FAQs: Studying Abroad at Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo

7 July 2023

Tiffany Chan answers common questions about studying in Tokyo

Studying abroad can feel daunting. You will have to leave behind a familiar environment, surrounded by people you love and trust, and immerse yourself into a brand-new environment. It is surely a big decision that is made with a lot of courage. In this blog, I will cover some of the common questions students have about studying abroad. My answers will be based on the support provided by my host university – Hitotsubashi University (一橋大学)

1 Financing

Do I need to open a bank account? How do I do that?

Most international bank cards can be used in Japan. If you need to withdraw money, you can visit 7-Eleven (convenience store) and use their ATMs. There are over 76,000 ATMs at 7-Eleven stores across Japan. If you want to know their locations, check this out! However, if you need to receive your stipend from scholarships, you will have to open a bank account. The most convenient way is to create an account with Japan Post Bank. The application can be completed online through this website. If you prefer doing it in-person, here is an English step-by-step guide.


2 Accommodation  

Where will I be living? What are the options?

Hitotsubashi gives exchange students to choose if they wish to live in the student dormitories or to find their own housing. For student dormitories, there are two options, (1) Kunitachi and (2) Ikkyo-Ryo (Kodaira). I live in Ikkyo-Ryo, both domestic and international students reside here. I live in a shared flat with 5 other people. We have our own private rooms, 1 kitchen and lounge area, 2 toilets, 2 showers, and 1 laundry to share. There are also Resident Assistants who live in the residence hall to provide support to residents, particularly, exchange students. They are very friendly and approachable, so if you have any questions, you can reach out to them. For more information about Ikkyo-Ryo, see here.


3 Language

Worried about your language abilities? Not sure what classes to take?

Don’t worry, the Hitotsubashi Japanese Language Education Programme will get you covered. Prior to your year abroad, the university will send you an email with all the information on how to register to take Japanese Language courses. There will be a placement test to determine which level is best suited for you. For more information, have a look at this page!


4 Activities/ Events

Are there any activities I can join? How can I meet new friends?

Of course, you will meet people from around the world during your year abroad! I have met friends from America, Denmark, Germany, Thailand and other countries. There are three main ways which you can meet new friends. First, through classes. I met some of my closest friends through the English taught classes offered by the Hitotsubashi Global Education Programme (HGP). There are a wide variety of courses offered by Hitotsubashi, an example of the courses offered can be found here. Second, through the language community (LC). Language community offers a space for students (both local and exchange) to engage in conversations in whatever language they prefer. This means that if you want to practice your Japanese, you can go to LC and speak to locals, and if you simply want to meet new friends and chat in English, you can also do so at LC. LC meetups are held every Mon, Weds, and Fri during lunch time within the school premises. There is no need to register in advance, simply walk-in and have fun! For more information on LC, you can visit their Instagram (@hitotsubashilc). Third, through activities offered by the International Students Dormitory Association of Kodaira (ISDAK). ISDAK plans events for the residents of Ikkyo-Ryo such as the Spring Welcome Party and the hike to Okutama. Most of the events are free of charge so they are great opportunities to meet other residents and make new friends!  Here are some photos of from the spring welcome party and the hike back in November.