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Are Design Colleges Worth It?+Advice on student life

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Hi guys~ I've been really interested in attending design colleges in Japan. Mainly looking at HAL and Tokyo Design Gakuin college. I want to go for their illustration or game designing courses but am unsure whether they are good(methods of teaching, etc) . Plus I'm curious about what life is like for foreigners. Is anyone able to give me advice in general?

Also, does anyone know how easy it is to get a job as an illustrator/ artist for game in Japan? I've read that HAL is supported by big name companies like Nintendo and that TDG supports graduates in finding jobs but I currently have doubts since making a living off these type of jobs are difficult to begin with.

Thanks in advance! ^_^
 

Mike Cash

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TDG 就職先一覧

I don't think graduating a 専門学校 is going to qualify you for a working visa afterwards. If your goal is to live and work in Japan then the first thing you need to investigate is visa eligibility requirements.
 
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TDG 就職先一覧

I don't think graduating a 専門学校 is going to qualify you for a working visa afterwards. If your goal is to live and work in Japan then the first thing you need to investigate is visa eligibility requirements.
I'm still uncertain as to whether I would want to work in Japan in the future since coming back to my country is also a possibility I'm considering. I remember working visas in Japan aren't easy to come by, they said on the website ''Activities for the arts that provide income'' (I suppose illustration comes under this?) Do you know whether I could start looking for employment even before I graduate? So that I could try to apply for the work visa immediately. Or is this too unrealistic (hehe I barely know anything about college stuffs)

EDIT: Correct me if I'm wrong but that link is to the list of companies that students can try to apply to graduation right? I can't really read most of the kanji yet.
 
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Are the courses taught in English?
Nope. But I'm currently taking Japanese language courses. My plan would be to learn till JLPT N5 knowledge and stop, since I have important exams coming soon. And if I do indeed decide that I would go to the college, I'll then continue learning up to N2/1 level.
 

Mike Cash

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Nope. But I'm currently taking Japanese language courses. My plan would be to learn till JLPT N5 knowledge and stop, since I have important exams coming soon. And if I do indeed decide that I would go to the college, I'll then continue learning up to N2/1 level.
Then that's going to be a few years from now, most likely. Why not just go to college instead of vocational school?
 
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Then that's going to be a few years from now, most likely. Why not just go to college instead of vocational school?
I'm not particularly keen on the colleges/ academic schools there. I can't confirm whether the information I have is true since all are web based, but I've heard that it's basically a rather slack life where students don't pay attention to classes/ skip them and that the teachers simply read from the textbooks(leading to my worry about whether the two schools mentioned were similar). Plus, I've sorta decided what I want to do in the future so I'd rather take the choice of vocational school than a college.
Also, I feel uncomfortable revealing plans for now but I will most likely have half a year entirely free to study Japanese(literally, every single day), so I could catch up then.
 

Mike Cash

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You're not likely to get to N2 or N1 in a half year. It is possible, I suppose, but I wouldn't count on it enough to make it part of a plan.

Why not go to a college where you are or one in a country where you have more respect for the quality of the schools? In your first post you ask about getting a job in Japan, but if that is part of your plan then you need to know that a vocational school education will not make you eligible to live here after you graduate; you'll have to leave. If you want to live here, you're going to need a regular college degree; that's a requirement from the immigration authorities.

The education quality at Japanese vocational schools varies from very very good to very very bad....and like anything else in life you'll not get out of it more than you put into it. My son is attending a three-year school for game programming, has acquired several professional certifications, and has very good job prospects in his field. His friend took the two-year game programming course at the same school, graduated, and has been hired to work at an izakaya (bar-and-grill type place) because he just didn't put in the work to develop his skills or get certified well enough to get a programming job. Taking a job entirely unrelated to one's educational background is not at all unusual in Japan.

The quality of advice we're going to be able to give you is going to depend on how willing you are to be specific about your situation and plans. If you insist on being secretive, then you limit what others can do for you.
 
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You're not likely to get to N2 or N1 in a half year. It is possible, I suppose, but I wouldn't count on it enough to make it part of a plan.

Why not go to a college where you are or one in a country where you have more respect for the quality of the schools? In your first post you ask about getting a job in Japan, but if that is part of your plan then you need to know that a vocational school education will not make you eligible to live here after you graduate; you'll have to leave. If you want to live here, you're going to need a regular college degree; that's a requirement from the immigration authorities.

The education quality at Japanese vocational schools varies from very very good to very very bad....and like anything else in life you'll not get out of it more than you put into it. My son is attending a three-year school for game programming, has acquired several professional certifications, and has very good job prospects in his field. His friend took the two-year game programming course at the same school, graduated, and has been hired to work at an izakaya (bar-and-grill type place) because he just didn't put in the work to develop his skills or get certified well enough to get a programming job. Taking a job entirely unrelated to one's educational background is not at all unusual in Japan.

