CGHE Webinar 357

Networks of support: Civil society’s role in integrating international students in Japan and Australia

Date: Thursday, 18 May 2023 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar, registration required
Speaker(s):
  • Polina Ivanova, Ritsumeikan University

Event Materials

This event is now archived and we are pleased to provide the following event media and assets, along with the original event overview.

The role of civil society in helping incoming international students to adapt to the host country and integrate into the broader community has largely remained unseen, as most prior studies have focused on universities and government policies. This talk attempts to fill this gap in research on international students’ mobility and provide insights into practical ways in which interaction with civil society organisations (CSOs) is already helping international students feel less lonely and more included.

The talk describes two independent studies of Japan and Australia, allowing us to compare interactions between CSOs and international students in different environments: an established and globally leading study destination in a Western and English-speaking country, on the one hand, and an emerging regional hub in a non-Western and a non-Anglophone nation, on the other.

The Australian case is a study in progress focusing on volunteer organisations supporting international students in New South Wales, including during the COVID-19 crisis. Results of the Japanese case study will be published in a forthcoming monograph, Civil Society and International Students in Japan: The Making of Social Capital (Routledge, 2023). This study shows the possibilities for international students in Japan of creating social capital in the short term in culturally and socially diverse groups. It highlights international students’ agency and the active part they take in some Japanese CSOs, which challenges the guest-host dichotomy of the previous literature. The book also includes a chapter on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international students and their support organisations in Japan.

Despite their weaknesses and limitations, local CSOs in both Japan and Australia act as alternative providers of international student support co-creating networks of trust, exchange and cooperation.

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