I read in an article that around 10% of the foreign students in the world do study in Japan (120,000 in 2005). I think that you agree with me that it is a big number. Being a foreign student in Japan myself, I could give some reasons why I have chosen Japan. But I decided it is better to find out what attracts the many other foreign students to the land of the rising sun. Here is what I discovered.

The big economic growth acquired by Japan after world-war 2 is certainly admired all around the world. Today, Japan is one of the biggest economies in the world and a leading country in the scientific fields. By studying in Japan, students can carry out their studies in an excellent environment knowing that they get their knowledge from the state-of-the-art.

The universities in Japan are well equipped with great research facilities. Also, many universities collaborate with well-known leading companies. This can bring a big amount of motivation and confidence to students. “What you see is what you get” is really reflected in the way the research is done in Japanese universities.

Recently, the number of foreign students in Japan increased remarkably. This can be explained by the fact that Japanese researchers nowadays are well-known internationally. Especially, after the Nobel prize awarding in 2002 to two outstanding Japanese scientist. Mr. Koichi Tanaka received the Nobel prize in chemistry for the development of ionization methods. And, Mr. Masatoshi Koshiba, from the University of Tokyo, was awarded the Nobel prize in physics for the detection of cosmic neutrinos.

One of the frequent questions that my Japanese friends ask me is what surprised me or touched me the most when I first came to Japan. 美國升學  They like to call it the “culture shock”. At the beginning, I could not find the proper answer to their question. Of course there were many small ideas in my head. But, it was difficult, at the time, to express them properly in a coherent way. Myself, I was not sure what did surprise me the most. Do not let the high development of Japan and its big reputation worldwide as the technology heaven mislead you. Do not expect flying cars or human alike robots. The mix between old and new, science and tradition, natural and artificial in Japan is fascinating. Although, very influenced by the western culture in their life-style, the Japanese people could preserve their ancient culture till today. The old and the new coexist in the various life aspects in Japan. Certainly, Japanese prefer to wear business suits at work but the business “etiquette” in Japanese companies is mostly based on their culture. For example, in a meeting, the way people sit around the table is never random. It is based on rules on traditions. Also the way the “salary men” (people who work in companies) exchange business cards follows rules steps. Do not be surprised to see an ancient temple in the middle of a metropolitan center. People who never take photos will feel the need of buying a camera as soon as they arrive to Japan. There are fascinating scenes everywhere you go. Now you know why Japanese tourists carry a camera with them all the time. Foreigners who hear about this diversity are tented by traveling to study in Japan. I was unfamiliar with the one year exchange programs until I came to Japan. Many students like to take a long holiday and come to Japan to study for few months. I know many people who are doing it and they all tell me they chose this program because it is a chance to come and experience this fascinating mix.



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