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Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/11/29 16:28
I've been studying Japanese mostly by myself for some years now although not in a regular or steady pace. In my last year at our university many years ago, I took around 6 units of basic Japanese but even before enrolling in the course, I have started studying Japanese independently. My instructor was quite impressed with me that he invited me to sign up for an exchange program in Japan. Unfortunately, I was graduating back then, and our university couldn't allow it. Well, I didn't really give it much thought anyway, especially since I was finishing my final project to get my degree; I felt like graduating the soonest was more important for me than the chance to go to Japan back then.

In my last visit to Japan (my first time in the country), I brought home a few books that I've since been using to continue studying by myself. I've gotten a bit better at it that my ears can finally catch a few spoken sentences in Japanese. I still can't say I'm fluent but I think I'm getting there. The books I got are really good but I still feel like studying Japanese in Japan can help me even better.

Not too long ago, I did some research on this area, and stumbled upon an organization that helps foreigners find a language school in Japan. I tried contacting them but their online form alerts me that they can't do anything to help me because I came from a third world country. Well, that's not their exact words but that's what it sounded like to me. Haha. I think it was due to visa agreements or something. We have economic ties with Japan, but apparently not that strong enough.

Living in Japan is one of those dreams of mine that I try to forget about, and move on from, but somehow find their way back up in my head. I tried applying as an ALT before through an agency I was referred to but I never heard back from them probably because I'm not a native English speaker. I applied for monbokugakusho but even after gaining support from Kyoto University professors who helped me with my proposal, I still didn't make the cut (not even for an interview, which was quite devastating). Just when I'm almost ready to call it quits with my dreams of experiencing Japan, something comes up and reminds me there may still be hope.

At this point my main concern with studying the language in Japan is the cost. I have some money saved, but I really wouldn't want to break the bank, and put my life in jeopardy. Going there to study can go many ways, some of them ugly, and while I understand there will always be risks, I want to mitigate them where I can. I've read in this forum that it's possible for people with student visas to get arubaito. In general, can the money earned from those jobs cover all expenses?
by Psycho Punch  

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/11/30 09:12
One of the conditions to obtain a student visa is that you must have, at the time of application, enough funds to support you through your entire stay in Japan. (There are exceptions for students who will have scholarships but that doesn't apply to you.) Although part-time work is indeed normally allowed, the visa decision is made under the assumption that you will not be working.

Usually, the amount of money a school wants to see in order to sponsor you for a student visa is given on their website along with all the other admission-related information, so go look at them and see if that's possible for you.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/1 00:12
In general, can the money earned from those jobs cover all expenses?

28 hours per week are allowed to work.
The hourly wage depends on what you do and where you live, but if you do part time job for average wage in Tokyo, you can earn \90,000-100,000 per month.
It is roughly half of salary of new graduates from university.
If you add some from your savings every month you can survive, I think.
by amenoshita rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/1 00:44
That range doesn't look too bad; I can probably break even with those rates. That's even considered high pay where I am. I imagine, though, that while salary rates are great in Tokyo area, the cost of living is high as well. By the way, do I.T. companies offer part time positions in Japan?

Sadly, I don't think I have enough money right now to show I can stay there for a really long period of time. Maybe 3 months tops, as 1 year would probably require millions of Yen.

Aside from learning the language, and immersing in the culture, another reason I want to study Japanese there is to gauge whether I can fit in there to stay for good. I would have gone with working holiday visa instead, but that option isn't available for the kind of passport I hold. Haha. This is quite depressing.
by Psycho Punch rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/1 01:05
A lot of people ask if a part-time job can support their expenses here. The short answer is yes (assuming you already have some savings to start with), and you throw in 28 hours a week by maxing out your quota, live on a shoestring budget, have almost/no social life (4 hours language school during the day, work 4 hours in the afternoon/evening and do your revision/study at night - and then repeat cycle every.single.day until your visa runs out).

And by doing that you are assuming that you are going to get 28 hours a week because most places might not need you there 4 hours a day, 7 days a week...unless you manage to secure more than 1 place of employment. And no, you cannot work more than 4 hours a day unless it's the school holiday season. So you technically have no off days whatsover to hang out, travel or enjoy living in Japan. You're merely surviving.

