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Waseda - One Year study abroad program

JayTag12

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I will be applying for the Waseda SILS one year study abroad through my university here in America (which is not a sister-school/partnerschool with Waseda) I studied abroad for one year before in Japan during my high school years and I really want to do study abroad again in college so I thought this program would be the best fit for me. Now I know that Waseda is a highly prestigious school in Japan, so I was wondering what it takes to be accepted into their One year SILS study abroad program? I am fluent in Japanese and I am majoring in Pre-Med/Biology in my university currently. My pre-med requirements will be done by the end of next year so I have 2 years left of general education requirements that I plan on finishing up during my exchange year to Waseda and the following year back at my home school. I was just wondering what it takes to be accepted and if they are extremely picky about who they accept? Thanks for reading!
 

nice gaijin

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I can't speak to how picky they are, but I and at least one other member here went to Waseda's SILS through the CSU program (I was there 06-07). There are several other schools that have such arrangements with SILS, and the experience varies from program to program. As I recall, I had to write a short essay about why I wanted to go, fill out a bunch of paperwork, be interviewed and prove I could financially cover my expenses while I was there. I was up against a group of other applicants at my own school, and there were applicants from almost all the CSU schools to fill the 24 spots in our program, so there was a bit of competition, but it's hard to say what I said or did to get an edge over anyone else, aside from being sincere in my desire to study abroad, my interest in Japanese language and culture, and my eagerness to participate in the program.

Being fluent may make things easier for you while you're there, but それでも日本語の授業を受けることが必要だと思います。There's a placement test and even the fluent students had to take a minimum of high-level Japanese classes. Also, some caveats: unless things have changed (which I doubt very much): you will be restricted to taking classes offered by SILS, regardless of your language abilities, so don't bank on completing half of your GE requirements during your year there. Some credits may transfer as equivalents, but you need to check with your school. You may have to catch up, and even spend more time at your home institution to complete your requirements. Furthermore, Waseda is a prestigious school, but that doesn't really necessitate that the classes you take will be high calibur. Try to find out information about the professors to gauge how serious you'll need to be in their class. I had a few classes that I could call a breeze or just boring, and some that were very engaging and challenging, it all depends on the teacher. A lot of students treat their year abroad as a vacation, and in my program, our grades were actually bumped an entire letter grade when they were transferred back home, so there wasn't a whole lot of incentive to apply ourselves (I did anyways, for what it's worth).

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any specific questions
 

JayTag12

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I can't speak to how picky they are, but I and at least one other member here went to Waseda's SILS through the CSU program (I was there 06-07). There are several other schools that have such arrangements with SILS, and the experience varies from program to program. As I recall, I had to write a short essay about why I wanted to go, fill out a bunch of paperwork, be interviewed and prove I could financially cover my expenses while I was there. I was up against a group of other applicants at my own school, and there were applicants from almost all the CSU schools to fill the 24 spots in our program, so there was a bit of competition, but it's hard to say what I said or did to get an edge over anyone else, aside from being sincere in my desire to study abroad, my interest in Japanese language and culture, and my eagerness to participate in the program.

Being fluent may make things easier for you while you're there, but それでも日本語の授業を受けることが必要だと思います。There's a placement test and even the fluent students had to take a minimum of high-level Japanese classes. Also, some caveats: unless things have changed (which I doubt very much): you will be restricted to taking classes offered by SILS, regardless of your language abilities, so don't bank on completing half of your GE requirements during your year there. Some credits may transfer as equivalents, but you need to check with your school. You may have to catch up, and even spend more time at your home institution to complete your requirements. Furthermore, Waseda is a prestigious school, but that doesn't really necessitate that the classes you take will be high calibur. Try to find out information about the professors to gauge how serious you'll need to be in their class. I had a few classes that I could call a breeze or just boring, and some that were very engaging and challenging, it all depends on the teacher. A lot of students treat their year abroad as a vacation, and in my program, our grades were actually bumped an entire letter grade when they were transferred back home, so there wasn't a whole lot of incentive to apply ourselves (I did anyways, for what it's worth).

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any specific questions
Thank you so much for the information! What exactly is the CSU program? For my university, they asked me to just directly enroll since there are no partnerships with the school. As of last week, I was the first person to ever bring up Waseda to anyone at the school. My study abroad advisor said id be the first one going to Waseda as a study abroad - if I get accepted.

I hope the classes are a breeze compared to my organic chemistry and biochemistry classes lol. Thanks again for the information!
 

nice gaijin

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CSU is California State University; the partnership is between Waseda and CSU, rather than an individual school, so students from all campuses are able to enroll and vie for a position in the program. I'm afraid I don't know what's involved in enrolling individually, or how the screening process works. I put out feelers on Facebook, maybe some of my college friends can help.

