This blog is written by Friendship Ambassadors of Kyoto Prefecture. It is written from the perspective of exchange students, and by publishing it in both various languages and Japanese. We would like to give you information that will hopefully be useful if you are thinking about choosing Kyoto cultural capital of Japan, for your study abroad.
Wagashi, LAVROW XENIA, Meiji University of Integrative Medicine, from Deutschland
Wagashi is traditional Japanese sweets. It attracts people by its appearance as well as its taste. It has own seasonable shape and ingredients. You will never experience the same time when you are savoring it.
In Spring, many people like relishing sakura-mochi under the cherry trees alongside the Kamo River. In the summer time, warabi-mochi is so tasty, especially when viewing the Daimonji Bonfire. In the season leaves fall, with seasonal ingredients like chestnut, manju makes people’s mouth water. Lastly, in the winter, Kyotoites relish hanabira-mochi during the New Year. What a variety wagashi has! It is genuinely sweets, but these low-calorie, low-fat sweets are becoming more and more popular among health-conscious people.
Houses in Kyoto, Japan, NGUYEN THI SAO MAI, Ritsumeikan University, from Vietnam
I think that, before you start to study abroad, it is very difficult to find an apartment to live in. However, you can soon find a reasonable and conveniently located apartment whose rent is within your budget. This is because Kyoto, home to a lot of colleges and universities, has a lot of apartments for students offered by many real estate agencies.
In my case, my college didn’t have a dormitory yet then, so after I arrived in Japan, I went and asked someone a friend of mine knows to stay at her house before I found a place to live in.
I had never lived alone untill then and that was my first time finding a place overseas, so I was at a loss how to do and felt uneasy.
However, when I visited a real estate agency, they were very kind enough to explain and show various apartments. I was surprised that they were always smiling and never complaining.
Many of the real estate agents in my country don’t give you a welcoming attitude when they feel you will not deal with them.
Kyoto is said to have a lot of places and things to see for visitors, but rents are not as high as you will think and you only have to pay twenty eight to forty thousand yen as a monthly rent.
I feel relaxed to live in a quiet town like Kyoto. I tried very hard to look for an apartment, but I eventually found a nice apartment. All things considered, I’m convinced that the most important thing is to look for an apartment from the viewpoint of security.
Houses in Kyoto, Yao Situ, Kyoto University, from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China
Colleges and universities in Japan have few dormitories.
Although more housing facilities such as International Houses are available for international students, in most cases, you are not allowed to live for over a year. So you will most likely have a lot of trouble finding an apartment.
In Japan, there are often a lot of hurdles when students from China find apartments. For example, you will be required to secure a guarantor and pay key money(reikin) and a deposit(shikikin). And also sometimes you may have to sign a two-year lease.
Besides, probably you need to get used to the Japanese floor plan and room-size measurement. But you don’t worry too much. Try to communicate well with real estate agents, and they will answer any questions in detail.
Kyoto’s college and university students account for over ten percent of its population and rents in Kyoto City are relatively high.
Most landlords and real estate agents believe that students are good tenants. As a matter of fact, they often patronize students as their major tenants. As an academic benefit, students can sometimes ask their schools to be their guarantors or get a shorter-time lease.
Lastly, I am an engineer major, so I tabulate the rents of the apartments in Kyoto City using the parameters such as floor plan and room size. The figures may not be accurate enough, but I hope it helps those who are going to come and study in Kyoto.
Friends, Exchange with Japanese people, Guo Jingqi, Ryukoku University, from China
When you first come to Japan, you may often feel lonely, but you don’t have to worry too much about that. Once you get into university, you have a lot of chances to make Japanese friends. For example, at Ryukoku University, the organization called “The International Exchange Committee” plans to hold various events every year, which help international and Japanese students tighten their relationships.
So I recommend that you try to participate in events organized by your college or university’s international department or committee as often as you can.
In addition, some governmental organizations such as Kyoto Prefectural International Center often offer various activities for international students to get used to living in Kyoto as soon as possible. So it is also a good idea to get information by checking on the Internet, especially Kyoto Prefectural International Center’s website and facebook.
