Activities and Reports
Our colleague, Yukiko Ishikura, participated in NAFSA 2023 and presented as a part of the panel session entitled ” Japan: The State of International Education in COVID’s Aftermath” with Prof. Richard Porter, the Director of International Student and Scholar Services, Texas Tech University Office of International Affairs and Prof. Shingo Ashizawa, the Vice President, Kansai University Of International Studies. The panel session presented recent research on study abroad trends from the perspective of Japanese students and international education professionals and provided an overview of how Japanese university internationalization efforts have changed in the aftermath of COVID.
Prof. Ashizawa offered the recent trends of Japanese internationalization initiatives, and Prof. Porter shared his recent survey results he gained from international education professionals working at Japanese higher education institutions. Yukiko presented our research project on Japanese student-making to study abroad under the pandemic. They were able to share changing internationalization trends from different levels and perspectives, and the audience coming from all over the world also brought different insights of the recent internationalization trends.
From 13 to 17 March, the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) was held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand. Our research team members, Yusuke Sakurai and Ryoko Nakano, participated and conducted a panel presentation. In this panel presentation, along with BoKyung Kim from Korea’s HanYang University ERICA Campus, Mirka Martel from the Institute of International Education in the United States, and Dora Longoni from the University of Padua in Italy, the presenters provided insights on the changes in student mobility and international education practices in their respective countries, regarding the current state of international education after the COVID-19 pandemic. Presenters from Korea and Italy also shared their experiences of rebuilding international education practices while accelerating digitalisation and inclusive education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This panel was held in the early morning following the reception dinner event, attracting an audience of over 30 people, which revealed the high level of international interest in this topic. From the pre-arrangements for the day of the presentation, Yusuke Sakurai and Ryoko Nakano, our research team members, believe that they made a meaningful contribution to enhancing the presence of young Japanese international education practitioners, which is one of the objectives of this research project.
Participating in APAIE 2023 provided us with an opportunity to rediscover trends in international education. In particular, presentations related to digitalisation and SDGs stood out. We realised that while there is a high awareness of environmental issues, Japanese universities are lagging behind in responding to sustainable higher education. Additionally, while Europe is returning to in-person education, in the United States, there were some opinions in favour of maintaining online education. Overall, despite being an Asia-Pacific international education event, we felt that there is a need to further strengthen the presence of East Asian and Southeast Asian countries and participants, as the efforts and participation of Western countries were dominant.
Four of the members, Sachihiko, Yu, Yukiko, and Yuki participated in NAFSA 2022 Conference & Expo held from 31st May to 3rd June in Denver, United States. The event attracted many international educators and professionals from various countries and regions to discuss current issues of international education and expand networks.
Yukiko and Yuki had a panel session with Ms. Leah, M. Mason, EdD. from IIE, and Mr. Benedikt Brisch, the Director of German Academic Exchange Service DAAD New York, on 3rd June, which is the second day of the conference.
The theme of the panel session was “COVID-19 impacts on international education exchange in Germany, Japan, and the United States”. They presented the current trend of international education in Japan, Germany, and the US respectively.
Yukiko and Yuki discussed how Japanese institutions were becoming inward-looking while Japanese students were becoming outward-looking toward study abroad under the COVID-19 situation. The survey targeting institutions showed that the Japanese institutions tended to make decisions relying on government policies and domestic information/networks. In addition, many of the institutions have not been able to envision what kinds of study abroad programs they offered. On the other hand, the Japanese student’s survey results revealed that Japanese students valued on-site study abroad experience and hoped to gain local experience, intercultural learning, and personal development through it.
In reference to Mr. Brisch’s presentation, It was shown that there was a significant decline in the number of international students in Germany in 2020 and a strong recovery in numbers in 2021.It was also stated that the flexibility to the pandemic of European and German International exchange programs such as both virtual and in-person can possibly be adjusted. Coming from the experiences they had during the pandemic, many new digital formats for international exchange were developed and implemented in Germany. The changes are the new digital paths for German Universities such as remote learning, virtual international collaboration, and digital campus.
Ms. Mason from the US introduced the trend of international students in the past 20 years and mentioned the drastically decreased number in 2020. She showed how the institutions dealt with the pandemic during the past years. The most popular method was Hybrid: In-person and virtual. The in-person instruction was limited to only 2% of the total respondents for the survey in 2020. However, the percentage was increased due to the additional 27% of respondents in 2021. She also mentioned that US institutions learned from the pandemic experience and some administrations would be continued virtual, such as student recruitment, orientation, and advising.
The session attracted more than 30 participants from different countries and regions, which enriched the discussion session followed by the presentations. Both presenters and participants were able to be actively engaged and learn from one another at the session.
“How will COVID affect Japan’s internationalization aims?” in University World News
The article “How will COVID affect Japan’s internationalization aims?” in University World News, by Yukiko Ishikura and Sachihiko Kondo, was published.
Our colleagues, Dr. Sachihiko Kondo and Akito Okada, attended the AIEA 2022 in the last February.
Our presentation: “Insight into Japanese HEIs; notions of decision-makings to facilitate post-pandemic mobility”, by Sachihiko Kondo, Yu Sengoku, and Akito Okada.
Two of the project team members, Yusuke and Ryoko, participated in APAIE 2021 (The Asia-Pacific Association for International Education 2021) held on the 23rd and 24th March. The event gathered many international delegates from Asia, Oceania, and North America to discuss the current issues of international education. In particular, due to the current spread of corona virus, all the sessions were carried out online and focused on information sharing on the situations of international education affected by the pandemic at the different regions of the world.
The delegates presented their effort and challenges in offering online learning opportunities for students at higher education. According to their presentations, most institutions have well adopted to the difficult situation and explored new educational opportunities although there are some limitations. The emerging academic opportunities include not only the delivery of online formal education, but also new online internships, international dual degree partnerships, and transnational virtual scholarly collaborations. Many delegates considered that the development of new educational opportunities would continue and would not disappear even after reopening national borders. Challenges that the delegates often commented on included, for example, the sustainable practices of different educational formats, the development of new transnational partnerships which suit to the educational new normal and need for pedagogical development opportunities for faculty members.
The event brought the most important issues of current higher education. It provided us with many updates from different regions for the better understanding of the dynamics of international education.
CAEI Chile-2021 was held online from October 19 (Tuesday) to October 22 (Friday), 2021. From our research team, Ryoko and Yu participated and gave poster presentations. The platform was easy to use, and it was easy to access the program list and poster gallery. In the poster gallery, we were able to post a two-minute video in addition to the poster. It was reassuring to see the faces of the presenters, and I felt it would be helpful for future networking. Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English were the conference’s official languages. It was impressive that some presenters used multiple languages in a presentation. For example, one of them made a presentation in Spanish with English PPT slides. It made me realize that adapting to various languages is also an essential aspect of international student exchange in the new normal.
This time, there were two groups of participants from Japan, including the presenters. From this point of view, I think that the participation of the reporters may have contributed to the promotion of Japanese universities. However, since we hardly used the connection and message functions, we would like to actively use them to expand our network when we participate in the next conference.
Although the conference was held online due to COVID-19, it was a meaningful experience for us to participate in CAEI, which would have been difficult to attend in person.