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University of Tokyo vs. Oxford 2008/7/13 16:13
Hello all,

Ive been accepted by Tokyo and Oxford universities to study environmental studies/management on master`s level. Now I have to choose between them and I would be grateful for your advises or any information that might help in desicion.

Oxford is higher in those university rankings and has worldwide reputation. Besides, it is 1 year of studies comparing with 2 years in Tokyo University. But Tokyo uni is not in much lower position of the list, and probably is better in teaching environmental disciplines.
There is also a difference in monthly budgets I would have - about 800J in Oxford for all, while it is 140K Ys in Tokyo + accommondation.

Additional personal information: Im married and have a 9month dauther. Id like to bring my family with me.

Taking all mentioned into account, could anybody please advise - where shall I go?
by tabush  

Oxford vs University of Tokyo 2008/7/14 13:02
Without any experience in this area at all, I'd say that if you plan to live & work in Asia, and the Tokyo curriculum is better, then pick Tokyo.
If you plan to be outside Asia, go to Oxford, because of the reputation.
by Spendthrift rate this post as useful

what will spouse do? 2008/7/14 13:51
140,000 yen a month is not a lot to live on in Tokyo for a family of 3, so I imagine your spouse will be looking for a job, or has he/ she found one already? That will be a major issue unless you have plenty of money to support yourself and your whole family while you study.
by Sira rate this post as useful

easy 2008/7/15 04:39
choose tokyo if you plan to stay in japan. choose oxford for anywhere else. having graduated from tokyo U will make you a shoe in for just about any job specification that matches your degree, as long as you stay in japan. but you'll need to speak japanese at a very advanced level; that's the caveat.

i'm curious if you don't mind my asking, how did you get accepted for a master's program at tokyo U, do you speak japanese at a high level?
by winterwolf rate this post as useful

Not a bad problem to have. 2008/7/15 10:26
Good for you for getting into two really good universities. In either case, UT or Oxford are going to look good on a resume/CV. Education-wise, I don't think you can make a bad choice here. Both places are well known internationally.

I work at UT right now.

Your choice is difficult because you have family, and it's not easy to just pick up and go. I'd say that you should choose based on your career plans. If you were planning on a career anywhere in Asia, I would agree with the other post that it would be best to go to Tokyo.

Speaking from experience, settling into to Tokyo life was really hard, and it still is to an extent. You will feel out of sorts for at least 6 weeks or so. I'm pretty low maintenance, I had a lot of problems. I don't feel that there is a good enough infrastructure in my department to deal with foreigners. But maybe having your family there would help. Are you from the USA?

Practically speaking, a family of 3 can on 140,000 yen per month is tough. Budgeting would be extremely tight. There's lots of resources on this site where you can see how much stuff costs in Tokyo and compare it to your lifestyle now.

Going to Oxford also would present its own challenges, but I've lived in London a long time ago, and I think that being able to remain in the Western world made it easier to get settled, etc., than moving to Tokyo.

By the way, for the graduate programs at Tokyo, they will teach in English if there are English speaking students enrolled in the course. So you don't need to know Japanese off the bat to attend here. I am not sure about the undergraduate programs.
by Dr Bob rate this post as useful

thanx a lot for your posts 2008/7/16 00:56
Thank you all for your answers and especially for telling about your personal experiences.

Im from Central Asia. I dont speak japanese neither my wife does. Well, Im not very sure about my 9month dauther who has just started speaking something misunderstandable but as far as I can determine it is also not japanese..
It means that there will not be much opportunities for us to work and help our budget in Tokyo.Therefore, it seems that we should go to Oxford.

To be honest,from the very beginning I was leaning more towards Oxford option. But Tokyo uni is still a very attractive option..I want to make a clarification about my possible budget in Tokyo - it is 170K Yen out of which 30K will be deducted for dorm accommodation. So, 140K for everythin else still will not help much to maintain our living?

By the way, why some people think that Tokyo should be choosed if working in Asia is planned as afterwards direction? For working in Japan itself - yes, probably having studied in Tokyo uni would give more advantages. But what about other countries of East?

by tabush rate this post as useful

forgot to add 2008/7/16 01:06
Forgot to mention, that the language of instruction in the program Im accepted into is english. That is why knowledge of japanese is not needed.

By the way, is it possible to learn it well in two years? Well it depends on many things of course, but Im just curious how difficult is this mission..

by tabush rate this post as useful

What does your wife think about it? 2008/7/18 10:24
Have you talked with your wife about your choice?

Problem is not only for you but for your wife too. Your daughtor will have NO problem at all since she will get used to UK or Japan,but I don't think your wife will be super happy to live in Japan if she doesn't understand Japanese at all.
And I think 140000yen in Tokyo is quite tight too, though accomodation is not included.

I am Japanese and my husband thinks about working in abroad(he studies nurcing),
but I suppose I will have hard time if we would move to non-English/Japanese speaking countries.
by Hanna rate this post as useful

from student of UT 2008/7/19 16:19
I'm currently studying at UofT as an international student and I have to say that Japanese universities have a lot of goodies for us. However, they tend to divide what is available for the local students and what is for the foreigners.

I came here having seen on the brochure that only daily conversation level of japanese is required. let me warn you.. don't believe it. u won't get very far with just english. u can write ur report or present ur thesis in Japanese.. but still communicating with your lab members, dealing with whatever government bureau or seeing a doctor, u'll need quite a bit of japanese... else u'll always have to rely on some student volunteer or whosever help.

go to oxford.. i'm guessing u are applying to the agricultural life sciences department right? that's where i'm studying. are u sure u already got accepted? without taking the entrance exam? anyways the exam is not hard but the school isn't very good. oxford will get u much further.

tho i think the british are pretty racist lol
by saxopox rate this post as useful

OK, Ive made a decision.. 2008/7/23 00:33
Hanah and saxopox,

thank you for your comments.
I think I will go to Oxford.

Saxopox,Ive applied for sustainability science master degree in Tokyo uni.

Id like to thank all people participated in that tread once again. I appreaciated your interest and help very much,

Thank you!

by tabush rate this post as useful

reply to your question, tabush 2008/7/23 07:52
You asked how long it would approx. take to learn Japanese, right?

Well, that entirely depends on you. If you go to a language school, then yes, you could learn to speak almost fluent Japanese in 2 years time.

On the other hand, if you don't go to a language school (they don't come cheap you know), then I can't quite tell you how long it'd take you to learn it. That would really depend entirely on yourself.

I've know people at my language school who have been living in japan for some 10 years but who were in the same class as me.
by D rate this post as useful

Oxford 2008/7/24 23:58
I'm Japanese British and the impression I get is that Oxford is much more highly regarded around the world than Tokyo. It is certainly better known out of the two.

Besides, going to Oxford has the added advantage of lessons being taught in English, so, I'm guessing, you won't have a language problem then, like you would if you were to go to Tokyo. In addition, UK is much more multinational and cosmopolitan than Japan, so you'll likely feel more comfortable in UK.
Thinking about the future, English will also be much more useful for your daughter than Japanese.

BTW, 800 in Oxford for a family of 3 will be very tight as well, even without accommodation expenses.

by Living in UK rate this post as useful

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