What school are you currently attending, if you don't mind my asking. What got you interested in Waseda?
 

nice gaijin

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seems like my friends were all on existing exchange programs, but they say there were many "independent students" that came on their own. The only independent students I knew were actually pursuing their degrees at Waseda, though. I'll see if my old resident adviser knows anything
 

JayTag12

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seems like my friends were all on existing exchange programs, but they say there were many "independent students" that came on their own. The only independent students I knew were actually pursuing their degrees at Waseda, though. I'll see if my old resident adviser knows anything
I see! Thanks for the info! & I also go to CSU (Cleveland State University). As to why I'm interested in Waseda, I've got offers from Harvard and other ivy leagues for grad school so just to really make sure I get into those Ivy League schools for grad I think it'll look good if I do a study abroad to a prestigious university - like Waseda. Also, if possible, I think finding science research opportunies would be the easiest to find at a school like Waseda that's situated in Tokyo. And of course the obvious reason as to why I really want to study abroad at Waseda, not only does it seem like a perfect fit, but also I love Japan and the Japanese culture and I feel like this may be one of my last chances to experience something fun like living in a foreign country again(like I did in high school) while I'm young because after Medical School, there is no time to be young and free because of the amount of work and responbility that comes with being a doctor. Also, I do believe that future doctors are the ones who really should be seeing the world and learning new cultures and languages because that will broaden their horizons and further expand the amount of people that they will be able to treat.
 

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Haha, different CSU! I don't know if it's your school, but isn't there a pretty prestigious cardiology clinic in Cleveland?

OK, just be aware that because of the limitations of the SILS program, your studies and opportunities will probably not overlap with your major interests (and like I said, you may even have trouble finding courses that satisfy your GE requirements, so it's important to check out their curriculum and talk to a counselor at your school for a comparison). Think of it as a bit of an academic vacation of sorts... Unless you're trying to go just to scope out research opportunities in your free time, you may get lucky and make friends with students with similar academic interests but it's unlike that Waseda will facilitate that. I've often remarked how unfortunately ironic it is that they pride themselves on their international program, and even built a huge new building for SILS in the center of campus, but academically people within the program are isolated from other areas of study, and aren't allowed to take courses offered by other departments (though this may just be the norm in Japanese universities).

Also, I hate to say it, but Waseda is a really impressive name... to Japanese people... but most westerners I have talked to have never heard of it. That doesn't really diminish its prestige or anything, just an interesting observation. To be fair, it seems like most Americans would have a hard time naming just about ANY college outside the US that doesn't include its location in the name...
 

JayTag12

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Thanks again for the insight !
Haha different indeed! & that is correct, The Cleveland Clinic is one, if not the best, hospital in the world when it comes to cardiology.

Hm I see, seeming that I will be getting my requirements done for pre-med before I leave for Japan and having enough time back home after the exchange to complete any gen-eds that I don't get done in Japan, it seems as though it is a perfect fit. As for the research, I'm not going to stress about it at all, because like you said it will kind of be like a "academic vacation".

Hm I see your point on Americans not knowing the names of any universities outside of the US. But, my worries aren't on the average American, but rather the admissions offices at prestigious grad schools in America, I'm sure they've heard of these universities that are located outside of the U.S., and like I said, I think going to Waseda's SILS study abroad program is much more prestigious and better looking on a resume rather than going to a regular old language school. And I guess living in Tokyo for a year won't be quite as bad :). Lol jk. I truly love Japan, and I'm dead set on this program. Do you know of any other schools in Tokyo that have this kind of program? I'm thinking I should be applying to 3 colleges just incase I don't get accepted into the SILS study abroad program.

I actually did have a question about housing as well, I have two other close friends who will also apply to Waseda as well and were looking to rent an apartment out for the duration of the study abroad experience. As for housing, what do you suggest?

Thanks again for all your help! It means a lot.
Haha, different CSU! I don't know if it's your school, but isn't there a pretty prestigious cardiology clinic in Cleveland?

OK, just be aware that because of the limitations of the SILS program, your studies and opportunities will probably not overlap with your major interests (and like I said, you may even have trouble finding courses that satisfy your GE requirements, so it's important to check out their curriculum and talk to a counselor at your school for a comparison). Think of it as a bit of an academic vacation of sorts... Unless you're trying to go just to scope out research opportunities in your free time, you may get lucky and make friends with students with similar academic interests but it's unlike that Waseda will facilitate that. I've often remarked how unfortunately ironic it is that they pride themselves on their international program, and even built a huge new building for SILS in the center of campus, but academically people within the program are isolated from other areas of study, and aren't allowed to take courses offered by other departments (though this may just be the norm in Japanese universities).

Also, I hate to say it, but Waseda is a really impressive name... to Japanese people... but most westerners I have talked to have never heard of it. That doesn't really diminish its prestige or anything, just an interesting observation. To be fair, it seems like most Americans would have a hard time naming just about ANY college outside the US that doesn't include its location in the name...
 
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Make sure that any credits you earn at Waseda will transfer, or you will find yourself repeating a year back home.

Being fluent in Japanese is a huge plus (and I assume you mean speaking, reading, and writing fluency), and you had a year of Japanese HS, but uni is a bit different than HS. There will be a lot of sleeping students in class, boring lectures, and perhaps only 1 exam to determine your entire grade. Maybe a report or two. Not exactly a thrilling or enlightening way to study any subject IMO. Can't say how the labs are, other than busy, and from what I gather from my own students, labs can go overtime easily and regularly, unlike what I experienced in science labs back in the US. Also, students here seem to have 10-15 courses per week. That's courses, not mere classes, so their schedules are very packed (probably explaining in part why they sleep in class a lot).
 
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