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January 20, 2011

Japanese student voices on "Go Study Abroad!"

Following on from innovative and inspiring work, The Real Voice of Students, Tim Murphey and his students at Kanda University of International Studies, deliver their next important message on studying abroad, challenging some of the assumptions that may underlie, "...Japanese young people's perceived turn against studying abroad and increasingly inward-looking attitudes." (The Mainichi Daily News, January 5, 2011)

And if you would like to join us, MASH Collaboration & JALT will be hosting Representables 2011: A weekend with Tim Murphey, Feb 11-12, in Nagano with the theme: Inviting student voices. We hope you can make it!

In the meantime, please enjoy the video and article below.

Philip Shigeo Brown
Editor, Learners' Voices

The Real Voice of Japanese Students 2: GO STUDY ABROAD! (Click to watch)
Videoed by Yuichi Suga and Tim Murphey
Mixed and edited by Yuichi Suga
Script edited by about 100 students

The Making of RealVoice2: Go Study Abroad!
Tim Murphey

The decreasing numbers of Japanese students who are going to US to study was reported in The Wall Street Journal on November 18, 2010 (14% less in 2008 and 15% less in 2009) while students from South Korea, India, and China going to the US are increasing. Japanese going abroad to other foreign countries are also decreasing. The news media blame it on three factors: the fact that most students who want to go abroad still need to pay a fee to their home institution while paying the foreign school as well (double tuition); the job-hunting system that has crept into the end of students’ second year in school now and the fanning of fear of not having a job upon graduation; and the poor attitudes of students (which when you consider the first two causes, makes sense actually).

The spur for the video came from a student in my media English class who brought me the double tuition article and then we found many more. My students would truly like to go abroad (and several are still daringly doing so!) But they feel trapped in a “catch 22.” The script we made benefited from student-feedback and trail-videoing in three different classes.

It was filmed on Dec. 9, 2010 and Yuichi Suga did a great job mixing and editing the final version. We hope the government, companies, and universities will lend an ear and change procedures so that study abroad becomes more attractive and less of a burden.

An interesting outcome of the video for me was a non-verbal gesture that one student made below in the photo (on the right):


The question from Uncle Sam (on the left) was “Are you serving your country?” With the advent of globalization and a greater sense of altruism in the world today, young people worldwide are stepping up to the challenge and saying “Go see the world!” and “Learn about WHAT you, and your country, can do to make the WORLD a better place!” In the end, we serve ourselves by serving the world. [Nasaki wa hito no tamenaraizu] …Think globally, act locally! These pictures side by side give me hope that the world is evolving (at least in some places) into a better ecology for altruism and realizing that helping others helps ourselves. For Japan to really make a mark on the world, we will need more internationally sensitive leaders and teachers and citizens. Thus, we need to help students to “Go see the world.” My wildest dream in this regard? If I had my way, every 13 year old, in every country in the world, would go abroad for a year. But for now I will settle for not paying two sets of tuition fees and only doing job hunting in the last year. These can be decided quickly by those in power and give our present students the rights that 90% of the rest of the students in world presently benefit from.


Most relevant articles
Fewer Japanese students studying abroad a cause for concern (The Mainichi Daily News, Jun 7, 2010)
Job hunt keeps students from overseas study (The Asahi Shimbun, Sep 24, 2010)
Home Schooling: Fewer Japanese Head to U.S. Universities (The Wall Street Journal, Nov 18, 2010)
Japan should encourage students to study abroad (The Korea Herald, Dec 28, 2010)
Fewer Japanese Students Studying Abroad (Braintrack, Jan 10, 2011)

About January 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Development in January 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2010 is the previous archive.

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