The SAF 'Japan in Focus' Webinar - five key takeaways
Wednesday November 18th, 2020
SAF hosted the invite only ‘Japan in Focus’ Webinar to over 60 partner institution attendees. The webinar is part of the ‘In Focus’ webinar series highlighting changes to overseas study markets and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on student mobility.
The event was co-paneled by Brett Rumminger and Carol Carmody. Brett is the Director of SAF Japan, he’s been based in the country for the last 25 years and served as the Director for the last seven. Carol is SAF’s Executive Director and amongst her 30 years of experience she’s accumulated a variety of international education specialties including: US outbound study abroad, international admissions, English language program management and marketing and international student advising. Carol was in fact, a founding member of SAF. Attendees tuned in to hear the two proven experts share thoughts on the Japanese outbound students market.
Carol and Brett covered; SAF’s experiences over spring and summer 2020 and COVID-19 responses from Japanese Universities. They reintroduced attendees to the Japanese student market including necessary planning times and considerations as well as specificities of the market. They concluded with a look the future including the post-COVID-19 world and virtual programming.
Cautious COVID-19 response
Speaking on with the background of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic Brett and Carol walked through student’s return from overseas and the government’s current recommendation against travel “most universities have already decided that they will not allow any departures prior to at least April 1st, 2021. Some have indicated that they expect they will not be able to allow overseas travel for summer or fall 2021 and one university has already informed us that they plan to not allow overseas travel until at least April 2022.”
Throughout the presentation both Carol and Brett emphasized the importance of sharing information with SAF and home university partners. In Brett’s words “students and Japanese universities tend to expect an abundance of very detailed information regarding every aspect of their program, often many months in advance.”
Working within government approval
Brett stressed the importance of MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) in Japanese University decision making. “Given the complexity of the MEXT regulations, this is one area where SAF can continue to work closely with all of you to create programs that meet the needs of the Japanese market.”
“Universities are often willing to approve a program if the student is able to take at least one credit-bearing academic class…In this way, guaranteeing that students are able to take even a single academic class allows home universities to classify the study abroad as ‘Approved’, potentially unlocking additional funding and allowing students to graduate within four years.”
Carol shared valuable insights on the future of virtual programming stating “when it comes to virtual programs, Japanese universities and students are really keen on having interactions with their peers… they really do value the experiential nature and cross cultural interaction that study abroad provides.”
Interested to hear more? Let us know and we’ll be happy to share more details on past webinars and information on upcoming events.