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Views on Society on Global Understanding 2


Source: Chapter 2:Global Mindset from Monograph vol.53, " Relationship with Society -the Social Awareness of High School Students" edited by Educational Research Center, Benesse Corporation, May 1, 1998
(Supervising Editor: Dr. Masashi Fukaya, Professor, Tokyo Seitoku Junior College)

4. INTERNATIONALIZATION OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
(1) Orientation towards Overseas and International Experience

This section will examine the degree of internationalization of high school students. First of all, we surveyed how many students have traveled abroad. According to Table 1, 71.7% of the students have never been abroad (17.1% have been to overseas only once). Similar surveys were conducted twice in the past in "Monograph/High School Students." In the first survey, 88.1% answered that they had never been abroad (vol. 29, "Global Mindset of High School Students", 1990). In the second survey, taken few years later, the figure was 49.5% (vol. 42, "High School Students in the Era of Globalization", 1994). Although an increasing number of students have been abroad for the past several years, those who have had such an experience are still not the majority, considering the fact that the survey in volume 42 included students majoring in foreign languages.

Table1
How many times have you been overseas?
%
None 71.7
Once 17.1
Twice 4.7
3-4 times 3.3
5-6 times 1.4
7 times or more 1.8



Asked whether they wanted to go to foreign countries to travel, or to study, or on business, the majority (84.4%) of the students said that they wished to travel for pleasure "very much" or "quite so" (Table 2). On the other hand, only 52.4% answered that they wanted to go to study or on business. The figure is lower by more than 30%. We cannot make a simple comparison between these two surveys since the questions were different. However, in a survey conducted eight years ago, 15.1% and 13.8% wanted to go abroad "very much" on study or on business, respectively. This time the figure jumped by about 10% to 24.2%. In the past they wanted to go to foreign countries if they saved some money and had the chance, but nowadays the idea of going abroad seems to be more of an actual possibility.

Table2
Orientation towards exchanges with foreign countries
%
  Do you wish to travel overseas? Do you wish to go overseas to study / to do business?
Very much 54.4 24.2
Quite so 30.0 28.2
To some extent 3.1 14.5
Not so much 7.7 19.9
Not at all 4.8 13.3



As indicated in Table 3, the students without overseas experience are better motivated to try an international experience. This may sound like a matter of course, but we should try to find out what motivates those students to have an international experience. On the contrary, with respect to those who do not want to have an international experience despite their overseas experience, we should try to examine the reason.

Table3
Orientation towards exchanges with foreign countries X Have you ever been overseas?
%
  With overseas experience Without overseas experience
Interested(very much + to some extent) 47.7 64.4


(2) Behavior in Foreign Countries and Contact with Non-Japanese

It is also interesting to look at how these high school students would behave in foreign countries and to observe how they perceive their relationships with non-Japanese. Therefore, we asked if they would be able to live or work in a foreign country, or have contact with non-Japanese in the future. The results are shown in Table 4. The figures are the percentage of the students who answered that they would "certainly" or "probably" be able to do so. The answers are also broken down into those "with" or "without overseas experience".

Table4
Behavior in foreign countries / towards foreigners X overseas experience
%
  Total With overseas experience Without overseas experience
Able to show the way when asked by a foreigner in English 56.8 54.0 63.4
Able to shop alone in a foreign country 54.6 48.6 69.5
Willing to join a home stay program for one year 43.0 38.7 53.8
Willing to study at a foreign university 23.7 20.7 31.2



More than half of the students answered that they would be able to give directions or go shopping in foreign countries. In a survey conducted eight years ago, only 30% of them gave us positive answers to the same questions. It would be fair to say that high school students nowadays are more internationalized. In the process of internationalization, one may come across the situation in which he or she may be forced to communicate with someone in a foreign country, rather than simply wanting to go abroad or getting along well with foreigners. In such cases, this kind of competence is also required.

Almost half of the students answered that they would be able to join a homestay program, while only 23.7% said that they would be able to go abroad to study. It seems that the systematic obstacles of national borders are still higher than personal ones. Having said that, considering the fact that only 10.5% of the students answered that they would be able to go abroad to study eight years ago, the social environment surrounding high school students seems to have changed and they seem to be more familiar with foreign countries.

A higher percentage of those students with overseas experience answered positively compared with those without such an experience. There seems to be a correlation between their actual experience and their confidence. In conclusion, high school students nowadays are more internationalized in terms of their awareness and social environment.

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