High school students less willing to study overseas

Kyodo

Japanese high school students are less willing to study abroad than their counterparts in the United States, China and South Korea, according to survey results released Wednesday.

The survey conducted by the Japan Youth Research Institute found that 46 percent of Japanese high school students hope to study abroad, compared with 82 percent in South Korea, 58 percent in China and 53 percent in the U.S.

Asked why they don’t want to study abroad, 53 percent of the Japanese students said that Japan is comfortable to live in, while 43 percent of Chinese respondents and 26 percent of South Koreans said the same about their countries.

The Japanese students opting to stay in Japan also said they lack the confidence to live alone and that it would be a hassle to live overseas.

Asked why they want to study abroad, only 17 percent of the students in Japan said they are in search of a better educational environment, far less than 77 percent in China, 39 percent in South Korea and 36 percent in the United States.

An official at the institute said that the attitudes of Japanese students “could change” if Japanese colleges switch the start of the academic year to conform to educational institutions overseas.

Discussion is under way among leading universities on whether to move the start of their academic year from spring to fall.

The survey was conducted between last June and November. The survey drew 2,458 valid responses in Japan, 1,032 in the United States, 2,235 in China and 2,292 in South Korea.

Among Japanese students who wished to study abroad, the largest number answered they would prefer to study abroad for more than one year but no more than two years, while the majority of their U.S., South Korean and Chinese counterparts said they wished to study overseas for two years or longer.

The preference among U.S., Chinese and South Korean students for longer stays probably reflects the fact that many of them aim to obtain a degree from foreign academic institutions, while many Japanese said they would want to improve their language ability.

About 40 percent of the Japanese, Chinese and South Korean students listed the United States at the top of the list of overseas study destinations, while Japan, Britain and Spain were the most popular destinations among U.S. students at 13 percent each.