The Language of Science
At OIST, all education and research is done in English, the international language of science, so all students must be proficient in oral and written English.
For Japanese and Other Second-Language English Speakers
OIST encourages applications from Japan and other non-English speaking countries. Students not yet sufficiently confident in English may take part in an intensive immersion program in an English-speaking country prior to beginning their studies at OIST. Once at OIST, second language speakers of English can continue to improve their English in free classes taught by experienced, full-time professional English as a Foreign Language instructors. Students' family members can also attend these classes at no charge.
For Students New to the Japanese Language
Though located in Japan, OIST is an international graduate university where all education and research are done in English. Japanese language ability is not required. However, living in Okinawa is a precious opportunity to enrich one’s life by learning the language and culture of Japan. OIST's full-time professional Japanese as a Foreign Language instructors teach several levels of classes to accommodate the needs of OIST students, employees, and their family members, at no cost to participants.
Some students may start early to develop laboratory experience so they may benefit more rapidly from the laboratory component of the OIST program. Some students may simply start early to gain lab experience at OIST while others may be sent to a laboratory appropriate to their specific needs including language training. In such a case, OIST will cover student’s travel and accommodation, and they will receive research assistantship at the date they start the program.