Foreign Student in a Japanese Graduate School

Good day, everyone!

I will most likely be going to Osaka in April 2018, under a Japanese Government scholarship (MEXT). The scholarship includes a 6-month intensive Nihongo course, so normally people won’t be too worried, but my program is in Japanese, so I was really worried. And my field is on hard sciences (think molecular biology, immunology, etc.), so I doubt I’ll be able to understand scientific papers and journals well enough even after the 6-month course, so what I did is I enrolled to a Japanese class here in my home country. Our course includes Genki chapters 7-12 (which includes the kanji). I tried applying for a university that offered programs taught in English, but my luck ran out.

TLDR: Are there any foreign students here in Japan under the same scholarship? If not the same scholarship, just foreign students studying their courses in Japanese? How was the journey for you, and how did you go by learning?

Side question: Since it’s Osaka–will you get confused (as a foreigner new to Nihongo) with Kansai-ben? :sweat_smile:

Thank you very much for your response!


If someone is speaking directly to you, they’re likely to use standard dialect, unless they’re really old or something. If you’re trying to listen in on a conversation or are being addressed as a group, it might be a little tougher to pick up some things if you haven’t studied Kansai-ben. You can learn the basics pretty quickly though.


Wow, that sounds challenging, but really cool at the same time. I’m hoping to apply for a MEXT scholarship to study Biology next year. Did you get in through an embassy recommendation?

You could try to check out the literature and class material in advance, for some fields the terms stay English anyway. Otherwise maybe you can find a specialized dictionary you can study in parallel.

(The most relevant scientific publications in most fields are in English in any case?)

Are you doing a couple semesters or your entire master’s there? Do you have to write your thesis in Japanese? If so, good luck. I’m a grad student myself and it’s hard enough in English.

I don’t know how it’s for science, but I’m currently doing an internship at a Japanese hospital. I tried to learn medical terms in advance but that helped nearly to nothing. :sweat_smile: I could only study the words which are really used after I got here. I still don’t understand many things. :frowning:


Thank you so much! I’ve heard that some people actually do adjust to you (trying to mask their dialect ^^;;).

Thank you for thinking it’s cool! I got in through an embassy recommendation, yes, but it’s not SUPER final yet, since the official results will be out in December. I passed through everything already though and secured letters of acceptance from my prospective professors, so they say that as long as I turned those in, it’s as good as done. Good luck with your application!! Maybe our fields are similar? Maybe we’d even meet? The possibilities are endless.

Some terms stay english, some are written in katakana, so I always keep on trying to figure things out. ^^;; But yes, thank you! I think it’d be good to invest in a specialized dictionary.

Hello, rhet. Doing entire master’s, yes (hopefully)! My professor says I can turn in coursework in English, but the classes are in a Japanese-English hybrid. What seems to be making things difficult for you, if I may ask?

Ohh. My field is quite clinical, so I guess I’ll have medical terms as well. The environment might be different for an actual hospital (maybe you’re in healthcare?). Still, hang in there!!

What are you going to study? I would like to study animal behavior.

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