Japanese college students' study abroad decisions: From the perspectives of Japanese study abroad administrators

Richard Porter, Noriko Porter


The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that impact Japanese students’ decisions to study abroad from the perspectives of Japanese study abroad administrators. In-depth interviews of five study abroad administrators at Japanese universities were qualitatively analyzed. Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems was used to identify various immediate and distant environmental factors related to students’ decisions to study abroad. The results suggested mixed findings for factors affecting contemporary Japanese students studying abroad, such as the inwardness of Japanese students and current Japanese government and corporate efforts to internationalize higher education. In addition, the study found that the Japanese cultural pattern of conformity and dependent parent-child relationships are affecting students’ choice to go overseas. These findings have implications for (1) study abroad administrators to use culturally calibrated strategies in facilitating study abroad participation through greater involvement of peers and parents, and (2) policymakers to provide more individual scholarships than targeted institutional support.


study abroad; Japan; higher education; international office administrator; qualitative

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