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Japan: Universities woo foreign students with lucrative courses

When you think of education from a global perspective, most students prefer going to the United States, UK and Australia to complete their graduation. Japan probably doesn’t figure in many students’ lists mainly because of the preconceived notions of language and cultural barriers.

However Japanese universities are keeping a tenacious hold on the global student market by offer courses in English and opening localized offices in different countries.

Recruitment and liaison offices are sprouting up in various countries, for example, the University of Tokyo recently inaugurated an office in India, and the Doshisha University, a private university in Kyoto, have their presence in Britain, South Korea and Vietnam, among other countries. State-of-the-art technology, pop culture, manga and anime; basically everything Japan is being used to pull in the foreign students.

Last year in December more than 100 potential recruits attended a promotion held by Tohoku University’s local office at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Endeavors like this resulted in 1,432 foreign students enrolling at Tohoku University as of May.

Some universities are opting for partnership with local firms who have foreign offices, for example in April 2011 Meiji University opened an office in China leveraging its ties with JTB Corp., the nation’s largest travel agency.

According to the education ministry, Japan boasts of excellent research facilities for students; however foreign students account for only 3.1% of the country’s total undergraduate and master’s degree students.

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