What is the Best Thing About Studying in Kyoto? The Utmost Diversity!

Why Study in Kyoto? The Sheer Diversity

The sheer diversity in Kyoto is outstanding! Not only do you have the everyday tourist, but you also have the diverse array of students and faculty members from all over the world. According to a presentation by a Kyoto City Official at Kyoto Makers Garage, there are currently 150,000 students studying at 38 universities in Kyoto. And an astounding 9,000 of these students are from foreign countries. This means that 6% of all students are foreigners in Kyoto, and more impressively, students make up 10% of the population according to the International Student Study Kyoto Network.

Why Study at Kyoto University?

Moreover, my university boasts over 500 courses in English, 10 Nobel Prize Laureates, 402 foreign faculty members since May 2017, and over 2,000 international students studying at Kyoto University since May 2017. Furthermore, these 2,000 students represent 100 countries and territories, which means that we have an exceptional rate of diversity.

How Does Kyoto University Compare with UC Berkeley — My Alma Matter?

Let’s compare my graduate school’s statistics with my undergraduate school — UC Berkeley. According to the university’s statistics in 2018, there are 6,569 international students, including the undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students. But when I was a student at UC Berkeley between 2007 and 2011, there were between 2,785 and 4,548 international students, respectively. Thus, the number of international students at UC Berkeley has been steadily increasing each year. Also, UC Berkeley boasts more than 30 Nobel Prize Laureates.

What Makes Kyoto University Different from UC Berkeley?

But what makes the two universities quite different, is two major things.

  1. While the number of international foreign students studying at UC Berkeley is significantly higher, the students represent only 74 countries, versus 110 countries at Kyoto University.

  2. There are over 4,000 scholarships to study in Japan, so I believe there is a more diverse array of people from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

UC Berkeley admits on their website that it’s quite difficult for international students to receive financial aid.

What About Eligibility for International Students?

Funding an education as an international student at a university in the United States can be challenging. International students are ineligible for university, state, or federal financial aid funds processed by the Berkeley Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. 

We strongly encourage international students to research scholarship opportunities from private organizations both within the U.S. and in your home country. We also encourage international students to research your specific academic departments for awards or scholarships available to international students.  Please see our International Students page for more information.”

What Is Everyday Life Like in Kyoto? And Why is Kyoto a Good Place to Study?

This past week, I had the great fortune to meet with a French person in the morning to sell a household item. Then, I had a relaxing and luxurious lunch with a German and his Panamanian wife. Afterwards, I went to my research lab with students from China, and then finally, I sold another household item to a Bangladeshi husband and wife.

There are very few cities in the world that can claim to be a melting pot of cultures — think New York or London, but what sets all of these cities apart from Kyoto, is the fact that many of these foreign students and workers, are here on generous scholarships from the Japanese government, or private Japanese corporations, or even wealthy Hong Kong and Chinese individuals.

I didn’t realize how special this city was, until I had lived here for over a year, and realized that the friends that I had accumulated in my life, were literally from all over the world. For example, I’ve interviewed Niyati Rawal and Karhtik Rampalli from India, Lincoln Waweru from Kenya, and Katrina Navallo from the Philippines.

Having Lunches with Students From all Over the World in Kyoto

But beyond interviewing students for my website, I routinely have lunches with people from all over the world. And I randomly interact with people from all of the world through events, university classes, and impromptu gatherings.

Kyoto has served me well in many ways, but the absolute best thing about this city, is the utmost diversity!