Differential Social Experiences of International Students in a Residential Hall in Japan





Socialization, Social network, EMI, Japan, Study abroad, Residence hall


The present study examined differential social experiences of international students living in a residential hall called ‘Nihongo House’ (Japanese language house) at a Japanese university. By conducting social network analysis (SNA), as well as making use of ethnographic data collected through participant observation and semi-structured interviews, we explain how constellations of interpersonal relations at the house transformed over the course of one semester and what factors were responsible for those changes. Additionally, we present three focal cases of international students. These students—with different motivational orientations, personal dispositions and abilities, and social standing—went through diverse social processes, which led to different levels of success in respective accounts. Based on the analysis, we discuss how social experiences of these students in this particular setting can be understood in relation to their language use and potential development and how this type of residential hall can effectively nurture interpersonal relationships.

Abstract in Japanese

本研究では、日本の大学における外国人留学生と日本人学生の人間関係構築プロセスを記述し、言語使用・習得への示唆を考察する。特に、寮という制度的に区切られた空間に着目し、寮の中で、1) どのように人間関係が構築され、コミュニティが形成されたのか、2) どのような要因が人間関係構築やコミュニティ形成に影響を与えたかを明らかにすることを目的とする。対象は日本国内のある大学に近年設置されたテーマ別寮の一つである「日本語ハウス」に住む留学生と日本人14名である。データとして、学期開始前と終了後に行った社会ネットワーク調査、半構造化面接、参与観察、寮に関する文書等を一学期間収集した。これらのデータを言語社会化の観点から分析した結果、メンバーによる活動の企画や参加を通したコミュニティ形成の過程が観察された。一方で、個人による参加のプロセスの違いや、コミュニティ全体としての関係、細分化された個人間での関係といった多層性を持った複雑な人間関係の存在が明らかとなった。また、異なる参加のパターンを見せた3名の留学生のケースを紹介し、彼らの参加プロセスに与えた影響について、言語能力(日本語や英語)、各学生の所属する複数のコミュニティ(サークルや授業等)における日本語ハウスコミュニティの位置づけ、ハウス内外の環境という観点から例証し、生活・学びの環境づくりについて考察する。


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Author Biographies

Atsushi Hasegawa, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Atsushi Hasegawa is Assistant Professor of Japanese Language and Linguistics in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His research is centered around the application of conversation analysis (CA) and social network analysis (SNA) to investigate the process of second language use and learning in and out of the classroom settings.

Chiharu Shima, Akita International University

Chiharu Shima is Associate Professor of Graduate School of Global Communication and Language at Akita International University in Japan. Her areas of interest include language socialization and intercultural communication at institutional settings, multilingualism, and medical interaction. Her most recent project studies the language socialization processes of internationally educated nurses who relocated to Japan under a program based on an economic partnership agreement.


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How to Cite

Hasegawa, A., & Shima, C. (2020). Differential Social Experiences of International Students in a Residential Hall in Japan. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 32(2), 34–71. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v32i2.467