|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/07/26 11:08 《Speak 2 Me》|
Poor Reception 接待不周的地主国
Foreign students in Japan have trouble being accepted
The opportunity to study abroad should be one of the high points of a student’s career and, for most students, going abroad is a life-changing experience. There are benefits for the host country as well. Not only do foreign students spend money on tuition, housing, food and clothing, but they also often take home positive impressions of their stay and the people they met.
But Japan, which hosts over 100,000 foreign students a year, is having trouble making the most of its foreign students. “I’ve been here for three years,” says a 26-year-old Chinese student in Osaka. “I don’t have any Japanese friends, I’ve never been invited to a Japanese person’s home, and I’ve never felt very welcome here.”
That’s hardly the kind of impression that the Japanese government wants foreign students taking home to their families and classmates, but it seems to be a widespread sentiment. One newspaper complained that, “if foreign students tell everyone how they hate this country when they go home, we should ask to what purpose we are hosting them to begin with.”
Many of the students arrive with hopes to learn Japanese and stay on for a few years working for a Japanese company. However, that doesn’t always work out. Many foreign students graduate from a Japanese university only to discover that “Japanese companies don’t hire foreigners because they think they cannot trust non-Japanese people,” says one disillusioned job-seeker from the Philippines.
This is a problem for universities. With the Japanese birth rate one of the lowest in the world, Japanese schools are turning to foreign students to fill their classrooms.
The government has actively tried to boost the number of foreign students, up from fewer than 10,000 only 20 years ago. But, as one student in Tokyo says, “Japan’s policy is one of persuading people to come and then dissuading them from staying. As public relations policy, it’s about as self-defeating as it gets.”