story of success

«Germans and Japanese say that Japan is Asian Germany and Germany is European Japan»

Our applicant Elena Dontsova successfully passed all MEXT scholarship selections and received an invitation from the top Kyoto University.
We discussed the green economy, Russian and foreign education, preparation for MEXT, and plans for the future
Elena Dontsova
Received MEXT scholarship and an invitation from Kyoto University with the help of our service "Full support"
Studying in Russia, green economics and a university startup
I am from Irkutsk, graduated from high school in 2016, and entered the Baikal University at the Faculty of Economics, majoring in "Small Business Management". It so happened that in my third year World Skills Russia invited me to a project. The participants presented their own business ideas, offered a business plan, and they were evaluated.

My personal interest was ecology. It later developed into a project that I started with my classmate and a friend. We wanted to do not just a business, but something ethical from all sides. So that it wasn't just a commercial venture.

We got into the business of making and selling candy from natural ingredients. But this is not really in demand in my region, and we, as third-year students, lacked the knowledge and skills to run this business. So after a year and a half we put the business on hold. I began to think about what I should do and what I should do. I decided that I was going to continue my education. At that time I had a good command of German, all my years at university I thought about going to Germany. I knew the language and I decided to take a job in a German language center in Irkutsk for a part-time job. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been to Germany. Because of the pandemic, I had to stay in Irkutsk and teach.

Not that I'm complaining, I like this job very much, but it just so happened that I left the topic of business and economics. With my experience in this field, I decided to continue my education. Since it didn't work out in Germany, I decided to choose something completely different. My choice fell on Japan, because the country is basically rich in its experience in green economy, in the field of economy in general.

It can give me a lot, could give me a lot in the field of my specialty, in which I studied, in which I developed. That's what I thought at the time, and I decided to apply there. That was one year ago.

Applying abroad and working with Univibes
I started my preparation, when I was going to enter Germany. I basically had all the basic documents ready: the motivation letter, the language certificate in English. I was applying to a program in English.

I found out about Univibes a year later, I just googled about admission to Japan and saw the company in search results. I looked at the deadlines, I had to decide something, I didn't want to procrastinate. I looked at the closest deadlines, and it was Japan. So I was doubly lucky. First of all, I chose it because it fit my specialty. Secondly, it was the right deadline. It was the end of March.

I had the most wonderful mentor in the world, Dinara Garaeva. We've done quite a lot of work on preparing documents specifically for Japan. We started to work in April, a year ago, it took exactly 2 months to prepare documents. We talked on the phone practically every week. We discussed Japan and potential obstacles there. I knew practically nothing about the country at the time. The only thing I knew was that Japan was a perfect match because the Japanese certainly specialize in my field. We discussed with Dinara what I could add and how to adapt my profile to Japanese standards to get a scholarship.
Studying and plans for future
I wouldn't say that Japan and Germany are much different in terms of green economy in particular.
I wouldn't say that Japan and Germany are much different in terms of green economy in particular. Japanese companies have adopted a lot of Western European and American experience. Japan has a lot of related firms to Germany. When we talked with Dinara, we put a lot of emphasis on this: a person who has Russian experience and knows how things work in Germany may gain experience in Japan and then combine these three aspects in his work. That is, I was not originally interested in Japan, exactly as in Japan; it was more like a piece of the puzzle in the overall picture. I was interested in it from the point of view of my specialty, when I started to choose an alternative to Germany. Germans and Japanese themselves say that Japan is Asian Germany and Germany is European Japan. Of course, the cultures are very different, there is nothing to argue about, but there are many common points and parallels.

When I applied, I gave priority to Keio University. They have a rather unconventional approach as they have more emphasis on practice than theory. There are a lot of projects, a lot of field trips, and they work on practical problems. That was my first priority when I applied. And my second priority was Kyoto University. That's what picked me. It's more traditional, they don't have such a narrow focus. They have economics programs and project management that interest me. I am more inclined to the latter, I wanted to develop their master's project is not just a thesis. And I want to realize it. By no means do I want to say that it's bad that Kyoto chose me, it's a very cool old university - it will be necessary to adapt my priorities.

Right now I'm already taking language courses at the university, online for now, but we're expected in Japan by the end of May. I can apply in the fall, or postpone, get my Japanese up to a decent level, I haven't decided yet. The program itself is in English, but since I got the chance to learn Japanese, I'd like to take advantage of it. It gives me more options, I'll be able to take narrower areas, subjects in Japanese, at least as a listener. That way I could get some more contacts and make friends with professors. That would be very helpful.
Invitation from MEXT
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