50 Years of US Study Abroad Students: Japan as the Gateway to Asia and Beyond
By Sarah R. Asada
Routledge, 2019

The phenomenon of pupil exchanges has been a longstanding apply for a lot of nations, and it has attracted the eye of researchers from all kinds of fields, prompting the event of an interdisciplinary perspective. Trade packages, which might embrace college students, teachers, policymakers and professionals, are the main focus of alternate diplomacy and is sometimes called a subtype or sibling idea to public diplomacy (Cull 2008). Scholar alternate packages, whether or not they’re short-term (one-two semesters) or long-term (greater than a yr), embody not solely the private {and professional} improvement of taking part people and mutual cultural enrichment but additionally play a task in nationwide coverage and safety targets. Amongst sometimes desired outcomes are the institution of non-public ties and networks, the advance of the host nation’s picture and the strengthening of bilateral relations between nations. In her e book, Dr. Asada investigates the Examine Japan program operated by the US and Japan, in an try to seek out “the impacts of examine overseas on semester/yr overseas members’ tutorial, skilled, and private improvement, as perceived by the members themselves” and inquire how the examine overseas expertise impacts “these subsequent behaviors and attitudes binationally, regionally, and globally” (p.2). To take action, she employs the fairly younger interdisciplinary idea of information diplomacy, which is utilized by Worldwide Training students (e.g., Knight 2020) in addition to by researchers in Public Diplomacy and Worldwide Relations (e.g., Kim, 2012).

Exploration of pupil alternate packages is a posh process as a result of the merely quantifiable outputs (e.g., variety of college students or modifications in perspective) don’t symbolize influence, which stays laborious to measure because of the interference of innumerable contextual components, together with modifications over time. Asada’s work is price a particular point out as a result of it’s amongst uncommon analysis items that cowl 50 years of pupil exchanges between Japan and the US. Asada employed a sequential mixed-method explanatory design that at the beginning entailed the gathering of quantitative information by surveying Examine Japan members and qualitative information gained by in-depth interviews. On the one hand, qualitative information evaluation and interpretation might incur biases. However, through the use of such a combined method, Asada has responded to the decision of Bachner, Zeutschel, and Shannon (1993) for extra in-depth research of alternate packages with a purpose to higher perceive the alternate phenomenon. Regardless of the constraints of this method (a time-machine has not but been invented, so retrospective information was used), Asada was in a position to doc a number of vital findings that social science students, in addition to policymakers in control of public diplomacy and alternate packages, would possibly discover helpful.

The evaluation of survey outcomes by the prism of US-Japan pupil alternate dynamics is introduced in chapter 3 and describes the influence of exterior contextual components on college students’ selections to take part in this system and their futures after the expertise. Particularly, Asada outlined a number of the contextual components that decide somebody’s choice to go to one other nation and depicted the evolving affect on their lives. Asada in contrast the US members’ consciousness and perceptions of Japan. She concluded that these perceptions and consciousness, in addition to the provision of details about Japan, influenced college students’ choice to affix the Examine Japan program. By evaluating and analyzing the solutions of alumni representing completely different generations she discovered that Japan attracted alternate members within the pre-globalization period as a consequence of its mysterious and adventurous picture. From the mid-Nineteen Eighties it was perceived to current a “distinctive worldwide expertise” (p.58). Two different main components had been skilled post-graduation expectations and the shortage of different obtainable locations – up till Nineties, American college students may probably not select to go to different nations within the area as a result of respected alternate packages had not been established. This chapter, by picturing how alternate packages labored from the Nineteen Sixties to 2000s, served as glorious meals for thought on what future alternate packages would possibly appear like, how future college students will decide to enroll on an alternate program, and what their life {and professional} trajectories will appear like after completion of those initiatives.

The next three chapters (4-6) are the guts of the e book. Right here the creator presents information from surveys and in-depth interviews. The fourth chapter offers with the influence of participation in this system on the additional tutorial improvement of the members. Trade experiences impressed alumni of this system to research Japan in additional depth, by language examine, particular tutorial programs, and even by taking superior tutorial Japan-related levels. On the similar time, some members had been inspired to check not solely Japan however the area, so Japan turned a gateway to exploring different Asian nations (p.76). The message that the examine expertise in Japan could be a path to studying and strengthening ties with different Asian nations or being ‘gateway’ to different Asian states looks as if a leitmotif of the e book.

