Students Staff

19 May 2016

New study to compare the migration patterns of Japanese and Chinese Higher Education students

Study will compare the migration patterns of Japanese and Chinese students

Study will compare the migration patterns of Japanese and Chinese students.

A ground breaking project comparing where Chinese and Japanese higher education students go to study, together with the external forces that influence their choices, is to begin at Essex. The £600,000 project will be led by Professor Yasemin Soysal from our Department of Sociology and will be jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), under the Open Research Area (ORA).

Together with researchers from the University of Bielefeld in Germany, UNED in Spain, and Kyoto University in Japan, Professor Soysal will use an innovative research design to conduct a three-way comparison of the movement of Japanese and Chinese students.

The research team will compare those who travelled to the most popular destinations for Japanese and Chinese students in Europe, with those who stayed in their home country to study and with Chinese students who migrated to Japan to study.

Speaking of the study, Professor Soysal said, “Migration and mobility studies are often hampered because of the lack of comparable data between those who leave and stay. Such comparisons are vital for a meaningful analysis of the underlying dynamics of international migrations. The project is a unique opportunity to provide much needed accurate descriptions of student flows and stimulate further theory on educational migration patterns and processes.”

In addition to producing a bank of invaluable survey data on Chinese and Japanese higher education students, the research will also seek to inform governments, think-tanks, organisations and institutions involved in providing information and support to international students.

Almost one fifth of all internationally mobile students are Chinese, a rise from just 8% of the total in 2000. Chinese students currently account for 31% of the international student body in the US, 16% in the UK, and 62% in Japan.

Conversely, the amount of Japanese students who are travelling for their education, whether to a different region or country, is on the decline – and has been since just after 2000.

This project builds upon another study, Bright Futures, also led by Professor Soysal, which is looking into the motivations, aspirations and expectations of Chinese students in Europe and China.

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