In a thriving knowledge economy, universities around the world see international students as a key element in their survival and growth, while employers eye on them as a talent pool gathered from around the world. Japanese universities and business leaders are no exception. However, despite Japan’s efforts in recruiting international students and channeling them into a local labor market, their post-graduation “stay rate” stagnates. Drawing on ethnographic research and policy document analysis, Yamamoto argues that the discordance in approaches to international students in higher education and the labor market contributes to inefficiencies in retaining foreign talents. Japan’s academic internationalization, led by the MEXT, aims to raise the prominence of Japanese universities in the global academe and world rankings through enhanced research activities and better alignment with the global standards. In this context, elite universities have expanded English- based degree programs and bilingual administrative support, creating cosmopolitan “international bubbles” on Japanese campuses. Meanwhile, Japanese employers view international graduates as liaisons between Japanese headquarters and overseas markets or a supplemental source of labor in a rapidly aging society. As such, Japanese language proficiency and the adaptability to Japanese workplace remain to be decisive factors in hiring decisions. Upon entering a post-graduation job market, international students find themselves caught between the internationalized campus life and assimilationist expectations associated with employment opportunities.
Ryoko Yamamoto is Associate Professor of Sociology at SUNY Old Westbury, where she also serves as Co-Director of Academic Assessment. Her research interests focus on international migration and social stratification in contemporary Japan and her sociological curiosity is often drawn to processes of boundary-making, boundary-breaking and societal reactions to boundary-breaking. Her published works explore issues such as the immigration control and crime control nexus, the criminalization of foreigners in public discourses, as well as migrant-support activism in Japan. Her current research project investigates the intersection of education migration and labor migration from a life course perspective. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Sophia University, MA in Sociology from University of Missouri-Columbia, and Ph.D in Sociology from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She is a 2016 Abe Fellow.
Monday, 2pm-3pm (CEST), 9pm-10pm (JST), 8am-9am (EDT)
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Meeting ID: 923 0924 6995