Motivations for Students in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia to Emigrate Abroad
Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo
5-1-5 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba 277-8563, Japan
This study aims to find out the basis of Marshallese students’ aspirations to migrate abroad, determine whether intellectuals in the same country share such aspirations, observe how well Japanese university students and intellectuals understand why Marshallese students migrate, and compare the Marshallese students’ motivations to emigrate with those of students from the Federated States of Micronesia. I conducted a survey by interview and questionnaire in the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Japan. I found that 65% of the students in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) felt education was the primary reason to migrate abroad, followed by work (15%), health (8%), family (7%), climate change (3%), and natural disasters (2%). The RMI intellectuals correctly guessed the relative importance students granted the factors (education, work, health, etc.). However, they underestimated the importance of education for the students. Eleven percent of the Japanese students assumed that Marshallese students would wish to migrate abroad because of climate change, which overestimates the students’ feelings about the issue. Interestingly, no Japanese student considered health or family to be possible reasons for RMI students to emigrate abroad. Perhaps, Japanese students were not aware of the prevalence of very strong family ties and inadequate medical facilities in RMI. There were similar percentages of students who wished to migrate because of climate change between the RMI (3%) and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) (4%). However, the RMI is an atoll country that may be submerged by climate change, and the FSM is mostly composed of volcanic islands that will not be submerged.
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