This week, Tatsu Hoshino, President of Rising Star, Study Abroad Industry Consultants, and Executive Secretary of Japanese agency association JAOS, talks about the growing trend of Japanese students studying English in Asia.

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My second book Study English opportunities in Asia was published in June this year.

I became a study abroad counsellor in 1986 and have been promoting language studies in western counties including Australia and New Zealand for over twenty years and have visited over 600 schools overseas. But I had never thought about writing books about studying English in Asia until I visited Manila and Cebu in the Philippines with a Korean friend in 2006.

What I saw was totally different concept in English schools and English teaching potential in the Philippines. That was when I started visiting Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, where English is publicly spoken.

And now we can see significant growth in Asia as English-language study destination for Japanese students: the number of Japanese students at EF Singapore has tripled in the last three years; and a Japanese agency I am working with that specialises in sending to the Philippines has seen numbers grow almost five-fold, from 216 in 2008 to over 1,300 this year.

So why do some Japanese students now choose to study English in Asian countries instead of Western countries?

There are three reasons:

1. Employment potential

Japanese corporations are understaffed in competent employees who can work and perform well in their new frontier market in Asian countries; so Japanese students who have studied in Asian countries are in high demand from these companies.

2. Great cost effectiveness

Let me give you one example about studying English in the Philippines. Normally, over 70% of teaching instruction is given on a one-to-one basis in schools in the Philippines. However, tuition is still much cheaper than regular group lesson tuition in language schools in Western countries. Furthermore, the living expenses are much cheaper, even in the big city like Manila.

3. The flattened world here in Asia too.

For example, trends such as Cool Japan, K-pop, Gangnam Style, sushi, ramen, Facebook, LINE, Whatapps

Digital natives can easily move across boundaries and connect. So as for the Japanese, they also feel closer to other Asian counties culturally and have more curiosity than they did say five years ago.

I believe the above reasons do apply to other Asian countries’ students as well of course. Although English schools in Asian countries are still under development in term of instruction quality, school management and marketing, they are already quite attractive alternatives for prospective students.

Tatsu Hoshino is the author of How to become a Study Abroad Counsellor and Study English Opportunities in Asia.




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