Departmental Bulletin Paper Examining Japanese University Students' Aspirations for Study Abroad : An Exploratory Inquiry into Preferred Destinations and the Anglophone Centripetal Pull in a Globalizing World
日本の大学生の海外留学志望に関する一考察 : グローバル化の世界における留学先としての英語圏志向について

Bahau, Simon Peter

The discourse of internationalization and globalization is increasingly prominent in government programs and documents in Japan, and part of this trend has included a push for more Japanese students to study abroad during their tertiary education. The countries that students visit as part of these programs remains largely the choice of the students themselves, because there are considerable costs involved which is also theresponsibility of the individuals. As a result, there may be a centripetal pull in their preferences toward Anglophone center countries such as the US or the UK(MEXT,2012). This may indicate that students are lessinterested in visiting the very countries, such as Japan's Southeast Asian neighbors, whom they most likely need to interact with after their education finishes.This paper is based upon a presentation by the author and a colleague that described a plan for an investigation into the issue of students' preferred study abroad destination countries, and the reasons for their choices at a national university in Japan from the perspective of study abroad coordination using Button's(1994) construct measurement instrument. The issues to be explored include the extent to which program coordinators seeking to create study abroad opportunities for students should cater to their desires, and whether the disproportionate creation of exchange programs with Anglophone countries over countries geographically closer to Japan should be considered problematic. Themes of multilingualism and pluriculturalism will be engaged as they relate to English language education and international study abroad program coordination. Preliminary data will be presented and discussed.

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