But all these doesn't even matter simply because like what Firas mentioned - when you apply to the school, you must already have the proof of your financial status in your bank account. You mentioned that you're from a 3rd world country, so that makes them even stricter on you. They might request additional documents such as your (or sponsor's) past 3 years tax receipts and bank transaction details etc. There have been many instances of people borrowing large sums of money and deposit them into their account just to "show" immigration and then come to Japan for a short-lived period only to be forced to return home because he/she ran out of funds.

I say this because I know someone in that situation. He came here for language school, lived 6 months and had to return home to earn more money as he just couldn't' afford to live here anymore.

And also, to not jeopardize your studies, part time jobs are meant to supplement your living expenses - not fund it.
by MS (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/1 01:33
From the sound of it, it still does seem a little too much for me right now; I should probably just shelve it back. I still have my books anyway, and they're doing great for me; I can be ok with that.

Thanks for your inputs!
by Psycho Punch rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/1 07:01
And no, you cannot work more than 4 hours a day unless it's the school holiday season

Do you have a source for this?
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/4 14:34
Tuition depends on the place of course, but you'd probably be looking at around 1,400,000 yen total for 2 years of school.
This of course does not include livings fees etc.
If you are thinking of Tokyo, then living costs will be high, but there are plenty of language schools outside Tokyo where you can live for cheaper.
If you get a cheap enough place to live, you are looking at probably around 300,000 to 400,000 yen for a year of rent. 120,000 maybe for a year of utilities. Food is hard to say, but for the sake of argument we'll say 20,000 yen a month so 240,000 yen a year.
So if you go to language school in Japan, for a total of 2 years, you are probably looking at 2.7~3.0 million yen. It of course varies depending on your lifestyle, habits, and where you live, but I doubt you could get it much cheaper than that. If you want to go out to restaurants, do touristy stuff, shopping, etc then that will make things a lot more expensive, but we will say the bare minimum you need is close to 3 million yen for 2 years.

Now, as to whether you could work part time to cover it, that depends. As said by others, you can work 28 hours a week during school, and during vacation (summer holidays) you can work up to 8 hours a day with the 28 hour restriction gone. I don't believe there is a 4 hour a day restriction for while you are in school, I have never heard of such a thing, nor would it really make any sense, as 28 hours is 28 hours regardless of how you work the hours.
If you get a job at say a convenience store, then you are looking at about 90,000 to 100,000 yen a month as previously said by someone else. It should not be hard to get hours at a convenience store type job, they are always hiring.
So you could probably make about 2.5~million yen in 2 years in Japan working that kind of job, depending on your wage of course.
Some people also teach English while they are going to school. The pay is better, but it might be hard to find that kind of job if you are not a native English teacher, and I have never done that kind of job myself so I am not sure how likely you are to get 28 hours in a week.

All this being said, you do need to have money before you come. So you can't apply for a visa with just 500,000 yen in your account and work your way through the rest of school. You need to show you have enough money to support yourself for at least the first year. I believe they look for around 1 million to 2 million yen, depending on your length of visa, but they may be more strict on those from the developing world.
by Guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/4 14:57
I really don't have plans to study the language for that long, though. Right now, I'm only considering short term courses, maybe 3 or 6 months long, just so that I can get the feel of what direction I'm going to take things. Since I already have some background in the language, I'm thinking perhaps I can enroll in intermediate courses. I'm more than half way done with the first volume of my Japanese language book. I also have a few kanji memorized, although probably not enough to pass N5 but, yeah.

Like I said, I also want to take it as an opportunity to do some sort of working holiday because that option isn't available to me.
by Psycho Punch rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/4 15:04
Well if you only go for 3 to 6 months you probably won't need millions of yen, but it would also likely be difficult to make any money during that period.
You are not able to work when you get your student visa, you have to actually apply for permission to work after the fact, and I can't imagine many jobs hiring and training someone who will quit in a couple months.
by guest (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Studying Japanese in Japan 2015/12/4 15:24
I have good background in software development, where, given the right conditions, I won't need much training since I've handled training courses myself in the past. But yeah, it probably would be hard to come across short term stints in software industry in Japan.

I am, however, currently working via telecommute where I don't need to be in the office to do my work. I can move to Japan and the study language there while keeping my current position, but I doubt the ministry of health, labor, and welfare would allow me to do that.
by Psycho Punch rate this post as useful

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