Overseas Studies Becoming MandatoryUniversities in Kyoto "Promote Cultures Overseas"12 May 2015 - Education/University
A growing number of departments and courses in universities in Kyoto have begun requiring overseas studies. As the Japanese government promotes internationalization of universities, each university is making its own efforts. Among these, Ritsumeikan University has decided to permanently establish an education program that requires studying in China and Korea respectively for one year from the 2016 academic year.
Ritsumeikan University places emphasis on Asia with its deep connections to Japan. Starting with the freshman class in the College of Letters in academic 2016, the university will send 20 students annually to Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in China and Dongseo University in Korea in their second and third years. On the presumption that the students should apply for that program, the Admission Office will also hold special entrance examinations to select students on the basis of their language abilities and through interviews.
The College of Letters states, "Through two years of long-term overseas study, we would like to train our students to take active roles in East Asia by learning history and culture, as well as the Chinese and Korean languages."
The Japanese government has positioned the internationalization of universities as a key pillar of its economic growth strategy. Last autumn, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has selected "Super Global Universities" to support universities which actively send Japanese students abroad and receive international students. In response to that, many universities have begun to intensify their efforts.
The international education program prototype was set up by Doshisha University. Its Faculty of Global Communications, founded in academic 2011, has made one-year overseas study compulsory in both the English and Chinese courses. In addition, its graduation requirements will include achieving certain points or grade levels in language proficiency tests such as TOEIC, the Chinese proficiency test, and others.
Ryukoku University's Department of Global Studies in the Faculty of International Studies, which was founded this spring, has graduation requirements of long-term overseas study and certain scores on English proficiency tests. The English communication course in the newly-established Department of Kyoto Studies of the Faculty of Cultural Studies of Kyoto Sangyo University also has similar requirements for graduation. In regards to compulsory overseas study, Kyoto Sangyo University's PR office explains that its purpose is to "enhance students' capabilities of promoting Kyoto culture overseas."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)