Increasing student mobility between nations requires us to think carefully about why students should embark on such journeys. Increased numbers must reflect an increased sense of purpose concerning studying abroad. This sense of purpose should shape the programs that are developed and be clearly articulated to students and faculty. It can also provide the rationale for garnering support across the institution. For partnership programs aimed at increasing student mobility, articulating the purpose of this mobility is thus the first step.
Here are four possibilities to consider in articulating the goals of greater U.S.-Japanese student mobility through partnerships for your institution:
1. Importance of the U.S. and Japan to each other (and more broadly)
As the CULCON Education Task Force Report states: “The U.S.-Japan Alliance is the cornerstone of prosperity, peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. This partnership, based on a common commitment to democracy, the rule of law, open societies, human rights, security, and free and open markets, has underwritten the dynamic growth and prosperity of the region for 60 years. The bedrock of the partnership is the close bond between our people [in which] student exchanges have a central place.”
As the first and third largest economies in the world, the United States and Japan are not only important trading partners for each other but also a force for global growth and development more generally. Both are actively involved in matters of global health, human rights, economic development, and environment. Both are globally ranked at or near the top in terms of the quality of their system of higher education. There is much our two countries can do together.
2. Importance to students
Study abroad, no matter the destination, develops student confidence, sense of direction, leadership skills, self- and cultural awareness, ability to live and work in multicultural and global settings, and sense of connectedness and responsibility to the world as a whole. In the United States, studies have also shown that students who study overseas have better grades, experience less attrition, and graduate from college at higher rates than students who do not.
Japan and the United States offer significant additional benefits to each other’s students, some of which they share in common, and some of which are distinctive to each country.
|Benefits of Studying in Japan||Benefits of Studying in the United States|
|A fascinating country, inherently interesting, in and of itself||A fascinating country, inherently interesting, in and of itself|
|High-quality universities||High-quality universities|
|Opportunity to do cutting-edge research||Opportunity to do cutting-edge research|
|Degrees and courses globally recognized||Degrees and courses globally recognized|
|Range of institutions to fit different students||Range of institutions to fit different students|
|Contact with international businesses, organizations||Contact with international businesses, organizations|
|Potential to build international professional relationships||Potential to build international professional relationships|
|Organizations concerned with human rights, environment and other global issues||Organizations concerned with human rights, environment and other global issues|
|Gateway to other Asian languages, nations||Gain fluency in global language of English|
|Japanese speakers are Internet’s third largest||Student-centered classrooms and pedagogy|
|One of the world’s safest nations||Broad, liberal education philosophy|
|Co-existence of tradition and technology||A global center of cultural innovation|
|Illuminates U.S.-Japanese relationship||Illuminates U.S.-Japanese relationship|
3. Importance to the institution
Enhanced study abroad programming also carries benefits for colleges and universities themselves. First and foremost, it enhances an institution’s capacity to provide a global education for its students. This is doubly the case when such study occurs through partnerships that foster mobility in both directions, a phenomenon that intensifies student learning through repeated contact. Dynamic study abroad programs serve to recruit students. They can also be constructed to support the particular mission of an institution through thematic and targeted programming around that institution’s strengths, purposes, and student body, as in the case of the engineering program described on the first page of this section. And when embedded in strong bi-national partnerships, such programs reflect and enhance collaborations in research, curriculum development, and institutional growth.
4. Importance to the nation
Japan and the United States have both increasingly recognized the value to the nation of globally educated graduates. Japan’s new Tobitate program and the United States’ new Generation Study Abroad initiative make such contributions to the nation explicit: a globally ready and competent workforce engaged with cutting-edge ideas and new ways of thinking; strong people-to-people ties that serve as a form of diplomacy and mutual advancement; a deeper understanding of diversity within the nation; and a willingness to tackle the pressing global issues of our times. Or, as it is sometimes put in Japan, there is a need to produce what are called Global Jinzai, or “globally competent human resources” as the nation finds its place in this century of increasing globalization.
Next up: Changes in Student Mobility »