Wondering how university student life in Japan is? For those interested in studying abroad in Japan, here is a guide to the student life in Japan!
Japanese University Student Life: Classes
What university classes in Japan are like varies greatly depending on the program you’re in. However, they are generally held 1-3 times a week. Classes are usually offered between 8 am and 5 pm, but some Japanese universities have begun scheduling classes in the evening to be more accommodating of working students. Students in Japan can choose how many classes they wish to take, as long as they plan their schedules so that they finish all requirements on time.
While admissions at Japanese universities are brutally competitive, most students can get by without studying too hard once they get in. As long as students show up to class or complete assignments, they can usually pass. This leads to Japanese students being more interested in and devoting more effort to the extracurricular activities they are in. In addition, students typically do not participate in class. At most, they listen and take notes (but it’s pretty common to see students sleeping or on their phones). Classes usually are not set up in a way that encourages discussion or debate. If an engaged student has questions, they usually talk to the professor during office hours.
Japanese University Student Life: Housing
Some students live in dormitories, which can vary greatly depending on the Japanese university. Some dormitories only have single rooms, while at other dormitories everyone has at least one roommate.
Dormitories in Japan often have strict rules, including no guest policies and curfews. However, they are often the cheapest and most convenient option for students, as dormitory rent is fairly low and since they are on campus, no time or money is needed for commuting. Another advantage of living in a Japanese university dormitory is that it is one of the easiest ways to make friends for international students in Japan. Dormitories are probably the easiest form of housing for students studying abroad in Japan, especially if they are exchange students who are staying for a year or less.
For students who want more freedom than dorm life offers but do not feel ready to move into their apartment, there are privately owned apartments that are designed just for university students. These types of apartments usually have more security and support staff available than regular private apartments. Most of them also have cafeterias, so residents do not need to cook their meals. Like with Japanese university dorms, it can be much easier to make friends if you’re living in an apartment just for students.
Renting apartment in Japan is also an option. Many private apartment companies offer student apartments for rent contracts. Doing so is the best option for those who want privacy and do not want to be bound by the rules of a dormitory. Renting private apartment is usually the priciest option, as most Japanese apartments do not come with any furniture or appliances. However, it is the most popular option. Around 80% of university students in Japan choose to live in private rental apartments. Getting to have your own space and not follow dormitory rules seems to be worth the higher price of apartments!
Japanese University Student Life: Clubs
Japanese University clubs are a great way to socialize and make friends during your Japan university life. Most universities have a large variety of clubs, so you are likely to be able to find one that you are interested in. There are clubs for language learning, playing games or sports, art, cooking, and more. Since students often take these clubs more seriously than their studies, they become an especially important part of social life. Some Japanese clubs, like sports teams or performing arts groups, require a significant amount of commitment and effort from members. It is not uncommon for students to skip class to go to rehearsals or practice sessions for their clubs.
Japanese University Student Life: Working
It is common for university students in Japan to have a part-time job. International students in Japan are allowed to work while studying. They must apply for permission at the Immigration Services Bureau first, but if permission is granted, they are allowed to work up to 28 hours a week. In addition, international students studying abroad are not allowed to work in places related to the adult entertainment industry, such as bars, pachinko parlors, or host clubs.
Popular part-time jobs for university students include working at convenience stores, restaurants, or supermarkets. Academically high achieving students often work as tutors, either at their universities or at cram schools. University students typically use the money they earn to help pay for tuition or living costs (although most receive at least some financial support from their parents), for socializing, traveling, or shopping for nonessential items.