Globalization of Japanese dental hygienists is important to match the demands in the present society. The purpose of this study was to gauge opinions on international programmes of Japanese dental hygiene students and educators.
Data were collected using a survey that was sent to all eight Japanese universities of oral hygiene in December 2014. Participants were composed of 466 university students majoring in oral hygiene (463 women; three men; mean age: 21 years) and 45 educators teaching dental hygiene education (mean age: 50 years). The response rates were 83.81% and 46.88%, respectively.
48.06% of 464 students would like to study abroad, and 76.04% of 330 students would like to interact with foreign students frequently. 97.54% of 455 students answered that learning English is important for dental hygienists, but 72.39% of 460 students are not comfortable interacting with foreigners in English. Those who knew more dental English terms had higher interest in studying abroad (odds ratio: 1.136). 75% of 44 educators think that dental hygiene students need to or sometimes need to study abroad. 68.89% of 45 educators think that teaching international programmes is costly.
We found that Japanese dental hygiene students and educators have positive interest in international programmes. However, they have concerns about their English skills and about the cost of studying it. Therefore, English classes need to be improved, and new approaches are required for lowering the cost of teaching international programmes, while stimulating foreign students’ and educators’ interest in studying abroad in Japan.