I actually only learned of the Monbusho scholarship on May 2nd, that’s the day my sister and I flew to Taiwan to visit our grandpa. We came back to the States on May 8th, and the application deadline for “Research Student” was May 18th. (Note that I linked to the Japan Information Center at the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago rather than New York. This is because I found that the Chicago site provides more info than the New York site. You may also want to look at other Japan Consulate location to get more information.)
I did a little digging on the web, read through the application guidelines. The “must be less than 35 years old” requirement hit me hard and made me seriously think about my career and my future. I decided to go for it!
I only had a little more than 2 weeks to prepare and 10 days to get my documents together. Real briefly, the documents that are required are:
- Application (申請書)
- Application (Attachment) (申請書 別紙)
- Research Program (専攻分野及び研究計画)
- Photos (6×4 cm)
- Academic transcript of each academic year of the last university attended
- Recommendation from the principal or adviser of the last university attended
- Recommendation from the present employer
- Medical certificate (prescribed form)
- Graduation certificate or degree certificate of the last university attended
- Abstracts of theses
Some of these are kind of confusing, so I’ll explain them in details in another post.
First thing first, I shot a couple of emails to my managers, asking for their recommendations. Then I emailed University of Washington regarding the degree certificate and transcripts. I couldn’t get anyone from UW to write me a recommendation letter, as it has been more than 9 years since I had graduated. I don’t know if they automatically disqualified me based on that, but as a substitute, I asked the Business School adviser to write a letter to confirm to I went there, and I got an extra recommendation from my managers at Yahoo!
With those documents out of the way, the next thing I needed to do was to fill out the application forms and write the “Research Program” (the direct translation of its Japanese title is “Major and Research plan”). I’ll describe the applications in detail in another post and I may even post my “Research Program” later. (Hmm… may be even my recommendation letters…)
Anyway… come May 18th, I finally got my 2nd recommendation letter back (this is why you need to send these out to the people who’re doing your recommendation ASAP). I personally went over to the Consulate General of Japan in New York – at 299 Park Avenue, between 48th and 49th St.
The expectation was, I would get an interview and a Japanese Language exam around June 11 ~ 15th. Then I’ll start contacting the Graduate schools that interest me, and get their admission stuff, and prepare to go to Japan next April! Life was going to be good…
How naive I was… just a week after I submitted my application, I got the following email:
From: MEXT Scholarship Office
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 5:54:17 PM
Subject: MEXT Scholarship application review result
(Please note that this letter was sent to you today via regular mail also.)
XX-XX XXth St., Apt XX
Astoria, NY 11103
May 25, 2007
Dear Nicholoas Wang:
The initial evaluation of applicants for the 2008 Monbukagakusho Research Student Scholarship is now complete. This year’s selection process was particularly difficult because of the tremendous increase in highly qualified applicants. Consequently, it is with regret that we inform you that the Government of Japan is unable to invite you for further screening for a Research Student Scholarship for 2008.
We appreciate the interest that you have shown in the Monbukagakusho Scholarship programs and sincerely hope that you will continue to pursue your desire to study in Japan. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.
Consulate General of Japan in New York