Regarding the May 20 editorial, “Don’t be shy about study abroad“: I am skeptical of the opinion that studying abroad will assure Japan of a bright future. As the editorial suggests, it is quite common to get involved with foreign cultures in Japan nowadays. However, Japanese students’ inwardness is not necessarily a bad sign. Recognizing the benefits of staying in Japan and getting a job seems to explain the decline in the number of Japanese students who choose to study abroad.
While attending a Japanese university, I studied in Australia, Canada, Spain, Costa Rica and the United States. All of these experiences were meaningful to me because they provided different perspectives. Nonetheless, I enjoy no advantages for having had these experiences. My life is the same as that of other people who have never studied abroad.
While Japan is increasingly globalized, there are still very few opportunities for people to use the language and communication skills that they obtain abroad. Who can justify the time and money invested for learning abroad if one is aware of this fact?
As a result, does Japan really risk sinking into an “inward-looking nationalism,” as the editorial suggests?
Some people are alarmed by the ongoing phenomenon of globalization, which does strengthen Japanese nationalism in some part. The fact is, though, that people pay more attention to the world than ever. In such a globalized society, we can get access to foreign materials and information without leaving Japan. All in all, it matters what we think and do, not where we are.
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