickly overcome unwanted pain. Most of us will bring electronic devices to study with. But you need to pay attention to the homogeneity of socket types and voltage in Japan. You may need to purchase converters in advance to be able to use them. And finally, you should remember to bring money in Japanese currency (JPY) as well as international payment cards, and always make sure that you have five to ten man yen for contingency.
In Japan, you will always be assured that your life is safe and comfortable. However, you also need to complete a lot of procedures while living here. For example, opening a bank account, declaring a residential address, declaring taxes, and paying for health insurance. At the start of your time at Tokyo Tech, you will have a tutor to guide you and help you with those tasks. However, I highly recommend actively learning and understanding your legal obligations.
Everyone says that learning Japanese is necessary when studying and living in Japan. Although my major is taught entirely in English, I myself find it very necessary to learn Japanese. When I was looking for an internship in Japan, most companies request a minimum Japanese language requirement equivalent to JLPT N2. Otherwise, the ability to use Japanese well is also an advantage when competing with other candidates. Before coming to Japan, if you have time, please hone your Japanese skills as much as possible.
The last thing that you need to prepare, I also think the most important thing is a steady mind and a clear future direction. Studying abroad means studying in a place far away from home. There is no help from family, no relatives nearby, and it is impossible to immediately return to your home country. Psychological instability, culture shock, missing family, and feeling lonely can disrupt your studies at Tokyo Tech. Therefore, you are required to be mentally ready, independent, and able to fulfill and shoulder your own responsibilities. Personally, I had to overcome a lot of problems in my early days studying at Tokyo Tech. However, the teachers, staff, and sempai at Tokyo Tech are wonderful people. Be proactive and notify them any time you encounter any problem. The teachers will ensure the confidentiality of your private information but at the same time will do their best to find the best solution for your case. When I’m at Tokyo Tech I always feel safe because there are always teachers ready to help me out.
Finally, I hope that what I have shared will be useful to prospective Tokyo Tech students. Wishing you all the best in your preparation and experiences during your time at Tokyo Tech.