KAC conducts a Global Classmates exit survey to obtain feedback from students and teachers that are used to continuously make improvements in the following year’s program. In the survey, we measure impact on the program’s three pillars: cultural exchange, collaborative language learning, and fostering international friendship.
Below is program impact based on 2016–17 exit survey results.
91% of Students Are Satisfied with the Program!
Participants Strengthened Their Desire to Learn More About Other’s Cultures and Study Abroad.
91% of the students believe they know more about each other’s culture and 83% of the students believe they also know more about their own culture after participating in the exchange. In addition, 85% of the students responded that participating in Global Classmates strengthened their desire to learn more about other cultures through study abroad.
91% of students believe they know more about each other’s culture and 83% of students believe they also know more about their own culture. Even the students who were not very interested in other countries initially began to enjoy finding out about other cultures. Through engaging with people their own age, they began to feel more connected to their partner country and culture. The students also increased their understanding and awareness of their own culture by sharing things about their daily lives and culture, and answering questions using photos.
In Omiyage Exchange, a small gift exchange with the partner school, students who have been engaging with each other online receive an Omiyage that their partner classmates carefully selected. This connects the students on a tangible level and this project becomes one of the most memorable moments for them.
- ・My partner classmate sent me things that really made me feel “America” – snacks, a necklace, and a handwritten letter. I was so excited to get them! I put the letter and necklace up in my room. Through Global Classmates I was able to get to know a foreign culture, and see so many new things.
- ・I really enjoyed Global Classmates because I was able to learn information and culture that I couldn’t learn in a textbook. Also, I was able to share my interests with others who also had the same interests.
- ・Now, I plan to definitely study abroad in Japan because I want to meet new people and challenge myself to communicate with them in a language that is not my native tongue, like I was able to do in the Global Classmates program.
- ・It was fun to talk to actual people that are in my age range. To see what kind of experiences they’ve acquired throughout their lives in a different country and to share mine was an experience that allows me to deepen my understanding of others and the world.
- ・Their perspectives towards different cultures were widened because they realized that there are many people with different backgrounds and America is very diverse.
- ・My students have generally become more culturally aware. In their postings and omiyage preparations, we had many conversations in English and in Japanese about cultural norms and expectations.
Students Became More Confident in Communicating in a Foreign Language and Become Motivated to Study Further
89% of students felt more motivated to communicate in Japanese/English and believed they learned how to better apply rules of grammar and vocabulary. In addition, 88% of students responded that their desire to continue studying Japanese/English became stronger and 75% of students became more confident in communicating in English/Japanese.
When it comes to foreign language education, it is believed that improvement comes from repetition and practice in reading and writing on familiar topics using the level of grammar and vocabulary one already possesses as opposed to emphasizing accuracy in reading and writing on a difficult topic.
In Global Classmates, students from both countries are in the same position of learning a foreign language. Students feel encouraged to post comments and/or send video messages by seeing their partner classmates actively post comments in Japanese/ English without fearing mistakes. They then receive an exciting response from their partner classmate, making them realize that they are capable of communicating their ideas. As this continues, they are able to express themselves with less hesitation. Comments are written in English and Japanese, which allows the students to see how native speakers express themselves, and slowly, the students’ own expressions in a foreign language become more polished.
As a matter of fact, 89% of the students responded that they learned how to better apply rules of grammar and vocabulary in a conversation, and 75% of the students felt more confident in communicating in Japanese/English.
In addition, 88% of the students felt that participating in the program increased their desire to continue studying Japanese/English. Through their desire to learn more about their partner classmates and have them learn more about themselves, the language that used to be just part of a required subject becomes a communication tool that they want to learn.
- ・I lost my fear of making mistakes because I just wanted to be able to express myself. I didn’t care if what I wrote had mistakes. Communicating became key.
- ・In order to develop conversations, I became able to come up with lots of questions to ask. On the other hand, I became able to better explain things when I was asked questions.
- ・I gained confidence in being able to express my thoughts in English. Also, I’d think about how to respond to posts so I could get a good discussion with others going, which helped me to gain communication skills.
- ・Global Classmates has helped me learn how to better communicate overall. It especially helped me learn how to use internet platforms to communicate with people of various backgrounds in a respectful way. It helps you to consider the background and position of whoever you’re speaking with which can help with bridging communication in everyday conversation as well.
- ・I have learned to think less about correct grammar and to focus more on getting my point across which has allowed me to become more confident in my Japanese communication.
- ・I have learned to be more patient when communicating with a person who uses a different language. Before I began studying Japanese, I would initially be frustrated that I could not understand a person who was not speaking in English, and would often end the conversation immediately upon this happening. However, Global Classmates has taught me to be more mindful and understanding when communicating in a different language.
- ・I can tell that their English level, especially their ability to freely communicate in English, increased. As they had to write in English repeatedly throughout the program, they were able to increase the volume of English they wrote and their overall English skill increased.
- ・I think the students were able to learn language and culture through their Japanese counterparts that would have been near impossible in class. There is no substitute for speaking to real people their age in the other country.
Students Fostered International Friendships and Developed a Global Mind Set
89% of students increased their desire to visit Japan/America after participating in Global Classmates. In addition, 70% of students felt more connected to their partner classmates and 80% of students increased their desire to meet their partner students.
70% of students felt they became closer to their partner classmates, and 80% of students responded that they would like to meet their partner classmates in person.
At the beginning of the program, there is a considerable number of students who only have a stereotypical image of their partner county that is portrayed in the media. However, throughout the exchange, they see that their partner classmates have a wide variety of personalities and beliefs, while also observing that despite their differences in nationalities, they share many similarities and interests unique to their generation. Through repetition of these experiences, the students are able to see others as individuals with their own unique traits, rather than summing them up as “someone from country X.” They find common ground, come to a mutual understanding, and foster friendships. Feeling close and connected to their partner classmates lead to feeling connected to that country, which resulted in 91% of students feeling a stronger desire to visit the partner country after participating in the Global Classmates program.
In this age of the Internet and its abundance of information, it is crucial for people to be able to not be misled by political propaganda or stereotypes, and be able to connect as individuals. They must get to know one another with an open mind and open heart, building trust between them. What they experience through Global Classmates, connecting with classmates across the ocean, will be invaluable for the students who will be part of this globalized world.
- ・I was so excited when I realized that there were people in another country that liked the same things I did. Understanding that even though we come from different countries we can share the same feelings for certain things made me feel a lot closer to them.
- ・I’ve never been able to talk to an American before, but I was able to connect with them, learn about their culture, and in sharing my culture remember the great things about Japan. Also, I didn’t used to like English, but I wanted to communicate with my partner classmates in the U.S. so I began studying English more and more. Now I even want to try and take the English proficiency test. Also, I want to travel abroad now because of what I experienced through Global Classmates.
- ・I liked the gift exchange, because I felt that it brought us closer to getting to know each other based on the gifts we sent. Now, I have something to keep from them that will remind me of them. Also, I enjoyed seeing their pictures and videos from their trips. It felt like we were also there seeing everything they did, everywhere they went, and how they felt about the trip. It made me want to visit where they traveled and experience it for myself.
- ・I got to meet many nice people and had interesting conversations with them. I also have the opportunity to keep in touch with them even after the program is over!
- ・My students really loved the sending presents and exchanging greeting cards with their partner classmates in the U.S. They also told me how much they liked being able to talk to students in the U.S. and get to know them.
- ・Students enjoyed opportunities to really get connected with actual Japanese students for an extended period of time.