留学生インタビュー

Studying in Japan leads to a deeper understanding of Asia, and of the world.

‘Universities in Japan are a gateway to Asia.’ These are the words of Michael Green, a scholar of political science at Georgetown University. I agree with his stance and strongly feel that Japan serves this role as a destination for study abroad. In recent years more and more students from overseas are choosing Japan for their undergraduate and post-graduate studies. Japan has close ties with many Asian countries, and is viewed by many outside of Asia as a ‘gateway to Asia.’ On the other hand, as they view their own country from Japan, peoples from Asian nations are able to think in more complex terms about their history and relationship with Japan. In other words, I believe you could say that an advantage to being in Japan is an understanding of Asia as a whole. Asia is also a region of the world remarkable for the growth of its population and its GDP, both of which will only continue to grow in the future. One can no longer talk about world affairs without including Asia in the conversation, and studying these trends in Japan is directly tied to learning about issues on a global scale. Of course, studying abroad in Japan in order to understand Japanese culture is extremely important. However, Japan is also becoming place for people all over the world to gather and learn about issues on a global scale. The ability to study ‘Japan,’ ‘Asia,’ and ‘Globalization’ is a defining characteristic of higher education in Japan.

Infrastructure to support international students in Japan is increasing.

Japan has implemented the ‘Global 30’ plan, a project meant to increase its international student population to 300,000 by 2020. Waseda University, where I teach, is one of the 13 universities that have adopted this plan, and where 4,200 international students from all over the world currently study. We are aiming for a future population of over 8000 international students. As a leader in the internationalization of Japan, we have begun teaching courses in English in both our graduate and undergraduate schools. Our ‘School of International Liberal Studies,’ established in 2004, holds nearly all classes in English, and other undergraduate programs are starting similar English programs. We also provide thorough support to help students with their lives in Japan. Our international departments are staffed with personnel who can speak multiple languages and are active in visiting student residences as needed. We also recently constructed a large-scale dormitory in central Tokyo with live-in English-speaking staff. In recent years many universities (not just those that have adopted the ‘Global 30’ plan) have worked to create an anxiety-free environment in which international students can pursue their studies, making study abroad in Japan an option without borders.

Students with experience abroad in Japan find success all over the world.

Former students show great aptitude for success anywhere in the world after graduating from Waseda University. For example, one alumni now works for their home country as a member of its National Diet, another uses their knowledge of Japan and Japanese culture as ambassador to Japan, and yet another received a literary prize from their home country while studying abroad here. Of course, there are also many who have entered Japanese companies and are working in the business world. Many schools in Japan are accepting international students, and just as there are schools that encourage students to work in Japan after graduation, many also expect them to go on to become global leaders in international organizations. Recent years have also seen more and more companies expanding their business and entering the global market, hiring international students of many nationalities in the process. The variety of courses offered by universities in Japan, including politics and administration, business, culture, and art, in addition to the many options after graduation is one distinct benefit of studying abroad to Japan.

What you should gain by studying abroad in Japan.

I like to summarize what I expect from international students in ‘3 Cs.’ The first C is ‘Competitiveness.’ Political and economic competition in recent years has been fierce, and in order to advance in a globalized society one needs skills which translate across national borders, such as knowledge of foreign languages and the ability to thrive in different cultures. The second C is ‘Cooperativeness,’ as understanding people from other cultures and working together is also important to finding success in international society. The third and final C is ‘Contribution.’ One must not have only a competitive edge, but also use their abilities to assist other people. I believe a true citizen of the world is one who contributes to the prosperity and stability of global society. Higher education in Japan is in the midst of making some very drastic changes. The introduction of courses taught in English, fall enrollment, and double degree programs are all innovations meant to provide a rich learning experience for international students. Academic freedom in Japan is protected by the constitution, and it is clear that the educational standard in Japan is very high on an international scale. I believe that studying in such an environment has enormous value, and highly recommend studying in Japan to those of you who want to gain the above ‘3 Cs’ and have your sights set on finding success on the international stage.

Uploaded on 25 September 2012