Monbukagakusho – the reason why I decided to go to Grad school in Japan

I’ve only just learned of this awesome Japanese government scholarship from my sister recently, after I told her that I’m being laid off.

My sister was lucky enough to have done 2 exchange programs to Japan, once when she was in high school, she spent a summer in Kagoshima, Kyuushu. The second was in her last year in college, she went for a whole year at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. It was at Aoyama where she met people who was on the Monbukagakusho (Monbusho for short) scholarship.

I’m a typical elder child in the house. I studied boring subjects in college, got myself stable jobs at Microsoft and Yahoo! Never strayed far from the planned path. When my sister got to do the summer home stay in Kagoshima, I was quite jealous of her. I never chose to have any fun in school, all I thought about was picking the “right” courses to prepare myself for a career in the computer industry. I really wished I had taken chances to relax and do something crazy.

Now, I’ve just passed the big 30 mark. (and by just, I mean more than a year ago :P) I finally have enough skills and experience under my belt to make me feel safe. I begin to think about stepping out of the “stable zone”… doing the “crazy” stuff. I’ve had some crazy ideas, one was to make films about sharks. I love sharks! And I fucking hate Chinese people for eating shark fins! I wanted to put some bogus research on film saying that shark fins are cancerous! So they would stop eating shark fins! Yes, the idea is bat shit crazy!:D Some more realistic ones include a few web based businesses that I’m trying to put into motion now, and finally, going to Japan… I hadn’t really thought about this one, but once my sister told me about the scholarship, I did some research… and now I’m not quiting until I am there!

Monbukagakusho (文部科学省) literally stands for “Literature, Science, Ministry”. Their English name is Ministry of Education,culture,sports,science and technology (MEXT). They have been inviting international students to study in Japan at state expense since 1954. I got most of the information from this website, there are seven types of Japanese government-sponsored scholarships available – research students, teacher training students, undergraduate university students, Japanese studies students, college of technology students, special training students and YLP students. The only one that I can apply for is the “Research Students” one. When I read the qualifications, it really hit me hard!

You must be under 35 years of age and a college graduate (includes prospective graduates). Or you must have completed 16 years of schooling.

Must be under 35 years old… that’s like saying to me, “you’re almost too old to make a change in life!” It really got me thinking! Where am I in life? Like I said before, if I have child support and a mortgage to pay, I probably would’ve looked for a new job already. Even if I spend a little time opening my own web business, I can imagine I’ll be back in corporate America’s death grip within 1 ~ 2 years. So do I want that? My answer is no. I think I want to work for an American company, but I don’t want to work in the US anymore. Getting this scholarship and going to grad school in Japan will allow me to achieve that goal. So, I applied. The results? That’s for a later post. (Hint: FAILURE!!)

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Just another guy trying to beat the system and be released from the Matrix http://about.me/nicholaswang

Posted in graduate school, Monbukagakusho, scholarship, Work
2 comments on “Monbukagakusho – the reason why I decided to go to Grad school in Japan
  1. David says:

    Hey Nicholas, I have the same dream you’re pursuing at the moment. I’m still wondering why? though… Let me tell my story, perhaps we’ll meet up later in tokyo… my story is kinda weird, once I finished my bachelor I thought there was something missing in my life, I was kinda nerdy guy, pretty good at math I guess you can imagine how i look like… Anyhow, pretty much a tedious life I had, So I decided to live my country as soon as I got my diploma ( 我是哥倫比亞人 I guess having taiwanese family you got used to Chinese :p ) and I went to Montreal to improve my language skills, I spent a great time over there, every night was a blast, as i was in private language center as communication drills they had different events every night… well… time was gone I had again to move on… as I found an opportunity to go to Taiwan, I swear I didn’t think twice, just to get the experience, as I gotta admit I had good times over there, even though at the beginning it was hard time to me, I didn’t speak mandarin and my only weapon was my broken English… Once sucks of everything I enrolled me in a language center to learn the language… I had good times, but when I thought twice and reflecting about life I figured out there was still something else missing, perhaps I understood in taiwan that, no matter how good you speak the language or you know the customs always you will be a 外國人, anyhow I was having a good time, so I thought for a long while better, that I needed to keep growing in the professional field ( By the way I admire you, having worked in such a famous company, as you can see I’m 24 year old, and still my work experiences are 0.0, I mean real ones… ) back to the track I thought to stay in an asian country for many reason I won’t explain ( I know it sounds funny, but I applied a MICMAC algorithm to take the rightest choice ) well… one back to my country I started to prepare my papers, and it took me 4 weeks to get the papers, recommendation and so on… well, the fact is to my country colombia, there are just 6 scholarships and as far as I know the day i sent the papers ( lacking almost one month more there were applying over 700 hundred people ), Today they are discussing which ones are the fortunates be in the pre selected pool of 50…. if i get any news, I’ll let you know :p wish me lucky, who knows, I don’t wanna tell you bye, But see you there buddy :p

  2. cloneofsnake says:

    Did the Japanese Consulate in Columbia told you that there was only 6 scholarships & there were >700 applicants?! Damn!! It looks like you’re really gonna need some luck here! What’s your Japanese language level? It looks like you have a pretty good command of English, and your mother tongue is Spanish, right? I would think that you already have an advantage there, knowing more languages than most in the USA. Let me know how it goes, I hope the info I put up here will help you too.

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