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MEXT Scholarship (Research/Graduate students) 2019

paria

Kouhai
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Hi Montse,

I submitted my application on May 18 and the deadline at my consulate is June 7. My consulate (Boston) offered to pre-review any applications that were handed in early so we could get a chance to correct any mistakes. Luckily I didn't have any, and they let me know quite early (May 29) that I was invited to take the tests/interview! It was a really quick turnaround. From what I understand, at least in the US, applicants are notified either on the day of or the day after the deadline. Hope this helps, and good luck!
Hi Sheermule,

Could you tell us about your written exam and interview?
How difficult are they?

Thank you in advance!
 

Sheermule

Kouhai
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Hi Sheermule,

Could you tell us about your written exam and interview?
How difficult are they?

Thank you in advance!
This year there were only four applicants that made it to the test/interview stage including myself. All the other applicants were really cool and gifted and I wish them all the best! I was the only STEM applicant out of the four of us, while the other three were in fine art/art history.

The Japanese language test was...very difficult. I'm fairly certain I passed the elementary section, the intermediate section is a toss-up, and the advanced section I literally guessed on everything! Interestingly enough, the reading comprehension portion for the advanced section was easier than the reading portion for the intermediate section, but I ran out of time and ended up guessing on basically everything in the advanced section.

The English test was easy-peasy (if you're a native speaker), though you could tell the test was clearly not designed by a native speaker. There were some questions to test your grammar that included phrases that nobody would ever say or write. I think we all finished the English test before the limit.

We were told our tests would be graded during lunch and they would let us know by email whether or not we would get an interview. All of us ended up getting interviews (yay!), and I was up first.

The interview panel consisted of the MEXT Scholarship Coordinator, a Japanese man (I assume is high up in the consulate, but I wasn't told what his position is), and what I assume to be a science expert. I think I really lucked out this year because I think the interview was very fair. After talking with the other applicants, we agreed that the interview did not seem nearly as severe as other people had experienced. I did not have anyone try to discredit my research, or try to trip me up. The science expert posed the most difficult questions (although none of them pertained specifically to my research proposal). He clearly understood my research proposal and mentioned that it seemed like I wanted to run my own lab in Japan. He said that in this scholarship I would not necessarily be able to perform my research, but that I would most likely join a professor's lab and work on whatever he is working on. I answered saying that I understand that that's how it would most likely work, and that even if I would not be able to work on my proposal, the important thing is that I would be working with a professor that is an expert in the field, and that I would be able to learn all the skills, techniques, and etc. to perform my own research some day.

All of the other questions were some of the typical questions you would expect from this sort of interview. I think I was able all the questions well. I'm surprised that they didn't ask me to speak Japanese during the interview. Actually, none of the other applicants had to speak Japanese in their interviews. That really surprised me because in their fields, most classes are taught in Japanese. I'm lucky because there are STEM programs in English in Japan. They did ask me how I learned Japanese, and I think they were very impressed that I had reached the level that I had by studying on my own.

After the interview I was told that I would likely know the results of the interview in a few weeks. I guess starting last year the system changed a bit, and the consulate needs to hear back from DC and Tokyo before they tell us the results of the interview or something like that. I didn't fully understand, but the next day I received an email saying we could expect results by early July (so hopefully by the end of next week!).

Hope this helps, and good luck to everyone!
 

omegaluuul

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Hi Sheermule,

It depends on the professor and the university, but over the next few weeks, many should be checking their emails or in the office to prep for the new semester. If you're contacting just for the purpose of relationship building and laying groundwork, then it's not a bad time to get started.

Last year, I compiled my tips for reaching out to universities and professors in my rundown of the 2018 Embassy Recommendation application process. I'll update it when the 2019 guidelines come out, but for now, here's that article in case it helps:
Embassy-Recommended MEXT Scholarship 2018: How to Get Started | TranSenz: Expat Living in Japan

Good Luck!
- Travis from TranSenz
Hi TranSenz,

I wanted to thank you for all your guides regardint the MEXT scholarship, they've been a lifesaver. I recently found out about the scholarship before scrambling to apply this cycle, and all the posts on your website have been a fantastic source of information.

I wanted to ask you for some advice regarding my next steps in the MEXT application. I been lucky enough to recieve news this past week that I've been selected for the embassy recommendation.

From my end, it seems like all I have to do now is [1] get letters of acceptance (I've been able to get a yes from two universities of my choice so far) and [2] submit those to the Japanese consulate and pray for the best? Is there anything else you would caution me about at this point?

After that it sounds like I just wait for secondary confirmation and placement (by the way do you know when this usually occurs? I saw that it said after December, I just wanted to know the latest they could notify me).

Again, thank you so much for website, I definitely couldn't have gotten this far without your help.
 

Albertillo

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Hello everyone, how does the Embassy contact you for going to the test and interview (I'm from Spain)? by e-mail, phone, mail?
I contacted the Embassy last month asking for when would they contact the people who have to take the exam, and they told me that they would do that at the end of June or start of July, so I'm a little bit nervous about that.
 