The quality of advice we're going to be able to give you is going to depend on how willing you are to be specific about your situation and plans. If you insist on being secretive, then you limit what others can do for you.
W
You're not likely to get to N2 or N1 in a half year. It is possible, I suppose, but I wouldn't count on it enough to make it part of a plan.

Why not go to a college where you are or one in a country where you have more respect for the quality of the schools? In your first post you ask about getting a job in Japan, but if that is part of your plan then you need to know that a vocational school education will not make you eligible to live here after you graduate; you'll have to leave. If you want to live here, you're going to need a regular college degree; that's a requirement from the immigration authorities.

The education quality at Japanese vocational schools varies from very very good to very very bad....and like anything else in life you'll not get out of it more than you put into it. My son is attending a three-year school for game programming, has acquired several professional certifications, and has very good job prospects in his field. His friend took the two-year game programming course at the same school, graduated, and has been hired to work at an izakaya (bar-and-grill type place) because he just didn't put in the work to develop his skills or get certified well enough to get a programming job. Taking a job entirely unrelated to one's educational background is not at all unusual in Japan.

The quality of advice we're going to be able to give you is going to depend on how willing you are to be specific about your situation and plans. If you insist on being secretive, then you limit what others can do for you.
I looked back on the post and I might not have made myself very clear. I'm currently in secondary level education.
I've not fully decided yet but as for college, my parents are planning on sending me to another place for a 6 month course. I have no qualms about this since my sibling's done the same thing, except unlike me, he continues university education afterwards. After that course, I have the rest of the year free to decide what to do with my life, which I plan to study Japanese, either at a local center or at a language school in Japan. Once I've reached N2/1 I then plan to go to a vocational school there. If everything's successful and let's say I complete and graduate from vocational school (or before graduation if possible), I'll start finding companies that are recruiting/come back to my home country instead and work. So the main problem here is more of whether the teaching methods of the vocational schools are good (as in, they teach you the necessary skills to go out and work, ensure that students are on par and doing well, of course hard work is a factor of whether the student is doing well or not but the teachers have a part to play in this as well) and the chances of a foreigner finding a job there. I'll be going to Tokyo with my family sometime during this year so maybe I could visit the schools then, until then I'm still unsure. So the priority is job hunting chances I guess.

(From this point on is babbling about why I don't look at other design schools from other countries, feel free to ignore)
I'm pretty fixed on going to Japan for the vocational school for I love their culture and would like to experience life there at least once. Plus, I prefer to stick with my original art style(aiming for illustration/game designing course in case you've forgotten), which is basically the anime type. And where else has a big market for anime other than Japan? Job-wise and the amount of companies there are for an anime style illustrator/artist , Japan is top.

Thanks for stating about the slack life topic though, I happen to come across a forum saying that one can graduate and get a job even without hard work, which gave me the impression that the standard of colleges there weren't good.
 

Mike Cash

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You still.sound like you're talking about the possibility of working in Japan after graduating a vocational school here. Is that correct?

I've said it twice already but I'm afraid you may be missing what is a very important point: You will NOT be eligible for a visa to live/work here with that education. You will need a bachelors degree.

You can also study art/design at a university which will give an education that will both make you more employable AND make you eligible for a visa.

By the time you reach N2/N1 Japanese skills, you will be able to search Japanese web pages for impressions and reviews regarding various schools.

If you're worried about the quality of Japanese universities you should be even more worried about the quality of Japanese vocational schools instead of assuming that they are educationally better than universities, which is the impression I get from you.

At any rate, if you insist on a vocational school, make sure the skills make you employable some other place where you are eligible to live, because your educational choice will PREVENT you from working in Japan. Are we clear on that point? It's the most important point in the whole thread.
 
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No matter where you end up, a degree from a university will open more doors for you than a certification from a vocational school.

Also, no matter where you go for an education there will be some great teachers and poor ones but 100% of the responsibility for learning is on the student. Some classes will be a slog through mud and others will be like skating across an icy pond but at the end of the day it's about whether you did the work to acquire the knowledge.

Quality of education depends far more on the student than the school.
 
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You still.sound like you're talking about the possibility of working in Japan after graduating a vocational school here. Is that correct?

I've said it twice already but I'm afraid you may be missing what is a very important point: You will NOT be eligible for a visa to live/work here with that education. You will need a bachelors degree.

You can also study art/design at a university which will give an education that will both make you more employable AND make you eligible for a visa.

