Picking a School

Dec 15 2020

Picking a School

At the University of Alberta, our foreign exchange/study abroad department is University of Alberta International (local), or UAI, and it handles both incoming as well as outgoing students. Specific to going abroad, and my Japan goal in particular, is this list (local), which lists all the options open through UAI.

In terms of faculty-specific courses, I’m not in Engineering, nor Business, nor ALES, nor am I trying to do an internship, so that whittles down the options a lot further. In particular, it whittles off all the Kyoto ones, which is a pity as that would have been a top choice for me to go to over the Tokyo-based universities just because I’m more fascinated by what I know of the culture over there.

I do qualify for the two PTJC – Summer Program ones in Ritsumeikan (which is in Kyoto) though, and in fact I had applied and was successful last year (spring/summer 2020), but they got cancelled. It does not look like they’re running this year either, or I’d have leapt at the chance — the Japanese course there (the one just labelled “Ritsumeikan UniversityUAlbertaPTJC – Summer Program”) is only open to those that have lived in Japan for less than a year, so i probably wouldn’t qualify anymore after my year in Japan, if that ever happens. “Theme Studies in Japan – UAlbertaPTJC – Summer Program” I can, and still might, go on in the future though. But both were just Spring/Summer programs anyway, and not a full year program.

Another side option on that page is the JACAC program, which goes to this page (local). I’ve not actually heard of most of those schools though, besides Ritsumekan again (but they aren’t accepting students through this program either, as of this writing). It looks like I apply through them through my school’s Prince Takamodo Japan Centre (PTJC) program, as per the link on this page (local).

Besides that, the main option I have is to go back to the list page above and look at the schools that I’m interested in that are officially sponsored through UAI. That’s still a good half a dozen schools or so. I’ll take a look at both the UAI options and the PTJC options below. I’d have to apply for them separately though, which gets odd and slightly headache-y if/when I have two separate applications in flight.

There’s also a third option, which is to apply for any random school by myself, and self-finance my way there. I could probably do it, though I think that’s generally more for an entire degree program rather than for just one year/semester. I’d miss out on the various scholarships as well, so I didn’t seriously consider this option, with one exception — this ad that was posted on the wall of the UAlberta‘s Japanese department (last year), which basically goes to their school website (local). It looks interesting enough, but seriously, how would I even begin to apply for something like that. They do also have a summer program though, so I might at least look into that. But it wouldn’t be through the University. But then again, if it wasn’t possible, the ad would never have been posted, right? Kansai Gaidai wasn’t a formal option last year either.

And you know what? It’s sort of strange overall that we have so few partner institutions in Japan. We have all sorts of other events with them — I participated in three online Zoom exchange meetings with students from Gifu University this year, and the Japanese coordinator over there said he grew up in Edmonton. Both my TA for Japan 301 as well as my International Student Buddy assigned by UAI this year also came over from Kansai University in Japan — which is different from Kansai Gaidai University from the above paragraph — but that isn’t an option for us to go to as well. So how are they able to come here?? (Although, after speaking to my student buddy, she warned against going there anyway as it wasn’t a particularly good school, heh. Neither is UAlberta though, if we’re being completely honest here, it’s been gutted by the government so badly that I can find so many things to rip this University apart for, both from my experiences working here and from studying here. But it still has some good points, and I’m sure all these other universities do, too.)

Anyway, my deadline for applying is Jan 27 2021 for Fall 2021/Winter 2022 exchanges, and Mar 01 2021 for Summer 2021 exchanges. One gotcha that adds time is that I’m not just choosing my top preferred school out of the lot here — both the UAI and JACAC applications ask that you send in your top 3 choices rather than just your top choice. And they’ll apply for them on your behalf in that order. So even just having a clear #1 isn’t enough (or shouldn’t be, though I suspect you can probably send in just one or two options too.)

Anyway, anyone who knows me well knows what I’m going to do next to sort out my thoughts — make lists and tables!

Japanese University Options from UAlberta

A few notes about the various columns here. You can click on an entry in the School column (once it’s set up) to zoom to a different blog post where I give more thoughts about the school. (Edit: I decided against this, just go to the combined page instead.) There are other options outside of these as well that I might look at, but while I might look at them, especially for a short-term summer program, I only have so much time to make blogs before I have to make a decision and the built-in potential scholarship money from official partnerships is tempting. In the end, I’m just going to be doing research on the UAI ones, because that’s the main program that my University offers and thus the one I will get the most support from if something were to go belly-up during this pandemic year.

The Ranking column uses THE’s 2020 list of Japan Universities, but it should be taken with a HUGE grain of salt as what everyone looks for is different and every ranking methodology is different. I don’t necessarily trust these, but it can still be a good indicator once a school is too far down the rankings. But Sophia and Waseda, for example, often chart in the top 5 depending on which lists you look at. I’ll probably touch on some individual rankings within the various school pages as well.

The rest should be self-explanatory.

Chiba UniversityChiba (Chiba)23UAI, Full Year
Hokkaido UniversityHokkaido (Sapporo)6UAI, Full Year
International Christian UniversityTokyo (Mitaka)11UAI, Full Year
Meiji UniversityTokyo (Chiyoda)53UAI, Full Year
Shizuoka UniversityShizuoka (Shizuoka)84UAI, Full Year
Sophia UniversityTokyo (Chiyoda)20UAI, Full Year, Spring
Waseda UniversityTokyo (Shinjuku)13UAI, Full Year
Hosei UniversityTokyo (Chiyoda)68JACAC, Full Year
J.F. Oberlin UniversityTokyo (Machida)95JACAC, Full Year
Josai International UniversityChiba (Chiba)201JACAC, Full Year
Kwansei Gakuin UniversityHyogo (Nishinomiya)45JACAC, Full Year
Seinan Gakuin UniversityFukuoka (Fukuoka)101JACAC, Full Year
Tsuda UniversityTokyo (Kodaira)44JACAC, Full Year
Ritsumeikan UniversityKyoto (Kyoto)33JACAC, Full Year, Summer
Kansai Gaidai UniversityOsaka (Hirakata)62Self, Full Year, Summer

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3 years ago

yay, great post!