Montse2302

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Hello everyone, how does the Embassy contact you for going to the test and interview (I'm from Spain)? by e-mail, phone, mail?
I contacted the Embassy last month asking for when would they contact the people who have to take the exam, and they told me that they would do that at the end of June or start of July, so I'm a little bit nervous about that.
Hi Albertillo, Its nice to hear from another Spanish Applicant. I have not heard from the embassy yet, I think this week is the one ( fingers crossed) Best of luck!!!!
 

Albertillo

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Hi Albertillo, Its nice to hear from another Spanish Applicant. I have not heard from the embassy yet, I think this week is the one ( fingers crossed) Best of luck!!!!
I see!, then we can only wait for now... I wish you the best of luck too! I hope we can get the scholarship :)
 

Sheermule

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Hello everyone, how does the Embassy contact you for going to the test and interview (I'm from Spain)? by e-mail, phone, mail?
I contacted the Embassy last month asking for when would they contact the people who have to take the exam, and they told me that they would do that at the end of June or start of July, so I'm a little bit nervous about that.
My embassy contacted me via email. Good luck!
 

Albertillo

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Hi Albertillo, Its nice to hear from another Spanish Applicant. I have not heard from the embassy yet, I think this week is the one ( fingers crossed) Best of luck!!!!
I've received just now the e-mail for going to the test!
 
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Itasimisete

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Has any other country in Europe heard anything as of yet?
 

オランダ

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Has any other country in Europe heard anything as of yet?
Have you received the letter already? I called the embassy today and they said the results of the first screening were send by post. They also seemed surprised that I did not receive anything yet. I hope I get a letter tomorrow
 

Itasimisete

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Have you received the letter already? I called the embassy today and they said the results of the first screening were send by post. They also seemed surprised that I did not receive anything yet. I hope I get a letter tomorrow
I haven't had anything yet, but postal services in Holland do not deliver on Monday so it will be coming in tomorrow then I assume.
 

Itasimisete

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This is all so stressful, let's hope for the best!
 

Montse2302

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I've received just now the e-mail for going to the test!
Congrats, I didn't make it unfortunately :emoji_cold_sweat: but I won't stop, I´ll be in japan next year some way or another to study in such a great country!!!!. Good luck in the next steps...
 

Centuries

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Best of luck to all going through the process!

Some of us from last year's application process are still kicking around waiting for October departure, so I will check in when I can and of course try to answer any questions I can!
 

Albertillo

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Congrats, I didn't make it unfortunately :emoji_cold_sweat: but I won't stop, I´ll be in japan next year some way or another to study in such a great country!!!!. Good luck in the next steps...
I see... I’m so sorry, I wish you best of luck for next year! And thank you :) I will do my best!
 

Domino369

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I got my rejection letter. Thinking back on it, I could see some issues.

I'm not used to academia anymore and felt that I came off more as a businessman rather than someone who wanted to learn. I also had issues with the panel interview, it's not a format I'm used to. Then I could see some disconnect about -why- I needed to study in Japan. Coming up with that just didn't click right with what I was trying to preface.

Ah well, I might try again next year. It's a lot of effort and I do travel frequently to Japan as it is, 2-4 times a year. Maybe it would be better to keep doing what I'm doing? Some food for thought on my side.

Congrats to everyone who makes it through.
 

Itasimisete

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I was actually very confident about my proposal and reasoning. It's quite hard to know the exact reason of the rejection as it wasn't stated in the rejection letter (might be different in other countries, I'm not sure). I do wonder if it would be useful at all to apply again or when rejected, you just won't get through.
 

オランダ

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I was actually very confident about my proposal and reasoning. It's quite hard to know the exact reason of the rejection as it wasn't stated in the rejection letter (might be different in other countries, I'm not sure). I do wonder if it would be useful at all to apply again or when rejected, you just won't get through.
I must say, the more days that pass the more gutted I become. I really wonder how many people applied. I am also disappointed that the embassy informed applicants with a two sentence copy paste. I would have appreciated a bit of feedback since the application took a lot of time and money (healthcheck).
 
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RBZ

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I'm sorry to hear you guys didn't pass the first screening. I believe I read somewhere that they never give feedback on why they reject someone. It looks like their budget is a bit tight this year and perhaps that's why there appear to be many rejections. In Belgium it's been almost 2 weeks since the interview and I have yet to hear back from them. Hoping for some good news
 

Itasimisete

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Personally, I am still very upset over it and I am not really sure how to proceed from here. I've done some research around and I found a post from someone who went on the MEXT (Dutch national) 7 years ago and she was talking about 2 positions on the course we applied for. Although it seems like winning the lottery has a higher chance, I am very curious to whether this is true. As there is a different application for Japanese Studies students, I wonder what the deciding factor has been and how I can maybe re-apply next year. I haven't seen anybody who actually re-applied the following year after being rejected so I am not sure if it is worth it at all (once rejected > always rejected?).

At least you got to the interview part RBZ, good luck to you and hopefully someone will get lucky from our Benelux hopefulls.
 
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