I am waiting from April 2020 to get into my university as a self-financed student. April intake was postponed because of the corona situation. Then I was able to register for the September intake. However, because of COE delays, I couldn’t get in during the time Japan was open for students. My research is already on hold since I cannot perform the experiments needed for data acquisition. Because of this uncertainty, I now have to consider a Ph.D. topic change even after spending 8 months into my research. I left my previous job in 2019 January thinking I’ll be able to get in by April. Because I don’t know when Japan will start accepting students, I can’t apply for any other job positions either. There is a minimum contract period that I must complete before quitting all most all of the jobs. So my life is on hold since January of 2019. It is not an easy task to keep going [especially mentally] when you are already 30 and you have to depend on your parents for food and a roof over your head. At this point, I am prepared to accept any conditions imposed by the Japanese government if it means that I can start my research. Even something like quarantining in a paid embassy designated quarantine location in my home country before I come to Japan. So, total of one month quarantining is a possible action for me now at this point. That’s how desperate I am at the moment, and I know it would be same for many students who dreamt of studying in Japan. Another long delay will force me to drop my research dream and focus on a different path for the sake of my mental health alone.
What is your education level?
What is your current (or most recent) job?
Placement officer in the Federal Employment Agency
When did you apply to come to Japan originally?
21- Oct – 2020
Why does studying Japanese in Japan mean so much to you?
First of all its full immersion. Not only into the language, into the multifaceted Japanese culture as well. In which I’ve been interested in since the early 1990’s. And to be completely honest it’s a way of getting a lay of the land and find out if Japan is a country of opportunity to start over in for me. Because even though I have a degree from an ExIni-University (German Ivy-League) and am a Polyglot I can’t find a suitable work. My employment at the Federal Employment Agency was actually the perfect work environment for me and my soft skills but even though I reapply and reapply and go on Interviews they just don’t want to rehire me despite my flawless work performance assessments. So studying Japanese in Japan is a gateway for a new life and career in Japan. And it is very much my last chance to do so since I am not that young anymore. It’s not only that I want to learn Japanese and life in Japan, I really need this! I gave up almost all my possessions, I invested all my mother’s and my savings. This endeavour is my whole life!
How do you think that as a student in Japan that you will add benefit to Japan society?
I fear as a mere student the benefit I could add to Japan’s society might be rather meager. I plan to work during school to finance my education and costs of living. That would be the usual economic cycle of earning and spending on a smaller scale for the Japanese economy. Apart from that I can only try to be my best self, adhere to all the rules and absorb the Japanese culture, which would rather benefit me I suppose. The only possible benefit I can see is my plan to teach English or German. But after the language training and if Japan allows it I will try to be as beneficial as I can. I am a very loyal person, especially when someone helped me first. Apart from using my languages skills in the respective industries the alternative would be to become an apprentice in a traditional Japanese craft such as carpentry or wood work or anything else that is slowly dying out since young Japanese rather tend to study and work in an office than work with their hands. So in that case I would keep Japanese tradition alive which should be a benefit to Japan’s society and culture.
What will it mean to you if there is another delay for students to be able to come to Japan?
The delay right now is already an ordeal. Like I partly mentioned before, I have no own apartment anymore and live at my mother’s place which is rather challenging after living on my own for almost 20 years. Plus it is straining nerves and resources. I had to throw away almost everything I owned, all my appliances, furniture and lots of other possessions. I couldn’t sell anything due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its ramifications. I had a 67m² apartment and now I have an 8m² room. Putting all my family’s savings in this is not relevant to this question but it shows how serious I am about this. All this is rather mood dampening already and I feel very very stuck in my situation. I can’t go back because there is nothing to go back to and on the other hand I can’t go forth with my plan to study and work in Japan and eventually create a new life for myself. Let’s say I am not happy at the moment and I don’t even want to imagine what another delay will mean. Again this is my life we are talking about!
I have been studying Japanese for seven years. I spent the last year stuck at University, keeping paying taxes even if I finished all the exams in Winter 2020 just waiting for Japan to open and let me in, since I am trying to write my MA thesis regarding women contemporary literature in Japan.
Studying in Japan has always been part of my dream. I wish to pursue not only studying and becoming fluent in Japanese, but to be able to build a life in Japan. I have visited many times and made many Japanese friends. Each visit has had a profound effect on my life, and I wish to be able to communicate fluently, in order to become a contributing member of Japanese society.