What you should do when leaving Japan

This is probably my last post. I figured I could clarify a bit what practicalities I had to go through as I was finishing my exchange period in Japan.

  1. Visit the Ward Office. At the office, you will cancel you residency and health insurance. I was given the needed papers and instructions for filling them by Seinan Gakuin. The papers were entirely in Japanese, so instructions were needed. For the papers you have to know how to write your name in katakana, which is the least you should be able to do after living in the country for longer period of time. At the Ward Office, there was barely anyone speaking English, but me and my friends managed to handle it with our beginner Japanese skills! The process is pretty straightforward, moreover, and the staff kindly guided us to the correct counters.
  2. Paying your insurance. Canceling the insurance in middle of December meant that there was still small amount to pay. Paying it was done like any other monthly insurance payment – going to any convenience store, handing them the receipt and paying.
  3. Getting your residence card invalidated. This is done at the airport during the passport control when you’re leaving the country. They will stamp a hole through the card, but you can keep it, which is a nice memoir. If you’re leaving Japan, e.g for a weekend trip in Korea, and don’t want to lose your residency, it’s important to remember to let the officials know that you’re not leaving Japan permanently. This can be done through a form that you’re required to fill at the airport!

Then some things you should do concerning university studies. I recommend doing the paperwork while you’re still in Japan, but it can be mostly done by email.

  1. Ask your host university for Letter of Confirmation. I got the paper from JAMK, simply filled in my name and exchange period and emailed it to Seinan Gakuin office to be signed and stamped.
  2. Get Transcript of Records. In hindsight,  I should’ve done this before Christmas holidays, because now I have to wait a while to get it. But it’s basically just a record of all the courses you did and is needed for finishing documentation for the exchange.
  3. Pack & get some souvenirs – and enjoy your remaining time in exchange!’

– Mirva