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文部科学省奨学金申請過程 - 填表格



上一篇緣起和答應人家的事不能反悔,
在這裡稍微再用中文敘述一下我自己的申請過程。
不知道中文版會對多少人有用,
不過算是分享一些經驗也好。

據我所知,
文科省獎學金的申請辦法跟日本交流協會的有些不同。
交流協會基本上是年初(前一年的年尾)要先考留學試験,
成績夠好才有第二階段的研究計畫和面試。

而大使館(領事館)推薦的文科省獎學金則是大約在每年的三月左右各日本駐外使館會在網路上公佈最新的申請表。
除使館外,這個網站有最齊全的文件。
所有文件都有日英兩種語言版本,
基本上你可以隨便選一個你喜歡的。
不過如果英文是自己國家的官方語言的話,
還是不要作怪就選英文的也好了。

(有些使館只提供掃描掃歪的 pdf 檔) XD

而文件的截止日期因國家不同而異,
我溫哥華這邊的是5月14日(吧...)

基本上,我大概花了一個半月填妥以下表格:

申請書
申請書別紙
推薦状
専攻分野・研究計画
健康診断書
其他

讓我一個一個來說明好了。


申請書

說真的,這個申請書很好填,
就是一些個人資料和學歷等等。
不花什麼大腦一天內就可以填完了。

我填著張表時是先寫一份當草稿,
然後把聽網上前輩 Lars的建議,
把 pdf 檔導入 Illustrator 然後用打的。
除了處女座的龜毛以外,
最大原因是我的字很像小學生。
像小學生一樣可愛!? 不!像小學生一樣龍飛鳳舞!

為了避免給審核團隊負面印象,
還是用打的比較安心。
打完之後要印幾份就印幾份也比較方便。



申請書別紙

這份表格是填你的志願學校,指導教授,科目,以及有沒有計畫申碩博士等等的附加文件。
我的領事館允許通過通過第一次篩選的候選者在八月底再提出就好,
所以我到現在也還沒填。
不過良心建議,
不管這張表格是什麼時候要交,
請提早聯絡教授,
早一刻找到願意收你的教授早一刻安心。
不然到時候時間緊迫時找不到並不是不可能發生的事。



推薦状

一個人需要準備兩份推薦状。
如果你是學生,
兩份都可以是教授。
但如果你已經開始工作了,
其中一份需要是你的上司才行。

我知道有些上司,
尤其台灣香港很氾濫,
都是些腦殘自私的*#(請自己填充)。
所以讓些丁丁們知道你在考慮離開公司繼續進修的話,
他們好的對你冷眼看待,
爛一點的就當你是吳三桂還是十常侍誓死也要誅殺你,
我只能講小心,
然後看看有沒有辦法找個跟你沒有直接利害關係的類似上級主管幫你個忙之類的。

我一封推薦状是麻煩從我大學第二年就十分照顧我的教授(心中懷著超越十二萬分的感謝),
另一個是麻煩工作地方的小組長幫忙的。
(是的,我也不喜歡我的直屬上司,也不想冒著個險)
總之,這樣好像也可以啦,
至少我通過了書面篩選。



専攻分野・研究計画

這部分是整個申請文件中的靈魂!!
請絞盡腦汁的想。
基本上你的研究最好是十分有原創性,
另外是日本政府應該會有興趣的主題。
畢竟出錢的是老大,
文科省應該是不會出錢讓你做些"釣魚台是台灣的"還是"琉球是被日本佔領的中國領土"之類的研究。
我自己是從完全不會寫研究計畫開始學習。
其中我第四年日文的教授(也是對我的研究計畫一直很不看好的教授 XD )給我了一個連猴子都會的研究報告幫助很大。
我基本上就是照這個格式寫出研究計畫的。

而研究計畫的生成基本上就是讀一堆書,
然後想個主題,
再繼續讀書。
寫第一稿。
繼續讀書。
把第一稿丟進垃圾桶改寫第二稿。
繼續讀書。
把第二稿用紅筆整個打個大XX再寫第三稿。
這樣浩浩蕩蕩我至少在不到一個半月內寫了六個版本。
這個好處是你到最後看自己的研究計畫看到想吐,
內容就只差沒辦法到著背。
在面試時應該是不會被問倒才對的。

總之,讓我再次強調,
這個部分是精髓,是靈魂
一定要寫個好計畫書,
然後了解你自己的研究計畫!