By the time you reach N2/N1 Japanese skills, you will be able to search Japanese web pages for impressions and reviews regarding various schools.

If you're worried about the quality of Japanese universities you should be even more worried about the quality of Japanese vocational schools instead of assuming that they are educationally better than universities, which is the impression I get from you.

At any rate, if you insist on a vocational school, make sure the skills make you employable some other place where you are eligible to live, because your educational choice will PREVENT you from working in Japan. Are we clear on that point? It's the most important point in the whole thread.
May I ask where you're getting info for the visa from? I have a feeling I'm using an outdated website. They haven't stated anything about the degree here. Also, regarding universities, I have considered them before the vocational ones but I didn't dive that deep in since what I saw was that their courses are more of fine arts. Aside from these two, I have indeed considered Kyoto Seika University. I'll try finding some more universities that offer these courses for now. Thanks for the suggestion, I've been quite focused on those two schools that I haven't been looking up much else. Might have just locked up my choices altogether there.
 
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No matter where you end up, a degree from a university will open more doors for you than a certification from a vocational school.

Also, no matter where you go for an education there will be some great teachers and poor ones but 100% of the responsibility for learning is on the student. Some classes will be a slog through mud and others will be like skating across an icy pond but at the end of the day it's about whether you did the work to acquire the knowledge.

Quality of education depends far more on the student than the school.
I know that it really depends on the student. But this worry of whether the teachers are okay or not come mainly from what I experienced. I previously had a teacher who taught us straight from the textbook. By that, I mean that she would not accept any answer that was phrased differently from the answer book, even if we got the correct keywords and concepts.(which then led to the class barely passing their tests). Plus, she still refuses to give marks when we ask again despite our answers being correct. I know not all teachers are like this but I've simply had worries ever since then.
 

Mike Cash

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May I ask where you're getting info for the visa from? I have a feeling I'm using an outdated website. They haven't stated anything about the degree here./QUOTE]

What website are you using?

You can easily check requirements for yourself on the official Japanese government Immigration site. Research important stuff like this for yourself; don't let important decisions impacting your future hinge on what some stranger on an Internet forum told you.
 
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I know that it really depends on the student. But this worry of whether the teachers are okay or not come mainly from what I experienced. I previously had a teacher who taught us straight from the textbook. By that, I mean that she would not accept any answer that was phrased differently from the answer book, even if we got the correct keywords and concepts.(which then led to the class barely passing their tests). Plus, she still refuses to give marks when we ask again despite our answers being correct. I know not all teachers are like this but I've simply had worries ever since then.
As I said, wherever you go there will be good teachers and bad ones.
 
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I've been using the mofa.jp one, aka ministry of foreign affairs website. So i presume that I didn't look in the correct section of the visa page?
 

Mike Cash

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I've been using the mofa.jp one, aka ministry of foreign affairs website. So i presume that I didn't look in the correct section of the visa page?
What specifically did it say? Can you share a link?
 

Mike Cash

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Some information here from some lawyers (in the table)
JAPAN : visa, immigration, working visa, spouse visa
Basically, a degree or three to ten years (depending on category) "relevant experience".

If it seems like the rules are vague, that's because in places they are, and not for your benefit. Immigration are not your friends, in Japan or anywhere else. They are there to keep you out, not help you in.
 
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Some information here from some lawyers (in the table)
JAPAN : visa, immigration, working visa, spouse visa
Basically, a degree or three to ten years (depending on category) "relevant experience".

If it seems like the rules are vague, that's because in places they are, and not for your benefit. Immigration are not your friends, in Japan or anywhere else. They are there to keep you out, not help you in.
So the experience part is more of a hidden requirement, hence they're vague about it. Am I right to say this?
 
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It's more the vagueness in what is "relevant experience", and how much of it they accept you as having. Especially for something like the artist visa, where people might have been freelancing part time, had exhibitions or private commissions, etc., while paying their bills with another job. A degree, on the other hand, is an easy tick in the right box.

Two years vocational training, no degree, and no work experience = no visa, even if you get a job offer. Get a degree = much easier to get a visa. No degree, enough of the right experience = consult an immigration lawyer.
 
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It's more the vagueness in what is "relevant experience", and how much of it they accept you as having. Especially for something like the artist visa, where people might have been freelancing part time, had exhibitions or private commissions, etc., while paying their bills with another job. A degree, on the other hand, is an easy tick in the right box.

Two years vocational training, no degree, and no work experience = no visa, even if you get a job offer. Get a degree = much easier to get a visa. No degree, enough of the right experience = consult an immigration lawyer.
Sorry for the late reply. So the main point is that a getting a degree is much easier for obtaining a visa? Thanks for helping me out. I'll take some time and reconsider some of my options.
 
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