M Saiham Hossain
MEXT Scholar at Ritsumeikan University Even 5 years ago, when someone said study abroad, people usually thought about the US, UK, Australia and the other English-speaking countries, But now, in 2021, Japan not only is another country that is very common amongst aspirants, but a country where numerous international students are now considering. All of this was possible for people like our guest, M Saiham Hossain, who brought Japan to the highlight. In today’s interview, we talked with Saiham, the founder and CEO of ConnectJapan, the world’s #1 Japan higher education platform.
Q: Thank you for joining the interview, Saiham. Could you tell us something about yourself for the audience?
It is my pleasure to be here. So, I am a 21-year-old from Bangladesh currently pursuing a dual degree at Ritsumeikan University, Japan and the Australian National University. My interest coincides with the fourth UN SDG goal of making education more accessible. I dream of a world where education is more accessible to everyone, which I am incredibly passionate about.
Q: Why Japan, though? How did Japan come to your interest from all these countries?
Well, I always had a soft corner for Japan from childhood. The culture, people and the country itself, always fascinated me. However, as I grew older, I realized Japan provides incredible opportunities to international students, which many students did not know. Therefore, I wanted to share these opportunities with everyone, and hence, I was slowly learning about Japan and sharing all the information and resources I have about Japan.
Q: Let’s go straight into ConnectJapan. Could you tell us in short what ConnectJapan is?
Sure! In one line, ConnectJapan is Asia’s largest platform to help international students study in Japan. Our team of around 200 people from 15 different countries is constantly trying to educate the youth about Japan, its opportunities and how to apply and study here.
Q: Oh, that’s interesting, so how did ConnectJapan start?
It started around 2019 when I started writing blogs online talking about Japan, its opportunities and all. After some time, I realized that my audience was growing, and I needed to formalize everything. So, I started a platform where all resources about Japan would be compiled, and a place for the youth to ask questions and clear their confusions. That’s how ConnectJapan was born.
Q: That’s nice. So, currently, how is the audience at ConnectJapan now?
With 50,000 followers on social media, ConnectJapan has the most robust social media presence in Asia regarding Japan’s higher education. Our Facebook page reaches around 80,000 people with almost 20,000 interactions every week. Our Facebook group has about 27,000 people, with the average post reaching at least 2000 people and getting around 150 engagements and 30 reactions. Apart from Facebook, ConnectJapan also has a strong presence on other platforms, including about 600 followers on LinkedIn and reaching 60+ people. In addition, we have around 100 followers on Twitter with 50+ impressions. Moreover, on Instagram, ConnectJapan has over 500 followers, with 250+ people reaching every post and 100 reactions. Lastly, we just started on YouTube with 200 views per video and 1.6 hours of watch time on our channel with around 300 subscribers. To sum up, ConnectJapan has an impeccable presence on social media, reaching numerous audiences.
Q: That’s nice! So, what services do ConnectJapan provide for these audiences?
ConnectJapan works in two sectors, with students and with companies. First, for students, we provide both FREE and paid services. Complimentary services include guidance regarding higher education, sharing opportunities and building a network through our Facebook group. For paid services, we provide our Premium Mentorship Program, an eight-month program to help students from absolute zero to search, apply, get scholarships, and finally fly to Japan. Secondly, ConnectJapan works closely with different companies, including brands, universities and institutions, to promote, sell or be their autopsied partners. So far, we have worked with over 15 companies with having seven partners around the world.
Q: What are your future plans for ConnectJapan? Anything that you are planning to launch?
ConnectJapan is launching its “clubs”, including the Japanese Club and the MEXT Club. We shall have a Facebook group and Discord Server in all these clubs, which will be open to everyone to share tips, tricks, and various resources. Apart from these FREE services, we will also provide paid services in these clubs like different courses and programs.
Q: Where can students find ConnectJapan to take your help?
The best place to get our help would be in our Facebook group called “Study Abroad in Japan – ConnectJapan”. Here, they can post their questions, concerns and confusions where our expert team will answer and get in touch with them if required.
Q: Any final words to the youth?
It’s okay to fail; if you are not failing, you are not trying something new. Remember, every successful person had been in our lowest point as well, and the thing wasn’t we were the smartest or the only hard-working people. What differentiated us was that we did not give up. It’s not a failure when you fail; it’s a failure when you give up. You are incredible, and giving up should not be in your dictionary.
About the Author:
M Saiham Hossain comes from Bangladesh and is an Undergrad student pursuing double degree at Ritsumeikan University, expecting graduation in 2024.
You can find him on LinkedIn.