Believe it or not, attaining a scholarship is not as difficult as you are probably thinking. In fact, some might claim it even to be rather simple. The difficult part is actually doing the work required of the scholarship; searching for the scholarship is the first step, and depending on the scholarship, an essay might need to be written and evaluated, and/or an interview might take place. What’s great about them is that they are practically free money just handed out to you to do whatever you wish with; in this case, getting your butt to Japan!
Although scholarships are pretty easy to attain, there are some things you can do to tip the table in your favor in regards to traveling to Japan on someone else’s dime:
1. Learn some Japanese: It looks good to the judges if you show you are interested in the country, its culture, or its language. Anything that you can grab onto and really roll with will impress them and make you stand out from the other applicants. Learning some of the language shows you are interested in learning something new, which is key.
2. Learn ONLY SOME Japanese: Do not learn too much Japanese. If you are too proficient in the language, the judges may be impressed but they will most likely send someone less capable in the language over you. This is because, as I mentioned in the previous point, the key is to show that you are interested in learning something new over there. It is a common suggestion from people-in-the-know that if you grew up speaking the language or are simply already fluent in it, it’s best to tell a tiny white lie and develop some sort of American accent when speaking it.
3. Learn the country’s history: If you show you are knowledgeable about Japanese History, you are also showing you are interested in aspects of the country that are not even relevant to this day and age. It shows you care about the country as a whole.
Photo Credit: Flickr user Okinawa Soba.
Now for the interview process. Most interviews dealing with international travel have judges that are looking for certain things in the applicants.
Some common suggestions for things to DO during the interview are the following:
1. Intercultural sharing: It’s a good idea to explain the fact that you wish to learn about Japanese culture while also sharing your own with them. This is one of the major reasons judges believe you should be going for. Intercultural sharing is beautiful!
2. Show excitement: No one wants to give away a prize to someone who does not even seem like they care about the prize or the experience they are about to have. However, it is important not to be overly excited and crazy, of course.
3. Include a personal story: Including a personal story that somehow connects you with the country, its culture, or its language will help immensely. Explain yourself to the judges and tell them why you are even doing this in the first place.
Now that you have these tips and tricks to aid your applications, essays, and potential interviews, get cracking and grab yourself those scholarships! Free money to help you get to your destination awaits you!