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Five Ways Japanese Colleges Are Different from American Colleges

Japan is one of the world's most technically advanced and literate nations. Whether or not to join the Japan study abroad program is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires you to move your entire life to an unfamiliar place. Among other challenges, you will also be surrounded by new people, eat foreign foods, and deal with a foreign language.

Before choosing to join a Japanese college, you should know that these colleges are way different from their American equivalent. Let us discover the differences between college life in America and Japan.

  1. Academic Life

    The process to get into Japanese colleges is rigorous. It involves studying and passing a series of competitive entrance exams that require high school students to study intensely. But once you pass these exams, you are on easy street.

    Generally, the Japanese academic year begins in April and consists of two semesters. Many Japanese students compare their college days to living at a country club. So long as you go to class, you can acquire units in Japanese colleges. Some courses do not even require you to physically attend the class as you only have to hand in a report at the end of the semester.

    Alternatively, American colleges require you to study actively, attend classes daily to get credits, and hand in a report every other week. Students also have to read various textbooks and other assigned reading materials and submit term papers in good time. In some cases, some students become overwhelmed and look for 'do my essay online' sites as a means of coping with the tremendous workload of American colleges.

  2. Class Participation Students in Japanese colleges rarely talk during lectures. The lecturer does all the talking while the students listen. If a student has a question, he/she approaches the teacher individually after class, often in his/her office. Even during debate classes, teachers moderate, and students keep their opinions to themselves until the teacher calls on them specifically.

    In American colleges, students are very vocal with their opinions about specific issues. They are always ready to speak up and ask questions as soon they pop up in their minds. They also carry on debates amongst themselves and share their opinions very actively.

  3. Extracurricular Activities Students in Japan dedicate most of their college time to extracurricular activities, like martial arts, music, and art clubs. Furthermore, Japanese schools have two types of extracurricular clubs: 'sakuru' (Circles) and 'bu' (teams).

    The 'bu' is more serious than the 'sakuru' as members are more focused on having fun in circles. As a result, many people join 'sakuru' manly to make new friends and go on different adventures with new people. On the other hand, American colleges also have various extracurricular activities, but they are more serious than those of Japanese colleges. In addition to maintaining high grades, members of these clubs have to train hard every day.

  4. Living Arrangements While many students in American colleges live in dorms with a roommate, students in Japanese colleges prefer to live alone. In Japan, getting into college is almost synonymous with living in your own apartment. As a result, many high school students focus on passing their entrance exams with the motive of finally living alone. However, some students' lifestyles deteriorate quickly since they do not know how to cook or clean for themselves.

  5. Fashion In high school, students in Japan must wear uniforms throughout. So, many of these students do not get to choose what they wear daily until they get into college. Due to this newly found freedom, you will find that many college students in Japan will spend more and put more thought into what they wear on campus.

    Alternatively, American college students do not put much effort into their clothes as they focus more on practicality and comfort. As a result, you will likely see many students wear a baggy pair of sweatpants and t-shirts.


Japan is one of the top 10 countries for education, thanks to its achievement-based system. The country has numerous colleges that offer a wide array of courses to stimulate both your brain and your interests. However, before deciding to study abroad in a Japanese college, you must ensure that you are well-prepared.

Despite being an exciting experience, there are many things you have to consider. They include Japan's unique culture, its variety of foods, accommodation, transport, how to communicate, and job opportunities. Luckily, there are various ways to tackle all these factors as long as you plan in advance.