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Japan awards 32 Malaysian students with MEXT scholarships

KUALA LUMPUR: The Japanese government has awarded the prestigious MEXT Scholarship to 32 recipients this year, comprising nine undergraduate students and 23 postgraduate students.

Japan's ambassador to Malaysia Hiroshi Oka, through a virtual ceremony via Zoom today, congratulated the recipients as they embark on a new journey in the "land of the rising sun".

"The MEXT scholarship dates back to 1954 and more than 1,800 Malaysian students have received and benefited from this scholarship to date.

"While you may find yourself in a different setting in Japan, the respect for traditional values and for our elderly is a virtue that both Malaysians and Japanese people share in common," he told the students.

Recipients of the MEXT scholarship are selected through a stringent process of application, examination and interviews conducted by the Japanese embassy.

Every year, the Japanese government allots 25 scholarships for Malaysian students who aspire to pursue their postgraduate studies in the country. Undergraduate students, however, are selected based on global competitiveness without any set quota.

The MEXT scholarship will fully cover tuition fees for the recipients and they will also receive a monthly stipend of 117,000 yen (RM4,200) for undergraduates and 143,000 yen (RM5,200) for postgraduates.

Japan Graduates Association of Malaysia (JAGAM) president Gary Tang said the first batch of students will be flying to Japan next Monday (Oct 25).

"The students will be leaving to Japan in batches, since they will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period there.

"Every scholarship recipient who is here today serves as a goodwill ambassador of our country in Japan. So, please do not forget Japan once you complete after your graduation," he said.

During the ceremony, Hiroshi also presented a certificate of commendation to Gary for JAGAM's contribution in strengthening bilateral friendship and cooperation between Malaysia and Japan.

Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari has also provided RM 2,000 to assist the scholarship recipients to cover for their quarantine costs in Japan.

Among the scholarship recipients this year were Soon Di Yee, 25, who has enrolled for a Masters' programme at the Department of Language and Information Science at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the University of Tokyo.

She will start as a foreign research student at the university for the six months of her stay there. Prior to receiving the scholarship, the former Universiti Malaya graduate also spent a year at the Kanazawa University in Japan in 2018.

"I hope to learn as much as I can and to be able to extend my knowledge on the subject I chose.

"I also hope to act as a cultural bridge to build closer ties between Malaysia and Japan in the future," she said.

Another recipient, Nurul Syuhada Mohd Al-Beari, 30, from Kota Kinabalu, thanked her lucky stars when she was awarded the MEXT scholarship to enrol into the Graduate School of Arts in Kyoto Seika University.

"I was surprised to receive the scholarship since it is very rare to get scholarships in the creative arts field.

"I will be enrolling in Kyota Seika University in April 2022 to pursue the Film and Media Art programme there. Prior to that, I will be attending Intensive Japanese Language classes at the Kyoto University for six months.

"In fact, I have already started my Japanese Language classes online since Oct 1," she said.

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