健康診断書

檢查你有沒有傳染疾病以及適不適合到異國留學的健康檢查。
我想在亞洲也許你能在一天之內就跑完所有的檢測,
但在北美,千萬別這樣。
就算你的身體強如巨石強森外加 Antonio 豬木,
也請提早去看醫生。

太多檢查結果需要好幾天才出的來,
我想一個星期內能完成這張表的人已經很幸運了。
我的胸腔 X-ray 在極有效率的 Richmond General Hospital, 硬是等了12天才出來。
再晚兩天,要是趕不上截止日我可能會一把火燒那這家醫院。


其他

像成績單和畢業證書等文件就需要你親自去學校申請。
一搬來講,只要給錢,學校應該都有辦法變給你才對。

此外,你可以加些你認為可以給自己加分的東西,
我是把日檢證書放在最後一頁就是了。






當你有所有文件後,恭喜!!
第一個難關你已經過了一半了。
檢查檢查在檢查後(我檢查了很多遍認為 ok, 文件交進去後第三天就發現自己在研究計畫裡面寫錯好幾個字 orz)
確定無誤後印三份 copy,
把兩份 copy 和原件遞交後,
自己再留一份。
這份很好用的。
在你尋找指導教授時,
他們可能就會要求你先把這些文件 scan 寄給他們看看。

以上就是我填表格的經過
[PR]
by yao-san | 2008-08-05 15:50 | MEXT scholarship
Monbukagakusho Scholarship - 2 - exam and interview


合格を祈る



Let's continue on the topic of my experience on applying for the MEXT scholarship. This is my personal experience only and since each Embassy/Consulate General has its own way of doing things, it is very possible that your Embassy/Consulate General may be conducting the procedure differently. In such an event, please consult with your Embassy/Consulate General instead of taking my words for it.

About 3 weeks after handing in all the application documents, I received an e-mail from the Consulate General. This email indicated that I had been recommended by the preliminary selection committee for a chance to take the exam and interview. The exam and the interview were to be on the same day, and they were approximately 2 weeks away.


Preparation

While anxiously waiting for the interview, I prepared myself for the exam. I downloaded the MEXT scholarship past exams from here and practiced on them.

After writing these past exams for both English and Japanese, I noticed a few things.

1. Japanese exam consists of 3 different level, A, B, and C

2. Japanese A is extremely easy, I got an average of 98 on it. (out of 100)

3. Japanese B is still quite easy, about 200-level Japanese, I got around 85. (I have to admit that I am forgetting a lot of things)

4. Japanese C is the killer. Personally I think it is harder than JLPT lv. 1. The most difficult part for me is the part where you have to fill in the blank for key words in idioms. There are also a few parts where you have to fill in the blank on your own, no multiple choices where you can at least guess. I only got around 60... Japanese C simply destroys pretty much everyone's confidence.

5. English exam is fairly easy for English speakers, with a few exceptions.

6. Part III of the English exam is finding the sentence (out of 4 sentences) that has a mistake. The problem is not that I was unable to find a mistake in a sentence, rather, you would see there are mistakes in more than 1 sentence. Thus it comes down to choose the sentence that is *MORE WRONG. The problem is that I am terrible in this part and this is the part where I lost almost all my marks too. (I could only get around 4~6 marks out of 20, pretty much same as what probability would be for someone choosing all "C"s on his/her exam)


Exam Day - English Exam

On the day for the exam and interview, I left home early in the morning to give myself about an hour to spare just in case, and I arrived safe and sound (and too early). I went to a nearby place to have a light breakfast and went to the Consulate General 20 minutes before the indicated time. I was the first one to arrive to the Consulate General, but not too long after, a few people showed up as well. In total, there were 9 or 10 people over there for the exam and interview including myself. We took the English one first, it lasted for 1 hour, and luckily, the reading portion is readable this year. (There were readings that were probably written by a Japanese using Japanese grammatical concepts in 2006/2007's exam and it was really painful to read that thing). Overall, nothing to worry about (except for the finding error part of course).


Exam Day - Japanese Exam

After a 15 minute break, we came back and took the Japanese Exam. MEXT modified the Japanese Exam this year. Instead of giving out A, B, and C, each lasts 1 hour for a total of 3 hours, we had 1 Japanese exam that lasted only for 1 hour. I would say the construction of the exam is as followed:

1. There are usually 10 questions for each part just like before.

2. The first 3 questions on each part usually are really easy, around the difficulty of "Japanese A" level.

3. The following 5~6 questions are around the difficulty of "Japanese B" level

4. The last 1 or 2 questions are considerably more difficult than the previous ones, but I debt they are as difficult as "Japanese C". They are like B-ish C....urrrr.... well, (B + C) / 2 ..... harder than Japanese B but not as hard as Japanese C.

