MEXT Scholars Association Birthday Bash★


MEXT Scholars Association Birthday Bash★
MEXT Scholars Association (MSA) turns two this year! Come join us at the birthday bash (cum annual general meeting), and reconnect with a driven and diverse community of alumni and current scholars!

What’s special this year?
• A “From Scholars to Scholars” seminar, at which you get to hear from inspiring alumni at different stages in their life reflecting on giving back to society. We are proud to welcome the following scholarship alumni as panelists:

  1. Nguyen Khanh Ngoc: An Vietnamese IT professional who graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2006 with a masters degree in computer science. Currently works in Tokyo at FTP Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of a leading Vietnamese corporation with more than 32,000 employees worldwide. While she returned to Vietnam a few years after graduation, she came back to Japan in 2016 with her own family. Outside of her job at FTP, she is also working to improve the accessibility of Japanese language education to immigrants’ families.
  2. Cesar Antonio Diez Pachas: An Peruvian project manager who graduated from Kobe University in 2012 with a master of engineering in informatics – control system. Currently works in Singapore as a senior project manager of targeted advertisement for Rakuten’s merchants. While in Tokyo, he was also the president of APEJA, the Peruvian Association for Students and Alumni in Japan from 2016 to 2017.
  3. Jarkko Havas: A Finnish management consultant who graduated from Tokyo University in 2015 with a masters in sustainability science. Currently works in Belgium as an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company. He is a core member of the McKinsey Center for Agricultural Transformation, which focuses on reducing poverty, improving climate resilience, improving nutrition, and fostering economic growth through successful agricultural transformations.

• The launch of MSA Junction, a private SNS that will connect you with current recipients as well as scholarship alumni fro all around the world
• A report of MSA’s activities in the previous year, and our plans in the next year
• A birthday party where you will get to reconnect with the MEXT scholar community

Date and Time: 25th Aug 2018 (Sat) 14:30 – 17:30
Venue: Fabbit Aoyama 〒107-0052 Tokyo, Minato, Akasaka, 8 Chome−4−14 青山タワープレイス8F (1 min from Aoyama Icchome Station on the Ginza line, Hanzomon line, and Oedo line)
Participation fee: FREE!
Attire: Smart Casual

Register now!
Deadline: August 19th, Sunday



• “From Scholars to Scholars”

  1. Nguyen Khanh Ngoc, FTPジャパン (東京大学大学院2006年度修士課程修了、日本在住ベトナム人)
  2. Cesar Antonio Diez Pachas, 楽天 (神戸大学大学院2012年度修士課程修了、シンガポール在住ペルー人)
  3. Jarkko Havas, マッキンゼー・アンド・カンパニー (東京大学大学院2015年度修士課程修了、ベルギー在住フィンランド人)

• MSA Junctionの発足
MSA JunctionというSNSをご紹介します。MSA Junctionで現役国費留学生の仲間やOB・OGなどと繋がりましょう!
• MSA 活動報告
• 懇親会

会場:ファビット青山 〒107-0052 東京都港区赤坂8丁目4−14 青山タワープレイス8F
最寄り駅:地下鉄「青山一丁目」駅 徒歩3分

※ 8月19日(日)までに参加登録フォームにてお申込みください:

Gion Matsuri in Kyoto

On Sunday, 15th of July, the MSA Kansai team organized an event to enjoy the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto. Gion Matsuri (or Gion Festival) is one of the most popular festivals in the Kansai area. It takes place over the entire month of July every year. Amongst many different events, the grand procession of floats on July 17 attracts a big crowd. There is also a second procession of floats on July 24th, although it has fewer and smaller floats. However, the evenings preceding the procession are also very enjoyable. The date we choose was corresponding to the so-called ‘Yoiyoiyama’, meaning two days prior to the grand procession on July 17th.
In total, we had 27 participants including three Japanese people from the Kansai area. We started the event at 16:30 in front of the Yasaka shrine, the host shrine of the Gion Matsuri. After everybody gathered at the place, we entered the shrine to witness some of the ancient traditions related to the festival.

At 18:00, we started walking towards the Shijo-Karasuma area to see the main attraction of the festival, the floats (Yama-boko). Walking along and being a part of the crowd we enjoyed seeing beautiful people with Japanese dresses and protection charm selling sites with singing children, hearing traditional Japanese music and indulging in good street food.

