Open the door to a better future with a Japanese government scholarship
Awardees of the 2018 Japanese Government MEXT scholarships will develop the power to transform both their future careers and their lives, says Mr Fujiu, the Cultural Attaché from the Embassy of Japan in Pretoria.
Since 1994, 74 South African graduates have been able to take advantage of this opportunity to study in Japan and have received scholarships in fields such as science, technology, law and literature. The scholarship is administered through the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and covers flights to Japan, tuition and examination fees as well as Japanese language classes. Each scholarship holder also receives up to 145 000 yen (currently about R16 860) a month, depending on their study level, for living expenses.
“We are eager to help develop human resources as a contribution to building more productive economies in the MEXT recipient countries – subjects for current and recent recipients have included Robotics, Animation and Electrical Engineering,” says Mr Fujiu. “We also value the way the MEXT programme builds bridges of friendship between Japan and recipient countries.
“We appreciate how scholarship holders contribute to the internationalisation of Japan by participating in community activities. We hope that they will also return to their home countries enabled to make Japanese culture better understood at all levels.”
Being awarded a MEXT scholarship was the realisation of a childhood dream for Lwando Lawrence Moshani, who initially studied Multimedia at the University of Johannesburg. Lwando has been studying in Japan since April 2014 and is currently in his first year of a Master’s in Visual Design at Kyoto Seika University.
“Since I was at primary school, I had dreamed of coming to Japan to study animation,” he says. “I grew up watching animated shows from Japan such as Kimba the White Lion and became very interested in the Japanese art form of manga. I applied several times and the third time, 2013, I was thrilled to hear that I had been awarded a MEXT scholarship.”
Lwando was so determined to make his dream come true that he started studying Japanese by himself in 2006. Following a further six-month course since he arrived in Japan, he is now studying in the Japanese language.
“Learning the nuances of Japanese culture and experiencing the festivals has been marvellous,” he says. “I socialise more now with Japanese people and people from other countries and I am happy to help out in my school with Japanese students who want to practise their English.”
Ndivhuwo Makondo is another success story. From Venda in Limpopo Province, he received an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and has been studying for a PhD in Robotics on a MEXT scholarship in Japan since April 2013.
“The scholarship covers learning the Japanese language within your institution,” he says. “As I am at the Institute of Technology in Tokyo, I found that a lot of English is spoken in this city – and my academic studies are in English as well. I did six months of intensive Japanese lessons and now I get around very happily.”
Ndivhuwo found adjusting to different social patterns more of a surprise.
“The Japanese are always busy so you have to make appointments to see friends!” he says. “At home, I can just call a friend and more often than not, we would spontaneously meet for drinks or something.”
This year’s MEXT application process runs from April 2017, with the application deadline on June 9th 2017. Following tests and interviews at the Embassy of Japan in Pretoria, successful applicants will be allocated to courses and institutions. Applicants need to submit their qualifications along with academic records, a medical certificate and references along with their completed application forms.
“Living and studying in Japan is an eye-opening experience,” says Bessie Monchusi. Originally from Brits, she built on her B Tech from Pretoria University of Technology with a Japanese PhD in Electrical Engineering completed in 2010 after five years of study at the English-medium Kitakhyushu University. Bessie says she “loves problem solving” and now works as a project manager for SA’s National Research Foundation in Pretoria.
“Adjusting to the language and the food was challenging at first but I learned so much – to cope with a very different language and culture, socially and artistically, as well as patience and stamina. I particularly learned to focus more and to work more professionally which have helped me in my career.”
The MEXT scholarships cover postgraduate, undergraduate and advanced teacher-training courses. For more information on how to apply and the supporting documentation needed, visit: http://www.za.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/MEXT_Scholarship.html and http://www.studyjapan.go.jp/en/toj/toj0302e-10.html
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