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:
- Student loans
I spent one year working and put almost 1/2 of my monthly salary into a seperate savings account for this purpose.
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 Scholarship. Doshisha reduced my tuition fee by 50% early on!
- JASSO scholarship for graduate students. A 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!