In chapter 5, Asada examines the influence of the expertise of residing in Japan on the skilled trajectories of program members over the 50 yr interval. On the one hand, retrospective strategies have restricted effectiveness in figuring out the determinants of conduct, and a few recollections could also be blurred or (re-)constructed. However, distinctive details about folks’s experiences and their life {and professional} trajectories remains to be found. It’s not potential to quantify all of the components that formed the skilled trajectories of the alumni, however as Asada reported with some descriptive statistics and in-depth interviews, the expertise of residing in Japan in the course of the alternate program had a sure influence on additional skilled improvement. She cites a number of examples from in-depth interviews wherein respondents emphasised that their Japanese language abilities and cultural comprehension made them construct their careers both in Japan (for many who returned to Japan after commencement) (p.88), or in Japanese or Japan-related companies in the US (p.92). Once more, for some respondents, Japan served as a conduit to different nations within the area, so respondents famous that the Japanese expertise allowed them to pursue careers associated to different Asian nations (p.94).

Whereas studying the e book, I felt that the creator tried to convey the impression that the Examine Japan program was virtually an simple good for private, tutorial, {and professional} improvement, which might contribute to improved relationships for each the nations concerned within the alternate and the person members. As noticed by Wilson (2014), destructive elements are sometimes omitted when analyzing the effectiveness of alternate packages and subsequently the image could also be incomplete. Asada has positioned nice significance on this system design as a potential figuring out issue for the private, skilled, and tutorial transformations of members. As her analysis exhibits, staying with a number household, in addition to involvement in extracurricular actions in pupil golf equipment, actually extends college students’ connections that may be recultivated for many years. That stated, the creator says little about how this system’s alumni connections developed with their classmates in Japan in addition to with their professors. It’s not clear whether or not connections had been made or whether or not they had been recultivated after commencement. Asada’s e book, in a fairly restricted vogue, offers info on what the destructive experiences and penalties of the exchanges is perhaps. When speaking about difficulties experiences by college students, Asada very briefly mentions the unwillingness of some examine golf equipment to simply accept overseas college students and points with host-families. As for the implications, she mentions the perceived cultural and societal variations that prevented alumni from return to Japan for work. The difficulty of omitting circumstances of poor alternate expertise and unsuccessful data diplomacy would possibly stem from the analysis methodology, given the identified concern of bias when utilizing retrospective information (Bachner, Zeutschel and Shannon 1993). For instance, over time respondents may really feel nostalgic about their experiences overseas (Werkman, 1980), quite than taking a extra goal view. Additional research may elucidate each optimistic and destructive experiences in relationship-making with classmates and their affect on data diplomacy.

These criticisms shouldn’t discourage readers from acquainting themselves with this work as a result of it is a wonderful e book that contributes to a greater understanding of the mechanisms of alternate packages as ‘data diplomacy’ (and even public diplomacy) devices. The e book could be helpful for each policymakers in control of alternate packages who would discover some insights into what parts must be included in packages, in addition to college students of Greater Training Internationalization and Public Diplomacy because of the e book’s depiction of the evolution of alternate packages and a few of its mechanisms.


Bachner, D.J., Zeutschel, U. and Shannon, D., 1993. Methodological points in researching the results of US-German instructional youth alternate: A case examine. Worldwide Journal of Intercultural Relations, 17(1), pp.41-71.

Cull, N.J., 2008. Public diplomacy: Taxonomies and histories. The annals of the American academy of political and social science, 616(1), pp.31-54.

Kim, T., 2012. Paradigm Shift in Diplomacy: A Conceptual Mannequin for Korea’s” New Public Diplomacy”. Korea Observer, 43(4), pp.527-555.

Knight, J., 2020. Data diplomacy: what are the important thing traits. Worldwide Greater Training, 100, pp.38-39.

Werkman S.L. 1980. Coming Residence: Adjustment of Individuals to the US after Dwelling Overseas. In: Coelho G.V., Ahmed P.I. (Eds.) Uprooting and Growth. Present Matters in Psychological Well being. Springer, Boston, MA.

Wilson, I., 2014. Worldwide teaching programs and political affect: Manufacturing sympathy? Springer.

Additional Studying on E-Worldwide Relations


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