Toyo University is one of the top universities in Japan for international students. Founded in 1887, Toyo University currently has over 30,000 students attending classes on several campuses in Tokyo. Starting from 2017, Toyo University has been welcoming international students to attend newly established programs entirely taught in English. Not only that international students can receive a high-quality education in Japan without the language barriers, but they also enjoy various perks such as fully-funded scholarships that cover full tuition fees and additional monthly payments of 150,000 yen to cover living expenses for four years. Interested? Let’s learn more about the departments that provide English-taught courses with scholarships below!

Department of Global Innovation Studies (GINOS)

Department of Global Innovation Studies offers courses spanning different areas of study such as Economics, Business Administration, International Relations, Political science, Culture, and Communication Studies, with all classes conducted in English. The department accepts 100 students per year, with full scholarships available to 30 first-year international students each year. 

Department of Regional Development Studies (RDS) 

Department of Regional Development Studies offers courses focused on International Relations, Regional Research, and Development Research. The classes are conducted both in Japanese and English. The department accepts 210 students per year, with full scholarships available to 10 first-year international students each year.

Department of Information Networking for Innovation and Design (INIAD)

Department of Information Networking for Innovation and Design offers a wide variety of courses that cover Computer Science, Engineering, and Engineering and Economics related to design and infrastructure. The classes provided by INIAD are conducted in Japanese and English. It is a relatively large department, accepting up to 400 students per year, with full scholarships available to 20 first-year international students each year. 

This time, I had a great opportunity to talk with Trinh, an aspiring social entrepreneur who is also a student in the Department of Global Innovation Studies at Toyo University. Originally from Vietnam, Trinh came to Tokyo in Spring 2017. She will soon start her senior year at Toyo University this April. Her passion for innovation inspired her to start working part-time at Rakuten Blockchain Lab, which develops new blockchain-based businesses for Rakuten, a major IT firm in Japan. When she has some time left from her busy schedules, she usually reads, plays sports and watches some interesting debates on Youtube. 

Trinh is also strongly interested in startups and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of Global Leadership Incubator, an organization with a mission of empowering young leaders to take on new challenges. Let’s hear her story and find out what she thinks of her life in Japan so far.

First of all, why Japan?

Japan was never on my plan. I knew nothing about Japan apart from cartoons like Doraemon and automobile companies like Honda. When I was in high school, my English was really bad, so I never thought I would go anywhere outside Vietnam for college. Luckily, I got a chance to participate in leadership conferences around the world, and I realized that there was so much more that I had to learn. I decided I would take on a challenge to study abroad. At that time, I didn’t really think about coming to Japan. However, I saw an advertisement mentioning Toyo University’s scholarship on Facebook. I was surprised by how generous the scholarship was, and also how easy it was to apply compared to those in other countries. I decided to apply to Toyo University, and somehow I got in!

Among the three departments that you could choose from, why Global Innovation?

I chose Global Innovation because I wanted to learn things based on a global perspective. Compared to the Department of Regional Development Studies, which focuses more on the regional scale. 

Now that you have been studying in Japan for three years, are things different from what you expected?

Definitely. However, because I did not plan to come to Japan. I only had around 2-3 months to prepare myself when the results came out. I didn’t really have time to expect anything. After I came here, I realized that Japan is pretty unique in the sense that it is less globalized than other environments that I have experienced. Somehow, I can feel that Japan is trying to reach out to the world, but at the same time, it is necessary to understand some certain aspects of the Japanese culture that might be very different from what I am accustomed to.

What is it like being the first generation of GINOS?

Because we’re the first batch, most of the classes are quite easy, with Japanese classes being among the most challenging ones. At the same time, because it’s new, there’s room for improvements. By learning and improving from the first batch, the school can adapt to satisfy the needs of the following generations better. As a student in the first generation, we enjoy some advantages such as easier classes. We could also voice out our opinions on what we wanted to change and how the department could be improved.

How diverse are the students in your department? 

In the first batch, students were mostly from South East Asia. There were some from North America, Central Asia, and Europe. In GINOS, the ratio of Japanese to international students is kept at 70:30. All of the international students in my generation receive full scholarships to attend Toyo.

What do you enjoy the most about living in Japan?

There are so many things I enjoy! If I have to choose one, I would say that I enjoy hanging out with friends from different countries. When you are living abroad, you tend to become more open to new opportunities. I got to know lots of interesting people and I feel like I’m making the most out of my time here. Also, because the classes are relatively easy, I have lots of time to explore my interests. I think being able to do that, instead of being confined in the classroom, is really important for my personal growth. The professors are also really nice. We’re like a big family. I spend a lot of time with them and talk to them during office hours. The time I spend with them is really enjoyable, and I appreciate that. 

What kind of people would you recommend coming to GINOS?

People who are open-minded and are ready to take on new challenges. At GINOS, students are provided with knowledge of global issues and how to utilize innovations to solve those problems. Therefore, I think that open-minded people who are willing to take on challenges to change the world for the better would be ideal candidates for GINOS. I would also recommend people who have clear directions of what they want to achieve in the future because the program that GINOS offers is really broad. You might easily get lost or feel overwhelmed if you cannot figure out what you really want to do in the future. 

Want to learn more about Toyo University? Check out this page for more details! If you’re still not sure, take a look at our articles on Sophia, Waseda, and Keio. Up next in No Japanese, No Problem is the Asia Pacific University. Stay tuned!