We have uploaded a video interviewing an Indonesian student who made his way to a Japanese language school in Japan and going to a Japanese University this spring!
Mr. Mahesa Pamgas is 19 years old from Indonesia. He was born in Medan and grew up in Bandung. He came to Japan in October 2019 and will graduate from the Japanese language school, JET Academy in Tokyo this spring. Then he will continue his study at the Faculty of Business Administration at Meiji University, a well-known university in Tokyo.
Click here to watch the interview video (in Bahasa Indonesia):
Below is a brief summary of his interview:
◆ How did you start studying Japanese?
In the second year of high school, I started studying Japanese at NLEC in Indonesia. The reason I decided to go to a Japanese university is that I thought there will be more options for my study and my life. Also, the country is more advanced and has plenty of scholarships such as MEXT and Mitsui.
After graduating from high school, I joined a Japanese language school in Tokyo called JAT Academy. Although the tuition fee was expensive, the SENMOTO scholarship helped me with the living expense from the second semester.
◆ Background of entering a Japanese language school in Tokyo
I applied to JAT Academy through an agent called Japan-Indonesia Network. Before I enter the JAT Academy, I took a Japanese language course (in NLEC) in Bandung and studied Japanese a lot; the requirements for entering JAT Academy were to study Japanese for 100 hours or more or to have a Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4/ higher. To prepare for my life in Japan, I also entered a conversation class where I could talk directly with a Japanese tutor, and my tutor was Kaiji-san (CEO of Career Diversity, Inc.) I learned a lot from him in the three months conversation class, he gave me advice like, “it’s wrong,” “that’s correct,” and “that’s not the common way to say.”
◆ Japanese language school life
All the students in JAT Academy are from outside Japan. There are some Indonesian students, but most of the students are from Taiwan. I also have classmates from Malaysia, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand, and I am happy I could make global connections with them. I usually communicate with them in English and Japanese.
◆ The entrance exam for Japanese university
I studied about 10 hours a day; 6 hours at school and 4 hours at home for half a year to prepare for the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) and admissions interview. EJU is like SBMPTN (Joint Selection for Public High School Admission) in Indonesia; it is not the entrance exam, but it is necessary when entering university.
The subjects are mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and Sociology (IPS). It sounds hard, but the thing is, you don’t have to take all the subjects; if the university only wants the results of the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students, IPS, or Mathematics (MTK), you only have to take that.
Although some universities have entrance exams in English, I think it is preferable if you are confident enough to use Japanese. The Faculty I want to continue study at Meiji University is in a Japanese program so everything will be in Japanese. The qualifications required were only EJU, Sociology, and TOEFL iBT results (score 45 or higher).
◆ Life in Tokyo
Japan has always been a longing country for me. What I really like about living in Tokyo is that public transportation is convenient. You can go anywhere by train, without taking a taxi. It is also really convenient that the convenience store is open 24 hours a day. In Indonesia, stores are usually open until 8 or 10 o’clock. But after all, I miss my family and Indonesia. I communicate with my family on Whatsapp, but I still feel homesick. Indonesian food is available in Tokyo, but it is very expensive. For example, Mie Goreng costs 1000 yen here!
◆ How to deal with homesickness
Chatting on Zoom with my family and cooking Indonesian food helps me to feel better. A package full of spices and Indonesian food from my parents also makes me happy.
◆ Advice for people aiming for Japan
What I can say is that it is important to keep the bond with your family. I think you should contact them frequently and sometimes call them, it is okay even if you do not have any special topic to talk about. Living abroad can be stressful and it will put lots of pressure on your mind. At such times, family is always the most supportive.
Regarding academics, I would like to advise you to talk with many Japanese people. Don’t be shy, saying that you’re not good at Japanese. You can talk about any simple things like if you don’t know the way to go somewhere, try talking to Japanese people because they will answer. It is important to actively output what you have learned.