An interesting side of this event was the opportunity to explore a Japanese festival with locals. Two Japanese people decided to join us after seeing us at the meeting site and the other attendee was already a friend, who is enthusiastic to join international communities and make new friends. Accepting Japanese people in our events may provide a good networking opportunity for international students in the future. As for the international students, the event became a good opportunity to connect with each other and to share cultural and academic information.
We thank everyone for joining us and hope to see you guys again at one of our future events!

Written by Duygu Sahin. Pictures taken by Shady Salama.

Research meetup and Cultural Exchange event at University of Tokyo

On 29th of June, the MSA Kanto Regional team organized a research meetup and a cultural exchange event for MEXT scholars and international students in Tokyo. The event was held at The University of Tokyo and was attended by thirteen participants from eight different universities. The essence of the event was to discuss about new research ideas, tips for creative poster presentations, selection of open access journals and sharing the guidelines for the application of the MEXT scholarship and research grants. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students from various fields of studies such as, engineering, medicine, science, humanities and social science, urban planning and agriculture shared their research activities and first hand experiences during their period of study. After serious discussions about research, a light hearted networking and cultural exchange session was held.

The event was hosted by: Tazbir Ahmed, Muthukumar Krishnan Arumugasamy & Antonia Hryhorenko of the MSA Kanto Regional team

From Scholars to Scholars in Kansai

As international students in Japan, questions such as ‘What are the options I have once I graduate?’ lurk in the mind of almost every scholar. As the country goes through the process of internationalization, the importance of answering these questions are increasing day by day. MEXT Scholars Association understands the gravity of this situation and is taking initiatives to deliver at least some kind of direction to MEXT Scholars in particular and the international community at large.
With this motivation, on Sunday, July 8, the Kansai division of MEXT Scholars Association organized an exchange of information between current scholars and alumni which we call “From Scholars To Scholars (FSTS)”. The venue was the prestigious Kyoto University in Japan. Three speakers coming from different backgrounds shared their experiences and tips with the eagerly listening audience. Around 25 people, from different universities in the Kansai area joined the interactive program.

The first speaker was Oula Aabkari, a scholar from Morocco and currently a 2nd year Master student at the Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University. She recently cracked a job at a construction consulting company and shared her job-hunting experience targeting a general audience.

The second speaker was Fernando Palacio, a scholar from Argentina, who came to Japan with the MEXT scholarship in 2004 and finished his Masters and PhD at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. At present, he is a “Program special senior lecturer” in Kyoto University at the International Strategy Office and shared his experiences both as a student and a professional.

The third speaker was Austin Zeng, a Singaporean scholar, who graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2017. He is currently working for multiple startups in the Tokyo tech scene and is a member of a research group at RIETI researching about the laboural scene for foreigners in Japan. He is also the current President of the MEXT Scholars Association. He shared his career experience and his knowledge on the difficulties and opportunities as a foreigner looking for a career in Japan.

After the three speakers finished their presentations there was a Q&A session where the audience freely interacted with the speakers and cleared many of their doubts.

The event had a special attendee. Yukari Mitsuhashi, the Vice-Director of the International Strategy Office Kyoto University decided to surprise us with her humble presence and addressed the students with a short speech.

MEXT Scholars Association would like to thank everyone who joined us and made this event a success. We will try our best to bring more and more career related events to the Kansai area in the future!

Click here to see a video of a part of the event

Click here to download the presentations

Pictures taken by Fabian Hia

From Scholars To Scholars IV

On the 17th of June 2018, MSA held its fourth ‘From Scholars To Scholars’ speakers series, where we bring together current students with OBOG alumni, who have made for themselves a career here in Japan.

This time it was held at the prestigious University of Tokyo, and for the first time we managed to invite with us a Javanese guest career consultant, Reina Noguchi, to share with her expertise in Japan’s unique job market.

Our distinguished OBOGs this time included Iris Wieczorek, a researcher by training and founder of IRIS, and Gustavo Dore, UX designer and founder of Motify, who shared their rich career experiences and their entrepreneurial spirit with the current MSA scholars to carve out their own career here in Japan.

We are pleased with the positive response and would like to thank all participants and especially the speakers.

