We live in an era where progress stems from international relations, and universities in Japan are fully aware of this. The call for producing graduates who are ready for globalization is high, and so is the cost. This is why ‘international dormitories’ is becoming a necessity in any university.
At International Christian University (ICU) in Mitaka, Tokyo, students are often equally divided between Japanese and non-Japanese in every dormitory room. This tends to force Japanese students to be more familiar with conversational English, and vice versa. ICU Deputy Dean of students Takashi Kibe says that this is a chance for students to learn about each other’s cultural differences and work their way around them. Reitaku University is also set to expand its own global dormitories for the 2013 school year, as it opens one on its campus in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture. The boarding school’s president Osamu Nakayama said that it has proven to be a very effective measure, noting graduates who are now working abroad and fitting in like a glove in their new environment. Waseda University and Shibaura Institute of Technology are also set to build and operate their own international dormitories.
Indeed, employers are actively seeking graduates who are fluent in foreign languages as they bring their businesses to an international scale. But, Japanese students studying abroad are dwindling because of the extremely high costs they entail. Those who wish to study at universities in the United States and Europe must be ready to shell out tuitions and living expenses that could amount to more than 2.5 million yen (approx. $26,400) per year. The international dormitories provide for a much cheaper alternative and the comfort that students are never really that far away from home.