Japanese Motivations to Study ESL Abroad in New Zealand: Their Similarities and Differences to Motivations Found Within Pleasure Travel
The export education industry is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide (Payne 2009) that sees millions of people travelling abroad every year (Weaver 2003). In New Zealand export education is the fifth largest export, employing some 32,000 people, and contributing an estimated NZ$2.3 billion dollars to the New Zealand economy (New Zealand Herald 2009; ENZ 2009; Payne 2009). It is important for destinations to have some understanding of the motivations that influence travel decisions so that they can successfully market themselves (Gnoth 1997). Such knowledge is arguably very important for New Zealand, a small global player in the competitive export education industry, which has had a decline in international student numbers in recent years. This research explores push factor motivations amongst Japanese adults undertaking short-term English study at ELS institutions in New Zealand. This area is being investigated because language learning is one of the world’s most important segments of education based tourism, Japan is one of New Zealand’s key education markets, most Japanese participating in export education in New Zealand are enrolled in English language schools, and poignantly because the number of Japanese involved in export education in New Zealand has been on the decline for a number of years (MOE 2006; MOE 2010; Statistics New Zealand 2010). In the face of such a decline it is important to develop knowledge of what motivates individuals. This knowledge has the potential to help the export education industry in New Zealand stem or reverse the decline in the Japanese export education market. This study compares push motivations of Japanese ESL students in New Zealand to push factor motivations from the general tourism literature. This approach was taken because evidence indicates that ESL students have other key reasons other than education to go abroad, including tourism related reasons (Batchelor 1988), there are indications that Japanese ELS students are motivated by a wide variety of factors not just those relating to the benefits of education (Kobayashi 2007; Watkins 2006; Watkins 2010), and because while the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) classifies international education experiences as a type of tourism (Weaver 2003) their motivations are rarely identified as pleasure travel motivations (Wiers-Jenssen 2003; Kitsantas 2004; Kobayashi 2007; Watkins 2006; Watkins 2010; Jarvis and Peel 2008; Nyaupane et. al. 2011). For this research a qualitative case study was made of a small sample of twenty-four Japanese adults undertaking short term English study within New Zealand. With this approach face-to-face interviews were conducted; these were then analysed in relation to pleasure travel motivations in the literature. Specific questions addressed by this research were: (a) What motivates adults from Japan to leave their home country and go abroad? (b) What motivates Japanese adults to undertake study English while abroad? (c) How alike and different are the push factor motivations of Japanese adults enrolled in English language study in New Zealand to push factor motivations within pleasure travel Findings indicated that participants were motivated to travel and study English abroad by bundles of education and non-education related motivations. While key motivational differences were found between the two groups in the areas of instrumental motivation, extrinsic motivation, and now-or-never motivation it was evident that participants shared many underlying socio-psychological motivations associated with pleasure travel influenced participants to go abroad such as knowledge and learning; anomie and escape; catharsis; novelty, variety, and change; personal growth, self-discovery, and change; affiliation, relatedness, and social interaction; and deep-seated motivation. These findings serve to support earlier suggestions that ESL students have key reasons other than education to go abroad; including tourism related ones (Batchelor 1988) and helps to reinforce the UNWTO’s classification of international education experiences as a form of tourism (Weaver 2003). This knowledge is valuable as it can be used to better market ESL education experiences to the Japanese market and better tailor programmes and experiences to fulfil the different bundles of needs.
Advisor: Gnoth, Juergen; Watkins, Leah
Degree Name: Master of Commerce
Degree Discipline: Marketing
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Study Abroad Motivations; Export Education Motivations; Japanese Travel Motivations; Japanese ESL Students; New Zealand
Research Type: Thesis