International Education and Social Impact: Perspectives from Japan
While considerable research has explored the economic contributions of international education worldwide, this presentation will delve into its lesser-known social dimensions, using Japan as a case study. Drawing from Polina Ivanova’s recent book “Civil Society and International Students in Japan: The Making of Social Capital” (Routledge, 2023), the talk will centre on co-creating social capital through interaction between international students and civil society groups.

Contrary to the prevailing notion that universities are the primary support providers, this talk will highlight the substantial role played by local volunteer groups as alternative sources of support and social anchoring for international students. It will also challenge the conventional view of Japanese civil society as top-down and closely aligned with the government by revealing a variety of decentralised and bottom-up volunteer groups involved with international students.

Additionally, the study underscores the active involvement of international students and other foreigners in Japanese volunteer groups disrupting the traditional guest-host dynamic depicted in the previous literature. The presentation will also address changes in service provision to and advocacy for international students that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, the study offers a reevaluated understanding of the social impact of international students and their involvement with volunteer groups in fostering cohesive communities.
Date: 26 March 2024, 14:00 (Tuesday, 11th week, Hilary 2024)
Venue: Zoom webinar (online only)
Speaker: Polina Ivanova (Ritsumeikan University)
Organising department: Department of Education
Host: Professor Simon Marginson (University of Oxford)
Booking required?: Required
Booking url:
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Kristina Khoo