What You Can Do to Support International Students
In this week's #GivingEveryTuesday, we share what you can do to support international students studying in Japan.
According to the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), the total number of international students in Japan in 2023 will be 231,146. Many of them are enrolled in universities, graduate schools, Japanese language institutions, and specialized training colleges.
The majority of international students are from China (103,882). In addition to China, many international students come from Asian countries such as Vietnam, South Korea, and Nepal.
In recent years, while the number of international students coming to Japan has increased, the issues that international students face have also come to be taken up as social issues.
In addition to the language barrier, there are many challenges for international students, such as loneliness and isolation derived from culture shock and homesickness, inadequate institutional support, difficulty in finding a job, and peer pressure.
These challenges will not be resolved overnight. Rather, long-term transformation of government agencies and Japanese society as a whole is required. So start doing what you can do today.
The first thing you can do is change the way you think about interacting with international students. In Japan, there is a strong tendency to communicate on the premise that the other party shares the same way of thinking and values as oneself. For this reason, international students' anxiety about adapting to Japanese culture is increasing, which is one of the causes of misunderstandings and dissatisfaction in cross-cultural communication.
Now let's think differently. Even if you are Japanese, there should be no one who has exactly the same thoughts and values as you. Furthermore, it is no wonder that international students who were born and raised in countries with different languages and cultures have very different ways of thinking and values than myself. Nor does everyone have to think in the same way. Rather, there is a great possibility that various ideas will be born from different ideas of catch.
So start by changing the way you think about international students and intercultural communication.
Please refer to the ideas in this post and do what you can for the international students around you.