Saturday April 3, 2004

32 students get scholarships to study in Japan


KUALA LUMPUR: From a single scholarship for an undergraduate in 1955, the Japanese Government has since given out a total of 1,183 awards to Malaysian students for different fields of study.
This year the Monbukagakusho (Japanese Education, Culture, Science and Technology Ministry) has awarded 32 scholarships for various fields of study including medicine, law, biotechnology, engineering and information science.
The recipients comprised 28 postgraduates, who will spend 30 months to three years pursuing their course, and four undergraduate students, who will spend up to five years in Japan.
HERE YOU GO: Konishi handing over to scholarship recipient Safiza Yusof her air ticket during a ceremony at the Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. Safiza was among 32 who received higher education grants from the Japanese Government
Their stay includes a six-month intensive Japanese language course.
Japanese Ambassador Masaki Konishi presented the scholarships and air tickets to the students at the Japanese embassy here on Thursday.
In his address, he encouraged the students to “grasp every opportunity available to do well in your studies.”
He also advised them to learn the Japanese language and to get to know the society and culture of the Japanese people.
He added that the students have a responsibility as representatives of Malaysia to help promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two nations.
“At present, about 2,000 Malaysians are studying in Japan and they are the fourth largest (group) of foreign students in the country,” he said.
The embassy’s First Secretary for Education, Masao Yamakawa, said a total of 1,176 applications were received for the Monbukagakusho Scholarship this year.
“There is no quota for any race during the selection and students who accept the scholarship are not bound by the Japanese Government,” he added.
He said that for this year, the professional training school category, which offered certificates and diplomas, was not open because most students had opted for undergraduate studies.
The Monbukagakusho awards these scholarships annually to students in over 130 countries and places them in higher education institutions throughout Japan.
This year’s grants for Malaysians, worth over RM9mil, cover tuition expenses for the entire duration of their course.
A monthly allowance of ¥180,300 (RM6,600) is given to postgraduate students and ¥139,200 (RM5,100) to undergraduate students.
Selections are based on academic records and results of an examination set by the Japanese Government as well as interviews by officials from the Japanese embassy, the Public Services Department and the Education Ministry.
Recipient Leong Ceelia, who will be doing postgraduate studies in thermal diffusivity at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said her scholarship to study in Japan would give her a chance to experience “something different.”
“You can never be well-prepared because no matter how much you prepare you will still (experience) culture shock and other surprises. But that is what I want.
“If you are ready, it becomes an adventure instead of a sad experience,” said the 25-year-old Physics graduate from Universiti Putra Malaysia, who applied for the scholarship in June last year.
Another recipient, Juita Mohamad, 23, who majored in International Business, said it was her strong interest in Japan that motivated her to apply for the scholarship.

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