Foreign Language Proficiency as an Asset for Japanese Graduates


Raimond Selke, Goethe-Institut Indonesien, Jakarta
Tomoki Sekiguchi, Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University
Ashlyn Moehle, Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University
Abdelrahman Elsharqawy, Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University
Philip Streich, Graduate School of Human Science, Osaka University
Published: February 28, 2018

Citation: Selke, R., Sekiguchi, T., Moehle, A., Elsharqawy, A., & Streich, P. (2018). Foreign Language Proficiency as an Asset for Japanese Graduates. IAFOR Journal of Education, 6(1).


The present study discusses the findings from a survey of BA students in their 3rd year or higher, as well as MA degree program students, regarding their perception of Western corporate culture and internationalisation in relation to their foreign language major. The students surveyed (n=445) belong to one of 24 different foreign language programs. Besides demographics, the respondents were asked to state their level of agreement or disagreement concerning different scenarios they might expect to encounter during their first full-time position in a corporate firm. Data analyses were conducted with SPSS. A sample of students in non- foreign language majors was used as a control group (n=112). Significant findings are discussed within the theoretical framework of Stakeholder Theory in Education. Foreign language students have a higher perception and understanding of internationalisation than non-foreign language students. A statistical analysis of internationalisation among foreign language students showed the highest correlation for the following factors: Evaluation of English for Career, Status of Foreign Language, and Business Interest. The findings have a practical implication for human resource managers, as they indicate which type of students have the highest theoretical potential to help a firm striving for greater internationalisation. One limitation of this study is that survey respondents are affiliated with only one university. A future tracer study could test the model to see whether students with the highest level of agreement to internationalisation really are involved after graduation in the internationalisation process of the firms they are affiliated with.


human resource management, western corporate culture, internationalisation, stakeholder theory in education, status of foreign language