Dinesh Kumar Goel, an MTech student of polymer engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, shares his experience of studying in Japan for seven years.
Tell us about yourself.
I am from Delhi and I pursued BSc (hons) chemistry from Delhi University. I also did a part-time Japanese language course at MOSAI for which the classes were organised at the Japan Culture and Information Centre. The idea of doing so was to get an additional qualification along with my major to help me in my career. During this time, I came to know about scholarships for undergraduate courses sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. I felt it was a great opportunity as it could allow me to study my major abroad. I cleared the exam and interview that followed and was selected for a four-year programme at College of Technology, Japan. After considering the benefits of studying in a Japanese university, I decided to drop out of my undergraduate degree course in India and came to Japan in 2006.
After completing my associate degree course in March 2010, I got transferred to the third year of my bachelor’s degree course in polymer engineering at theTokyo Institute of Technology, where I got MEXT to extend the scholarship period by two years on the basis of grades secured during the previous four years. I finished my BTech in March 2012 and it also marked the completion of my scholarship programme sponsored by MEXT- Japan.
Currently, I am pursuing the MTech degree course in polymer engineering in the same university. I will be completing the same in March 2014. I will start working in Kaneka Corporation, Japan, from April 2014. Getting a world-class education and having a truly global experience has been amazing.
Elaborate on the visa application process. Did you face any problem?
Being a MEXT scholar, I did not face any problems in getting the visa approved. The embassy already had a list of the students, and since we were going to be supported by the Japanese government, the process was very smooth.
How much was the tuition fee and what was the average cost of living?
The total fee, including tuition fee, admission fee and application fee for an undergraduate course at my university is 834,800 JPY per year approximately. For the master’s course, it is slightly higher. In other national universities, the fee structure is almost the same. For private universities, the tuition fee is more expensive. As for the cost of living, I believe about 80,000-100,000 JPY should suffice. You can earn more than 50,000 JPY by working on weekends.
How did you balance your studies with other activities? Did you work/intern part-time?
I did some part-time jobs (service industry, cultural teaching in schools and translation jobs) but the main source of my living cost has been the scholarship amount, so, fortunately, I had some free time as well.
During my stay in Japan, I could devote some time for volunteer work and extra-curricular activities. I got a chance to serve as the president of Tokyo Institute of Technology International Students Association which represents more than 1000 foreign students in our university.