Let the applications begin…

5 12 2009

Ok, so I have just 6 days left until my application to UWA is due in (i.e. a deadline of 11/12/09 11:59pm). For the most part I am done, a few minor questions left to answer as I ponder them, they are quite tough questions really. Though none the less I do see how the uni deems such questions necessary as to make sure the people who they select to “recommend for exchange” have the right motives and so forth behind them. Here’s a link to the questions of the last part of my application, split into three parts:

UWA’s Application Questions for 2010 semester 2 exchange

And I’m sure once you’ve read it, you will understand why it is that I am having trouble answering questions 1a),1d) and 1e) of Part C: General Questions in the application. This sort of self assessment for me is not the easiest sort of thing to write about, I think they look at this and try find a well-rounded person instead of rather just someone who stands out, because it is often likely someone who stands out in a way that is almost unnatural just screams that what is written doesn’t come from within, but rather just what they can come up with off the top of their head. So although time may seem tight for me getting down to the last week before the exchange application is due, I think I’ll still really try take my time on this and make sure what I write expresses me, and doesn’t go in a direction that chases ‘good attention’ from the readers of the application.

On top of this though the application involves a statement of purpose (including academic motives, expected challenges and benefits of the exchange etc) which is limited at 2 pages in length. Also of course for formality purposes, there are other basic details and questions on the application, but when it comes down to it the bulk of the decision that rests with the people processing the applications would be based on how well the person can answer the questions, demonstrate their ability with researching the information that would be required to draw as much as they can from the exchange experience and of course the students grades. I’m hoping that I can satisfy all these criteria and more and get just that one step closer to stepping foot in Japan once more!

Step by step…

Ok, so lets get a little bit ahead of myself and just assume acceptance from UWA, where does the path take me from here? Well to more applications of course, hardly delightful I know, but if I’m not even willing to go through the application process then I obviously don’t have what it takes to go at all. So next in line for applications, would be my application to the host university, Kansai Gaidai University. This is where it gets a little more involved, a list of the following things is required by Kansai Gaidai:

  1. Application for Admission (submitted online + a copy printed and signed and mailed)
  2. Transcript(s)
  3. Three Letters of Recommendation (Forms to be downloaded from K-GENESYS)
    These letters should be from former or present instructors or academic advisors of college level institutions.
  4. Japanese Instructor’s Reference Form (can be included as a letter of recommendation).
  5. Medical Information Form (Form to be downloaded from K-GENESYS)
    To be completed by the applicant and a physician.
  6. Confidential Financial Questionnaire (Form to be downloaded from K-GENESYS)
  7. Ten Identification Photographs (with quite specific measurements etc.)
  8. Certificate of English Proficiency (not required if English is your native language)
  9. A copy of passport

It’s probably not as all as bad as it sounds, and it really doesn’t matter anyway because I’d be willing to sit through virtually anything to get me in. But anyway moving on, that is not where the applying ends. There is more. This is where things become a little more blurry for me so far, and I’ll probably have to wait until the time comes and request assistance from my home university, because from here comes scholarship applications (such as JASSO and Japan’s Government “Monbukagakusho” scholarship) and the process to obtain a student visa for Japan (which first requires acceptance from the host university Kansai Gaidai). And once all this can be confirmed I can pay for my plane tickets and start packing! Of course I am well in advance of myself here, as I won’t even find out until around March 2010 if I have the recommendation of my university to go on exchange.

I think everyone goes into this whole process quite unprepared for just how much is involved, I know I certainly did. And although it is still early days, I see room for growth in such a short period because the amount of commitment and effort required to go through the entire process really makes you think “Is this what I want?”, “Will I be able to draw a lot from such an experience?”, etc etc. I know I certainly have found further confidence in myself knowing just how much such an experience would mean for me. And most people will soon find that if they really desire for the exchange experience like I do, it becomes more than just academic motivations and the raw elements that can be drawn from it such as better language ability and better cultural understanding, I believe it goes much deeper than that with such a large amount of reflecting necessary for the process. Am I alone in this? Am I a little bit crazy to think that student exchange expands beyond being an academic and cultural experience? What do you think, and if you’re in the process of applying or have been on exchange before, what are your experiences?

And I’ve just realised it, I should probably pardon myself for going a little off topic from applications, but I just wrote what flowed and figured it’d be nice to get my thoughts down as a reference point especially for myself as I progress through this process…

じゃ、ピース! Peace