The exchange application process for any institution can be a nerve-wracking(but eventually rewarding) part of university life. I’d be lying if I told you there weren’t nights where I sat up for a couple of hours wondering if everything would work out for me. In the end it all did, but I would have slept a little easier if there had been a little more information about everything closer to hand. I was lucky enough to be able to exchange some emails with former study abroad student Jason from GravityRelease.Me. Nevertheless not everybody is so lucky as to find a reliable source of information and reassurance as me, so I’ll take you through my application process.
1. Applied through QUT(Queensland University of Technology)
This part is pretty straight-forward. I just applied to go on exchange, there was a couple of online forms to fill out and I needed 2 references from academic staff. The hardest part was taking the host university’s subject offerings and trying to fit them in with my Australian university course. It’s slim pickings, in Japan at least. Electives are your best friend. Don’t forget the relevant deadlines for application submission either, you can find the QUT ones here.
2. Application was processed by the Study Abroad Office
This, like anything, takes time. In they past they had interviews but this got phased out due to the large volume of applicants. If you’re concerned about your application definitely call the Study Abroad office, my application was stuck at pending because my file didn’t say I knew some Japanese. They thought I had no history with the language at all, so they were going to deny my application. So yeah, it always helps to pick up the phone and check up on things just in case.
3. Application was accepted by QUT
This was a good day, this was when I finally felt like the wheels were in motion. I got approved few days after I straightened things out. After this the Study Abroad Office contacts your host university and sorts out your application forms. My application process at KGU was mostly online so I received a K-GENSYS login.
* I strongly suggest that you apply for OS-HELP at this point if you need financial assistance for your exchange.
4. Applied to KGU(Kansai Gaidai University)
With my K-GENSYS login I was able to access the online application forms. These are all pretty straight-forward as well. They are a bit tedious to fill out but no dramas, the one thing worth mentioning is that you will need 10 passport sized photos. For what? Who knows, but you need them so get snapping.
5. Application was processed by the Center for International Education
This took a little while, your mind really goes around in circles. ‘To Japan or not to Japan…’. I’ve heard pretty much everybody who is approved by their home institution is approved by KGU, it sounds almost impossible to screw up. Don’t write anything on your application forms stupid enough to make you the exception.
6. Application was accepted by KGU
It takes about 4 weeks for your to receive your notification, and it’ll come by email.
“We are happy to inform you that you have been officially admitted to the
Asian Studies Program at Kansai Gaidai University for the spring
semester of 2012. All the faculty and staff members of the Asian Studies
Program are looking forward to welcoming you to our campus.”
Once you’re accepted you can celebrate a little and get onto the other forms.
7. Completed Address, Housing, Arrival forms
These show up in K-GENSYS after you’re accepted. The address form is a postal address form so they can send you your COE(Certificate of Eligibility), very important. The housing form doesn’t become available until a little later, its just a few preference questions for accommodation(Seminar Houses). The arrival form works but there’s no point in submitting arrival details until about a month before you leave, if you’re using the pick-up service from the airport it’s pretty important but I’m not so I didn’t take much notice.
8. Received Certificate of Eligibility
This took some time as well. This is your certification from the Japanese government saying you’re visa-worthy. When mine didn’t come as soon as I hoped I started reading horror stories on forums about COEs taking 3 months to process. Don’t worry, KGU will sort it out for you. Mine took about 6 weeks to process. If you’re going in early though you should send them an email about it. I’m only going in 2 weeks early and I was stressing about it a lot back in December.
9. Applied for Student Visa at the Consulate
This was surprisingly easy and efficient. If you live in Brisbane the consulate is in the city, the visa counter is open 9am – 12.30am and then again from 2pm-4pm. The forms are really easy to fill out, and it only takes around 3 days to process. You go in again to collect it, or you can have the passport with the new visa mailed to you.
10. Received Student Visa
And there you go, in 3 days you have your student visa. It makes all those months of waiting worthwhile. All thats left to do now is get packing. I hope for your sake your visa photo is a little more flattering than mine.
Got any questions? Email me.
If you have any questions at all feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll try and help you out the best I can.