Every year, the Japanese embassy in Mexico organizes two or three informative sessions to clarify questions about the application process, for those Mexicans reading, go if you can. I know not all people are able to attend, so I will talk about some of those recommendations pertaining to the Field of Study and Study Program.
The main person there is Prof. Solís. She is involved in every aspect of the process, so it is very important to listen what she has to say and her recommendations. The most important tip she gives, is to be brief. If MEXT is giving us just one sheet of paper for the Field of Study, try not to use any more space.
In previous years I totally disregarded this recommendation and my proposal ended up being a 6 page document. This year I will follow the instructions and will only use the space given.
The form itself is not very self explaining, so here is what they are looking for:
- Present field of study:Talk about the last official studies you made, but do not present is as: “I studied in XXXX University and my specialization is in XXXXX”. No.
Tell a story. What was your area, why did you select it, what was the most interesting part of your studies and take it from there to explain why you with to continue studying.
- Your research topic in Japan: Describe articulately the research you wish to carry out in Japan: If you already have a title for your investigation, write it. If not… well, think of one. In this part, dont talk about the “how”, just the “what” and “why”.
Be brief but include background, what has been done already in that field, why is it important, why do you want to do it.
- Study program in Japan: (Describe in detail and with specifics — particularly concerning the ultimate goal(s) of your research in Japan): Here is where the “how” should be written. But beware, a per Prof. Solis’s recommendations, you should talk about how the postgraduate studies will help you carry out the investigation, not so much about methodology.
This is also something I ignored for years, but I will do it like this this time.
Include a time table.
In previous years, I submitted a proposal that had the typical structure:
This year, I will only have:
Program of studies
That’s it! 🙂