Arama They Didn't

10:53 am - 04/12/2012

Japanese Students Not Hot on Study Abroad

Study abroad isn’t just a luxury, these days it’s a rite of passage for many students around the world. While more and more students in Asia and the U.S. are venturing overseas, a recent survey shows that just 57.2% of Japanese students, once the prototypical image of expat learners during the bubble, are interested in an overseas academic experience.

The survey, published by the Japan Youth Research Institute, polled over 8,000 students from China, South Korea, Japan and the U.S. in 2011. Even though 58.1% of Japanese students had been abroad, they ranked lowest of the four countries in terms of interest in a study abroad experience. In comparison, 82.4% in South Korea and 62.5% in China and were interested.

So why has enthusiasm waned in Japan? It’s not economic reasons, as only 19.5% of Japanese said that money was a barrier. And it’s not because they’ll miss home – only 10.3% said that was a consideration, compared with 30.4% of Chinese, 54.2% of Koreans and 58.1% of Americans.

The biggest reason that Japanese students cited for not wanting to study abroad was that life in their home country was easier at 53.2%, followed by “language barrier” and “lack of confidence in living alone” with 48.1% and 42.7% respectively, three criteria that the other students also ranked highly.

It could be due to apathy among Japanese boys. Some 20.4% of Japanese high school boys surveyed said they had no interest at all in study abroad, the highest of any of the countries surveyed. In comparison, 65.9% of Japanese girls said they were very or somewhat interested.

The lukewarm enthusiasm for study abroad in Japan is not a surprise given other recent data. Up from a low in 1986 of only 14,297 students, the number of Japanese study abroad students has been declining since it hit a peak of 82,945 in 2004, according to the OECD. In recent years, their Asian counterparts seeking an academic experience abroad have surged, and 2.25 million Chinese studied abroad in 2011.

The survey gives some indication of why this might be so when it breaks down the reasons that students do want to study abroad. While all of the 42.1% of Japanese students who wanted to study abroad said they one day wanted to work in an international setting, only 14.4% said going abroad would help them get a job. That’s much different from the goals of Chinese students, many of whom gave better academics abroad and better chances of being hired as incentives for leaving home.

Most Japanese companies have fixed hiring schedules and only accept graduates immediately after they have left school. The rigid system could be a deterrent to Japanese students, compared with their Chinese, Korean and U.S. peers who don’t face such strict hiring practices and might be more flexible to study abroad while at university.

Wall Street Journal
energenki 12th-Apr-2012 04:07 am (UTC)
That's what scholarships and loans-out-the-ass are for, LOL.
I'm studying abroad next year, and literally, me and my parents combined have about $400 max in our bank accounts right now. I will be in debt until I die. XwX;
hotarumusume 12th-Apr-2012 03:07 pm (UTC)
Debt twins! (Don't go to law school, kids.)
energenki 12th-Apr-2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Or rather, I would say this:

Do what you want, kids, but realize ahead of time that everything has a price. Accepting that will make everything a lot more possible.
hotarumusume 13th-Apr-2012 12:01 am (UTC)
Nah, seriously, don't go to law school. It's a bad investment these days - too many law schools, not enough openings. Unless you get into Harvard or Yale its not worth it.
energenki 13th-Apr-2012 05:20 am (UTC)
Ah, really? D: That's crazy, and sucks. By "openings" I'm guessing you mean, like, jobs? That seems to be the case with a lot of areas recently... The only other thing I might even be interested in pursuing, other than music and Japanese, is early childhood education, and everyone on the planet has thrown enough facts and blahblahblah at me about how, like, 2% of graduates in that field can even find work. So it's just encouraged me to try even harder to pursue being a singer, and leave the rest for later. But, like...wth. This is what happens with America's "expanding upper-level education." It's expanded too much, so now there's no choice but to get a degree, and thus, everyone HAS a degree, and "qualifications" for their desired job, but there STILL aren't enough jobs to go around.
hotarumusume 13th-Apr-2012 01:27 pm (UTC)
Well the problem is that the costs of going to law school aren't justified by the types of jobs you can get after. If you can't get a job as an attorney, it almost automatically becomes a bad investment because you're not going to make enough to pay back your loans.

There is a problem with credential inflation in the US, where employers are requiring MA degrees for jobs that should only require a BA. But the real problem is how absolutely ridiculous tuition has gotten. It wouldn't be so bad if we required MAs and they only cost 20 or 30k. But on average MAs are closer to 60 or 70k.

This is US only, obvs. Other countries are jacking up tuition, too, but not as ridiculously as the US.

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