Study Abroad Self-Selection Amongst First-Year Japanese University Students

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Andrew Nowlan
Ruolan Wang


Applying a mixed-methods design, this study aims to generate knowledge regarding decreasing study abroad involvement amongst Japanese students. Based on data collected from a group of first-year Japanese university students, the authors propose six qualities of a predominantly willing, or self-selecting, group of study abroad participants, including 1) achievement in English-proficiency testing; 2) prior international experience and authentic cross-cultural interactions; 3) purpose and meaning connected to international experience, 4) a perception of barriers to study abroad as surmountable; 5) flexible beliefs on job hunting and lifetime employment; and 6) greater international posture. This paper concludes with a discussion on the applicability of our findings to universities across Japan and in the Asia- Pacific region. Furthermore, we discuss the potential of fostering study abroad intent in the second language classroom, thus leading to greater study abroad interest and participation.


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