5. 2 readings for the last part of the exam. The difficulty is not really high. The difficulty is around Japanese 300-level.


Interview

It was around 11:30 am after the Japanese exam and all 9 or 10 people left for lunch and were asked to come back for the interview on the assigned time. Mine was on 4:45 pm, so I pretty much had 5 hours on my hand to kill. After a light lunch at Subway and 3.5 hours of sitting on a bench and staring at tourists, I went to the interview. Like Lars, I think I did a horrible job for the interview, well, let me just briefly go over this with you if you are interested.

After arriving to the Consulate General once again, I was led into the closed door of the place and it is quite interesting to see what it is like behind the scene of a Consulate General...ummm... the layout just like a normal office in Japan/Asia. I was also informed that I was the last to be interviewed. Although I have no idea how they arranged it, I guess it has to do with with last name. After all, my last name is pretty much the last on the list.

After entering to the conference room, there were already 3 gentlemen there waiting for me, plus the person who led me into the room, for a total of 4 interviewers. Then I was introduced to the 3 gentlemen.


"This is the Consul Mr. X"

Okay, that pretty much freaked me out already!!!

I never expect the Consul himself would be at the interview, so I quickly bow to him and I was more or less speechless.

"This, you may already know, is professor X"

Yes, of course. The Department HEAD of OOO in the University of XXX. How can I forget him, he is the head of my department after all!

I didn't expect my department head would show up here, which made me speechless once again.


"This is professor Y, from the other field of OOO"

Phew.... finally someone who did not give me any more fright since it was already beyond my tolerance.

"And you know me already, so let's begin" Said the gentleman who led my to the room. (He was also the person who mailed all the email, accepted my application form, and conducted the exams earlier that day).


The Consul started off with some general questions, things like "Why do you like Japan" and "How did you study Japanese". We used Japanese a bit but I would say no more than 2 minutes, and that was how much Japanese I spoke during the entire interview.


Second off, professor X. He was fairly nice and the questions were easy and open ended on my field, but I still managed to screw up a bit. For example, when we talked about Houjouki (方丈記), he asked me "what other classic works do you like?", and instead of giving him the logical answer of something I like, my brain was in the state of panic, and answered "I don't like Tsurezure-gusa (徒然草). It is pretty much equivalent to when someone asks you "What other animals do you like" and you answer "I don't like dogs". Well, just pretty much breaks the mood. However, professor X was really nice overall.


Then the nightmare began. I guess they were using the good-cop-bad-cop tactic for the interview, and professor X was the good cop, and what was left was professor Y. He pretty much questioned everything regarding to my research proposal, and asked that have I done any kind of research like this before. Nope.

Other questions were like "why do you have to do this in your research instead of that" and "I don't see the point of doing this when you are trying to prove that". Luckily, he was not in this field and I had written my research proposal for too many time, so I could somewhat answer some of the questions. However, I could still see debts in his eyes and he had made me really uneasy for the next 3 weeks.

Lastly, I was asked about "how are going to cope with the new life style in Japan" and "What are you planning to do in Japan". They were not suppose to be hard questions, but I still had trouble answer that. I think if you like something for 2 years, you know what you like about that thing, but if you like something for more 10 years, you don't know what to say or where to start anymore. That was probably the case.

Anyway, I walked out the place trying to choke myself to death because there were just so many things I could have said to make things a lot better, but instead, I keep on answering something like "No, I don't like it" and
"Yeah, I like Japan but I am having some trouble thinking a specific thing about what I like about Japan"... Yeah, what a great way to end a conversation and break the mood.

I was informed that there would be around 2~5 people (among the 9~10 people), depending on the exam and interview result, passing this stage and being recommended by the committee for the scholarship and the result should be coming out on the first or second week of July.

Well, according to Lars, he got his reply in 1 week. Well, 1 week had passed, it was July and no reply. First week of July had passed, and still no reply. I was completely worry sick and was in horrible mode, thinking back how horrible I had preformed during the interview. The second week almost passed, and still no reply. By the time, I thought I had failed and I could hardly sleep at night. Well, on the day of July 14, exactly 2 weeks into July and 3 weeks after the interview, I got the email, the email from heaven. I got the Embassy/Consulate General recommendation for the scholarship. (well, only for the preliminary stage, Tokyo will give me the final answer in February. But I have made through the interview, I really thought that the interview would just destroy me. My documentations and exams were alright, its just the interview that worried me, and after passing this stage, I don't have to worry about the interview anymore.)



Thank God!! Thank God!!
[PR]
by yao-san | 2008-08-01 07:37 | MEXT scholarship


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