HELLO AGAIN! I should really try to get into the habit of blogging.
Anyway, I had my pre-departure meeting for ICS Japan 2016 a few days ago! This is the last meeting that we’ll have at uni because we’re all gonna leave for Japan VERY soon. Many of the people I know are in their host country already, mainly because the start of an academic semester varies from country to country.
The meeting lasted for 3 hours and the coordinators simply provide us all the necessary information regarding the exchange. This include things such as insurance, international SOS and ICS assignments. Plus, several students who just came back from their ICS came in to provide helpful tips to make our life in Japan easier (maybe, maybe not). This is also the time where we collected our itinerary for our flights. UTS does cover the cost of flight to and from Japan, but if you either make more than one change on the date that you’re meant to leave Japan, or stay for too long, then UTS will not cover that.
I’ll be flying on March 27th at night with Qantas Airlines (Checked luggage is 30kg), and will arrive to Haneda Airport at around 5:30am the next day. This is completely different to what past students have gone through, where they had to make a stop over at Singapore and then fly to Narita Airport. I think Haneda Airport recently open a route that allows people to take a direct flight, which is actually great.
That was the meeting, but there are things that you need to do before departure. Firstly, get successfully admitted to the host university and then receive the Certificate of Eligibility (CoE). You should also be given an option on your accommodation, whether it would be international dorms or a private apartment. Once you know the address, the guarantor, a confirmed date of departure + Flight/Airline (email coordinator for this) and receive the CoE, bring those along with your passport and a passport photo to the Embassy of Japan, where you will get an entry visa. Fill out and submit the visa application form and you’ll receive a yellow receipt. Just wait a few days and they will call you to let you know that the visa is ready to be collected.
Once you got the itinerary and the visa, you’re pretty much done with the process. YAY !!!!
You may be wondering when exactly do you get the CoE and confirmed dates. TBH, I don’t know. This varies depending on the host university. I gotta say that I’m impressed with Yamanashi University SO FAR. They are organised and will give me updates on the procedures very quickly. All the messages that I’ve sent and received were in Japanese, which is kind of a double edge sword on its own. On one hand, it’s good practice to type and read Japanese messages. On the other, they may assume that my Japanese is good, but in actual fact, I’m relatively rusty. I’ll have to sit through a placement test in which I’m most likely gonna struggle, unless I cram before I leave…..
So now, I’m just waiting to leave for Japan…. HOLY CRAP I JUST SAID THAT. TIME FLIES BY SO QUICKLY LAH !!!