Efficacy of Secondary Level Short Term Study Abroad Programmes between Japan and New Zealand : The Case Study of Darfield High School
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
International education has been a growing trend globally over the past thirty years. Since the late 1980s, the popularity of study abroad programme amongst Japanese students has also seen a significant increase following the international education trend.
A more recent trend in international education has been the development of shorter term study abroad programmes and the value of these programmes has been widely recognised in Japan. In response to Japanese government initiatives, Japanese secondary schools have developed short-term programmes in order to develop students’ international awareness. As a result, a large number of Japanese high school students have participated in a short-term study abroad programme in the last 20 years.
Japan and New Zealand have a long history of sister school relationships. By 2012, 191 Japanese high schools had established sister school relationships, and these school links have provided the impetus for exchange programmes; which means that many Japanese high school students visit New Zealand schools to study in short-term programmes (for less than 3 months) or longer.
Several scholars have investigated the learners’ outcomes of the short-term study abroad of university students. From their studies, it has been established that the main learning objectives of study abroad programmes, are second language acquisition, intercultural competence and personal development. However, little is yet known about the outcomes of younger students who have participated in short-term programmes; only a few attempts have so far been made to analyse the case of Japanese secondary school students’ short-term programmes, and few still refer specifically to programmes in New Zealand.
One of my main objectives was to determine a) what were the objectives of Japanese secondary students to participation in a short-term study abroad programme in New Zealand, b) whether they feel satisfied that their objectives have been. Also, as other researchers mentioned, could benefits such as second language acquisition, intercultural competence and personal development be claimed by secondary schools participating in these programmes – specifically the Darfield High School short-term programme that is my case study.
In order to do this, I conducted two surveys with four different groups of Japanese secondary school students who visited Darfield High School from 2009 to 2012 as a case study.
The findings suggest that many Japanese secondary school students expected to improve their English conversation skills, but they did not feel much improvement in this area after the programme, however, upon reflection, after the programme, students recognised that they had gained far more than they had expected in a general sense. For example, many participants expected to learn about some of the aspects of New Zealand culture as a result of the programme and indeed many students felt that they accomplished this objective, in addition to learning more about their own culture.
It is anticipated that the results of my research will assist those who organise study abroad programmes, assist students to maximise their learning, and benefit organisations who host students from overseas.