It’s a common misconception that scholarships for students planning on studying abroad in Japan only for a short period of time are few and far between. Fortunately, this is not the case for short-term international exchange students who, for the most part, will be introduced to one particularly well-known short-term scholarship by their home universities during the application process to the host school of their choosing. In fact, it’s virtually impossible to discuss scholarships without bringing up this specific one exclusively meant for those pursuing short-term study in Japan, which happens to be the most recognizable one of them all: JASSO.
What is JASSO?
First, let’s run through what JASSO exactly is. JASSO offers a variety of different forms of funding. Its stipend for short-term exchange students, however, is one of, if not, the most popular scholarships it gives out. According to the JASSO scholarship’s official web page, the Japan America Student Services Organization, or JASSO, provides a number of chosen international students who have been “accepted by a Japanese university, graduate school, junior college, college of technology (3rd grade or upper) or professional training college… under a student exchange agreement or other student exchange arrangement on a short-term basis from 8 days to one year between Japanese school and their home higher educational institution outside Japan” with a consistent monetary allowance.
To check for more universities JASSO can be applied to, click the link below: https://www.jasso.go.jp/en/study_j/scholarships/short_term.html
Of course, it should be mentioned that all JASSO recipients receive a generous monthly stipend of JPY 80,000. An additional upside when it comes to obtaining this much sought after a reward is that the application process is not what one would expect it to be, in a good way. While the vast majority of scholarships often involve writing lengthy essays and gathering multiple letters of recommendations, from my experience, applying for the JASSO is relatively simple and just as easy as checking a box, in a literal sense. As a current JASSO recipient, my process of applying for the scholarship was precisely that. During my initial application to Waseda University for its year-long international exchange program, my academic advisors told me that to be considered for JASSO, all I had to do is check a box to confirm that I want to include in the application pool for it. Following that, the Japanese host university, which, in my case, was Waseda University, goes on to forward the application, which then goes under review, and final nominations are made.
How To Receive JASSO
Several conditions are to be met in order to be granted JASSO. On the JASSO website, it’s stated that recipients should be “enrolled in a regular course of study in a higher education institution outside Japan, accepted by a Japanese school under a student exchange agreement or other student exchange arrangement with their home school, as mentioned earlier, and demonstrate excellent academic and personal records at their home school. Furthermore, “students not having the financial means to study in Japan” are prioritized. It should also be made clear that “students, upon termination of the period of study in Japan, will complete their studies at their home school, students [must be] eligible for ‘Student Visa’, and if students receive other scholarships together with this scholarship for the study in Japan, the total amount of monthly stipend of other scholarships should not exceed the amount of the scholarship, which is JPY 80,000 per month.” Lastly, “students cannot receive any other scholarship from the Japanese government or JASSO together with this scholarship.”
Before the start date of one’s exchange, qualified nominees are notified of their status. Only those who are nominated will receive a status update. For instance, if one is set to start their exchange in September, then acceptance notice is likely to arrive around July. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that both the recruiting of JASSO recipients and their selection varies from school to school. Most importantly, all decisions are finalized by schools within Japan. Home universities are given full permission to help students begin the application process, but all screening activities are done by Japanese institutions.
It’s important to note that there are a few outliers in the distribution of the scholarship. My host university originally had its usual set of incoming exchange students begin receiving their monthly stipend at the start of the semester in September of last year. At this time, I was not included in this cohort of scholarship recipients. However, additional JASSO scholarships were distributed in December 2018. During this time, I was informed that I, along with a handful of other exchange students, were selected to receive monthly JASSO stipends beginning from the start of 2019 until the end of our stay as international students in Japan, in August 2019. Therefore, special circumstances, such as mine, are indeed possible.
For short-term international exchange students, JASSO is a fantastic scholarship that could aid in greatly enriching one’s experience attending school in Japan that one should most definitely not pass up the chance to receive. Of course, in order to reap its benefits and invest in furthering one’s academic career, the only option is to take the first step and apply for JASSO during your application to your Japanese host school.