The National Institution for Youth Education (NIYE) released on June 25 the results of a survey of high school students in four countries – Japan, the U.S., China and South Korea – conducted in 2018. 51.0 % of Japanese students said either, they were “very interested in or somewhat interested in studying abroad,” 6.2 points down from the previous survey in 2011, ranking last among the four countries. This indicates Japanese students remain very introverted.
The survey was conducted through written questionnaires, receiving answers from about 1,200 to 2,900 general course students in each country.
67.2 % of South Korean students replied either “very interested in or somewhat interested in studying abroad,” while the figure for the U.S. was 67.1 %; for China, 58.2 %; and for Japan, 51.0 %.
49.6 % of Japanese students said, “I want to study abroad if it is possible,” 3.7 points up from the previous survey. Noteworthy was that 35.6 % of Japanese students responded, “I want to study abroad while I’m in college,” the highest among the four countries. 5.1 % Japanese students replied, “I want to study abroad while I’m in high school.”
Regarding the desired period for studying abroad, 64.9 % of Japanese students said less than one year. “Acquire a foreign language skill” marked a little under 70 % as the purpose for studying abroad. Many Chinese and South Korean students hoped that they would study abroad more than one year to acquire a degree or credentials.
To the question “Sometimes I feel like a failure,” 80.8 % of Japanese students answered either “Strongly agree” or “Somewhat agree,” 2.9 points up from the previous survey, showing an improvement in self-approval, compared with 61.2 % in the U.S., 52.5 % in South Korea, and 40.0% in China.
“It is important to increase the number of hands-on experiential activities through which students can become more interested in society so that they can realize they are of help [for society],” said Tetsuya Murakami, director of the NIYE’s Research Center for Youth Education.