Reception for MEXT Scholars 2018 in Kobe

On Saturday, 16thof June, MEXT Scholars Association (MSA) joined the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology in Japan (MEXT) and Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) for the reception of MEXT Scholars in Kobe, Hyogo. The event witnessed a participation of more than 250 scholars from the majority of the universities in the Kansai area and beyond. MSA volunteers took a leading role in organizing many activities for the newly arrived scholars and a booth was set up for consultation and on the spot registration purposes.

Some of our senior MSA volunteers organized seminars and shared their experiences in Japan so far. The newly arrived scholars also had the opportunity to clarify many doubts and get motivated for their life in Japan.

At the main reception, a senior MSA volunteer greeted the scholars and gave a senpai speech, sharing his tips and suggestions for the eager listeners.

A short presentation on the MSA activities was also made to introduce the newly arrived scholars to our community.

This time we introduced a puzzle game as an icebreaker before the networking party. The scholars participated with much zeal and enthusiasm.

We thank all the scholars for participating in the event and hope that everyone took back home something new from that day. On behalf of MSA, we wish everyone all the very best for their life in Japan and looking forward to meet everyone again at one of our events.

Pictures taken by Fabian Hia & Yeekien Chong

Food Party at Osaka University

The MEXT Scholarship for Undergraduates is a 5 year program, for students out of high-school to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Japan in Japanese. They are split between Tokyo and Osaka, while the U-Program is for the Osaka based students. For many of the students this is their first time abroad (in Japan) or even learning Japanese. We thought an event by MSA could provide a good opportunity for them to get to know each other, try multiple cuisines and learn more about MSA, so we organized a food party at Osaka University for undergraduates on the 1st of June.

Since the MEXT Undergraduates will stay in Japan for at least 5 years, it would be nice to have a proactive bachelors community. That was one of the reasons the MSA Kansai team wanted to organise this event for them.

There was a brief introduction about MSA, its goals and its purpose and then everyone joined in to eat! The food was really tasty, so our Kouhai will be able to feed themselves in the future.

We hope that everyone enjoyed the experience and we look forward to seeing you at our next event!

Welcome Events Spring 2018

In April MSA held welcome meet ups in Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Kansai and Kyushu. We would like to thank everyone who participated and contributed in making every single meet up a success!

To give you an impression of the events, here are some pictures:










Thank you to all of those who were involved and who attended! We hope to see you at our next event!

Featured image taken from (2018/05/04)

Cherry Blossom Meeting in Kansai

On Sunday, the 8th of April the MSA Kansai Team met with 28 MEXT scholars to celebrate the start of the spring semester and to pre-welcome the newly arrived scholars in Kansai.    

The event started at 1 pm near the banks of Kamogawa; this river is an integral part of the student life in Kyoto. Everyone gathered around and had a quick introduction session while enjoying beverages. People from far off- places like Kobe and Nagoya also attended the event.

Meeting at the banks of Kamogawa, Kyoto

It was a chilly spring day. So, after around half an hour, the party made its way towards Falafeel Garden, the designated lunch venue near Demachiyanagi Station. Here they met up with other scholars. While enjoying the light lunch together, the MSA team came to understand, the expectations and aspirations of the newly arrived scholars, which set foundations for new networking opportunities. The event ended at 5 pm with a promise to meet again at the official end-of-April MSA welcome parties in different parts of Kansai.

Lunch at Falafeel Garden, Kyoto


It was a memorable day! Looking forward to meeting y’all again!

Hanami in Kyushu

Cherry blossom season is a magical time to experience the joy of being in Japan and to celebrate the start of spring under blooming cherry blossom trees!

The Kyushu team organized a Hanami or cherry blossom viewing event on the 30th of March in Maizuru Park, Fukuoka. It was a perfect sunny day to enjoy the Sakura trees in full bloom. The event started at 10:30 am, but the numbers kept increasing till 2:00 pm. A hearty lunch followed, consisting of snacks and drinks, sponsored by both MSA and scholars participating in the event.

Hanami at Maizuru Park, Fukuoka

The MVP of the event was Maximiano Cassal from Brazil, who baked and brought a delicious chocolate cake. After some hours chatting and getting to know each other while sitting under cherry blossom trees, the scholars and their friends attending the event walked around Maizuru park and checked out the ruins of the Fukuoka Castle.

The event came to an end at around 5 pm, with the promise of meeting again during the spring intake welcome event.

Hanami at Maizuru Park, Fukuoka

Hope everyone had a great time and we can’t wait to to see you at our next event!