Category Archives: Scholarships

Financing – Scholarships

Living abroad usually isn’t cheap. It can be difficult to go from receiving a fulltime salary to nothing if you aren’t prepared. An MBA degree isn’t for free (at least outside of Sweden). There are many expenses related to moving to Japan, and to make the ends meet, you need to find ways to finance that (whether through loans or working a part time job). In my case, I did it through three channels:

  • Savings
  • Student loans
  • Scholarships

I spent one year working and put almost 1/2 of my monthly salary into a seperate savings account for this purpose.

Student loans

As a Swedish citizen, I received a student loan from the government at a reasonable interest rate. This loan covers the majority of my current tuition fees and my living expenses.


This is where it gets interesting. Scholarships are a type of aid that is merit or need based. There are many scholarships out there, but they are quite competitive in their selection process. They usually have specific critieria. I’ll briefly go through the scholarhips that I’ve been awarded:

  • Sweden Japan Foundation. Back in Sweden I attended a scholarship ceremony by the Sweden-Japan Foundation and received some money to finance my expenses in Japan. I got to meet Bo Dankins, the chairman of Business Sweden and Princess Christina. The event was followed by a dinner and “after work” networking.
  • Doshisha University. 50 % Reduced-Tuition ScholarshipDoshisha reduced my tuition fee by 50% early on!
  • JASSO scholarship for graduate studentsA few weeks ago I got news that I also received this scholarship for 6 months!
  • Doshisha University Graduate School Scholarship Award for 2014. And a few days ago, another scholarship fell in through the mailbox: the remaining 50% of the tuition fee is now covered as well!

Thus, with advanced planning and good luck, I was able to fund my life in Japan so far! And maybe you can do it too!

Opening a Japanese bank account

A bank account is usually the hub of your financial transactions. The same is true for Japan, If you live and study or work in Japan for a long time it’s essential to have it.

Basically you will need your:

  • Residence card
  • Passport
  • Money to deposit
  • Hanko (Personal seal)
  • Patience
  • (Japanese friend)

I choosed to open a bank account for the JR post bank. It doesn’t cost anything. They have offices in all cities of Japan. The bank is allways equipped with a post office. But the first and formoste reason for this bank is that I got the JASSO scholarship, and they will put in no other than a JP post bank account. By doing this I also hope to cut my transaction costs while not having to depend on withdrawing cash from my Swedish bank account all the time.

Opening up the bank account is requires quite some time. It took about 45 minuties even with the help of a Japanese friend. There is a lot of information to fill in, in Japanese. They also want your adress and phone number. And most importantly your Hanko! When I finally left there I realized that I didnt have to deposit any money either.

In the post office I went to they had an English pamphlete that explained in detail how to fill out the Japanese application form!

I got an old fashioned bank book and a cash card a week later in the mailbox.