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    【国際コミュニケーション学部】<コラム>Impact of Study Abroad on Japanese Students Remains Significant

     

    【2020年11月4日】

    Study abroad has become very popular among Japanese university students. While many students believe travel is helpful in improving foreign language fluency, they are also attracted to it because it is a lot of fun. What is often overlooked in these discussions of study abroad, however, is the broader impact it can have on a student’s personal growth. A 2016 study by Yokota Masahiro and associates (available at: http://recsie.or.jp/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Survey-on-study-abroad-impact_EN.pdf) underscores the lasting benefits of these international experiences. By surveying close to 6000 Japanese high school graduates, his team was able to compare the different outcomes between Japanese who spent at least three months studying abroad with those who never left the country for any significant amount of time. Although it might not be a surprise that study abroad respondents reported higher confidence in their foreign language ability and ability to “deal with other cultures,” these same students also indicated increased rates of self-esteem, flexibility, and communicative abilities more generally. Some parents might have concerns that their child’s study abroad program might be little more than an extended vacation. To the contrary, this study suggests a strong correlation between Japanese students’ study abroad experiences and their future career success. A study abroad experience of a semester or more is associated with higher average salaries and a higher chance of becoming a manager or executive-level professional.


    Given the reality of COVID-19, it is understandable that many families are having second thoughts about sending their children on study abroad programs. Universities in Europe and America, remain plagued by virus outbreaks. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that this pandemic will eventually end. Life will return to normal. Students who challenge themselves with study abroad will reap the benefits of these experiences. Through KUINS’ Global Research (GR) program, our Faculty also remains committed to supporting students in their overseas studies. With our long-standing ties to Asia and Asian exchange partnerships, we have also been fortunate in working with nation’s that have been less affected by the pandemic. For students who chose to join us, we will do everything we can to make it a success!


    (English Comunication Department Patrick Shorb)

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    (Photo: Author in front of the Humboldt University of Berlin)

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