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. 2018 Feb;22(1):e1-e6.
doi: 10.1111/eje.12212. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

Perceptions of Dental Students in Japanese National Universities About Studying Abroad

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Perceptions of Dental Students in Japanese National Universities About Studying Abroad

H Oka et al. Eur J Dent Educ. .

Abstract

Purpose: Dental faculties in Japan have organised many short-term international exchange programs to enable their undergraduates to study abroad. However, not many students apply for those programs. In this present study, we attempted to clarify the factors that discourage undergraduate dental students from studying abroad.

Methods: We administered a questionnaire survey to 512 undergraduate dental students in three national universities located in different areas in Japan.

Results: Although 61.7% of the participants expressed interest in studying abroad, only 19.1% of them had prior experiences of study abroad or plans to do so. Their main worries were about lack of sufficient language ability in academic fields. Comparing those who were interested in studying abroad with those who were not revealed significant differences regarding their concern about lack of language ability and lack of specialised knowledge in dentistry. Participants who did not want to study abroad indicated that they did not perceive a purpose in doing so and cited not having foreign friends as a problem. Household income was significantly correlated with concerns about overall expenses.

Conclusion: Overall, language ability and academic knowledge appeared to be the two strongest factors affecting dental students' consideration of studying abroad. Dental schools in Japan can use the findings of this study to improve their undergraduate exchange programs in such a way as to stimulate greater interest amongst their students.

Keywords: dental education; exchange programs; studying abroad.

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