Studying in Japan! What Apps Should International Students Have on Their Phones?


photo by Miguel Ángel Avila LombanaFollow

Following the Council for the Creation of Future Education held in March this year, the Japanese government announced that it would aim to increase the number of international students who study to 400,000 by 2033 as part of its human resource investment scheme. The number of international students temporarily dropped after the breakout of COVID-19, but it is now expected to go up again. Most international students live in or even come to Japan for the first time. On top of studying at school, finding a part-time job making friends… there is a pile of tasks awaiting them. This column will introduce very useful apps that international students can use during their stay in Japan.


Duolingo (Learning Japanese)

Duolingo is a smartphone app that is widely used all over the world. Just by continuing to play a game for a few minutes a day, you can naturally develop your language skills. This app covers all levels from total novice to advanced learners. You can have a test and check your level at the beginning so that you can start at the optimal level for you. Lessons focus on daily conversations and sentences covering not just speaking and listening but also writing and reading.



Meetup (Community)

We know, international students are super busy. But you have taken this great opportunity to live in Japan, so why not get out of ordinary communities at your school or workplace and meet people who share the same interest as you? Meetup is a platform that allows you to search communities in various fields such as sports, outdoor activities, reading, technology, and arts. Once you sign up, you can join a community or events of your interest and see people you can hardly see in your everyday life.



Mynavi Baito for foreign students (Part-time job search)

International students are permitted to work in Japan up to 28 hours per week (8 hours/day during long holidays) by applying for work permission. Following the rapid inflation in recent years, most international students are keen to have part-time jobs. Among many smartphone apps by Mynavi in relation to job hunting, this app particularly focuses on part-time jobs for international students. You can sort and search jobs by Japanese language skill level in addition to the basics such as job category, duration, and location.

Mynavi Baito for foreign students


SUUMO (Rental property search)

While some international students live in dormitories or stay at someone’s home, others live in rental properties. In Japan, you need to get a guarantor when you go into a tenancy agreement, and this can be an obstacle when you try to find a rental property. SUUMO, an online platform for rental property run by Recruit, has many rental properties you can hire without a guarantor which is good news for international students. SUUMO covers all areas in Japan so you can use it across the country. Other than SUUMO, you may want to check ietty or Able.



Rikunabi/Mynavi (Job search)

Many international students studying in Japan wish to remain in the country and work after their graduation. In Japan, there is this unique custom that companies recruit new graduates in April, therefore students normally become busy searching for companies and preparing for job interviews from right before their final year. Rikunabi by Recruit and Mynavi by Mynavi are great tools for international students who are looking for jobs. These apps support your job seeking with many functions not just searching for companies, but also making job applications, applying for company information sessions or internships, aptitude tests, and self-analysis tools.



Enjoy your life in Japan!

When you start studying in Japan for the first time, probably you have to handle numerous tasks all at once, such as finding a place to live, applying for a part-time job, meeting new people, as well as your study. Also, you may have to move house or find a permanent job after graduating from school. In these years, along with the increase of international students, many more apps that supports international students have been released. So, if you are coming to Japan to study, why not try these apps to make your life in Japan more comfortable?





あきらことほ Kotoho Akira

Living outside Japan for a good many years, I often rediscover nice little things about this country every time I return here. I would be more than happy if this column may help you find your "nice little things about Japan"!

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