When you work part-time or attend classes, you will have a lot of chances to make Japanese friends. On such occasions, I would think you should know trendy words or things specifically used by young Japanese people so that you can communicate with them smoothly.
Scholarship and part-time jobs, Chen Yi Chang, Doshisha University, from Taiwan
If you are not from Europe, your first impression of Japan may be high prices. If you don’t want to ask your parents or family to pay too much for your studies abroad in Japan, I recommend that you work part-time or apply for a scholarship. If you are studying a Japanese course at university, I think if you basically meet your responsibilities as a student and keep a good relationship with your teachers, you should be able to get their recommendations for a scholarship. If you apply for a scholarship, make sure to write a good statement of purpose to increase your chances of success. Try to regularly check the “Interchange Association, Japan” website too: http://www.koryu.or.jp/ez3_contents.nsf/Top On that page, information about scholarships in Japan is updated regularly. Please submit an application form at the beginning of the semester.
About a part-time job, there is information about various job offers listed in convenience stores and shops, furthermore, you may also get useful information if you actively ask shops directly. Basically if you show a positive attitude, it is not too difficult to get a part-time job and/or a scholarship.
Scholarship and Part-time job, NAMGUNG Hyejin, Kyoto University, from Korea
Prices in Japan are higher than in any other Asian country. Many students from abroad, living away from their families, have to pay much more for daily expenses than they will think. However, there are various scholarship programs supporting international students in Japan, so if they have a dream and a vision, they will be able to be awarded governmental or organizational scholarships. In addition, students can work part-time to earn everyday expenses if need be. When you work at a convenience store or a restaurant in Kyoto, hourly wages are usually from 800 to 900 yen and you are required to speak basic Japanese. Furthermore, by taking advantage of your native language and Japanese ability, you can have a new working experience as an interpreter, a translator, a language tutor and so on. Let’s try various things!
Houses in Kyoto, Liu Ning, Doshisha University, from China
I moved twice in Kyoto for school-related reason in the past two or three years. When I first came to Kyoto, I started to live with my three classmates in a three-bedroom apartment. This type of apartment requires us to share its kitchen and bathroom. When I got into Doshisha University, I moved in to a studio apartment where I live now. This apartment with only a six-tatami-mat-sized room is equipped with a kitchen and a bathroom, which I can have to myself. Besides, it is located near Kyoto Imperial Palace and within a 5-minute walking distance of Doshisha University. It is a convenient location for my everyday life as a student. I realize how reasonable and convenient it is for me to live in an apartment in Kyoto because I used to live in a few small and high-rent apartments when I was in and near Tokyo. The rents of the apartments where I have lived in Kyoto so far are not as high as I thought and are each less than thirty thousand yen. They are within walking distance of school. Unlike most students living around Tokyo, I don’t have to commute to and from school by train. I can assure you that you will be able to find a place in your favor if you start to live and study in Kyoto.
About scholarships and part-time job, Naka Angelica, Kyoto University, from Peru
As you may know, prices in Japan are much higher than in Peru. For example, in Peru you have lunch at a price worth 100yen at a school cafeteria, but in Japan you need to pay 500 yen or so for lunch. Therefore, I applied for a scholarship before I came to Japan so that I won’t have to ask my parents to pay too much for me and that I can concentrate on my study. This scholarship, called “The Nikkei Scholarship by The Nippon Foundation,” is available for students of Japanese origin all around the world. Following the scholarship by the Nippon Foundation, I am now awarded a scholarship by the Yoneyama Rotary. These scholarships have enabled me to live an easier life and also have various experiences. For example, I sometimes participate in volunteer activities such as school visit, events by the Rotary, and so on. Thanks to these activities, I have been able to make friends from various countries.
There are various scholarships supporting international students like this. Please see the website of JASSO, or Japan Student Services Organization, for the list of the scholarship names and their requirements.
Also in Japan, I sometimes work as a TA, or a teaching assistant and a RA, or a research assistant. By working there, I can afford to travel and buy gifts for my family. Unlike me, some of my friends work part-time at a restaurant or a convenient store. Some international students work as an interpreter or a translator between Japanese and their native languages as well as a language tutor, especially English.
I recommend that you study in Japan, a leading country in technology.