Sold out Japan – Korea event provides interesting insight into recruitment in the region

The sold out ICEF Japan – Korea Agent Roadshow highlighted a continued interest in the region as a source for international student recruitment.

Held in Tokyo, Japan on February 24 and in Seoul, Korea on February 26, the roadshow hosted 249 participants including 79 Japanese and 85 Korean agents. Overall the event grew 4%, driven mainly by an increase in the number of exhibitors participating this year.

The two-day networking event was preceded by a seminar on the use of agents in international student recruitment. Hosted and organised by JAOS – Japan Association of Overseas Studies, the seminar was attended by 14 representatives from universities across Japan. During the seminar, ICEF CEO Markus Badde presented on the international student recruitment landscape and ICEF VP Sales & Marketing Mike Henniger, presented on how a university can use agents to meet their recruitment goals, using Thompson Rivers University as a case study. This well-attended seminar highlighted the growing importance of internationalisation in the Japanese HE landscape.

As Japan moves toward the 2020 Olympics, the Japanese government is investing in developing youth that are globally competent in language and culture. Money is being spent on such things as scholarships for Japanese students to study overseas. The general feeling at the Workshop was that there was a positive upswing in international student mobility in Japan.

KOSA (Korea Overseas Study Association) was a key supporter of the event in Seoul, providing support to both the agents present and the international educators.

The shrinking numbers of outbound students was a hot-topic during the Korean leg of the roadshow. The number of Korean students going to major destination countries has been decreasing since 2012. However, at the same time, increasing numbers are selecting to study in countries viewed as cost friendly. This notion was further illustrated by the fact that the roadshow saw attendees from countries such as Malaysia, the Czech Republic, Thailand, Austria, and France.

In addition, agents enjoyed the increased number of participants from non-traditional markets at the event. Kevin Sang Oh Kwon, an agent from International Language Exchange in Korea said: “This event allowed me to meet educators from all over the world. In particular, I was very happy to have the opportunity to meet people from non-English speaking countries. This is also very interesting for us”.

Any questions or for more information please contact Korinne Algie or Stan Bobrov at

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