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When did Kinki get too kinky?

(Image source: Wikipedia

International students mean big business for universities and colleges but what happens when globalization and miscommunication collide?

Kinki University is a respected institution located in Osaka, Japan but it is often at the receiving end of raised eyebrows and questionable jokes from visiting English speakers. Kinki actually refers to the region where the university is located but as we all know, sounds exactly like the English word ‘Kinky’ which conjures images not typically associated with a higher education institution.

Imagine the raised eyebrows and potential misunderstandings that could come with announcing in a job interview that you’re a recent graduate of Kinki University; cue frantic explanations and wild hand gestures in a desperate bid to dispel any lingering doubts.

The university’s president has announced that the school is changing its name from Kinki to Kindai; a move the university hopes will help draw more international students. The renaming will commence in 2016, coinciding with the opening of its international studies faculty.

At present, the university has 32,000 students of which only 329 are foreign. The university is aware of how visiting foreigners chuckle at the name and understands that in this age of globalisation needs to appear professional and respected in any language.

There are those who believe the university are being too hyper-sensitive about the effects of their smirk-inducing name on the English speaking world but the reality is universities have to learn how to evolve and market themselves to a global audience. Universities now need to work hard to market themselves as students and their parents are becoming increasingly prudent in their quest to find the best value for money.

Selecting a university is a decision that will shape the rest of a student’s life. They need to know once they’ve handed back their graduation gowns that the university they paid all that money to is going to help not hinder them from getting their dream job.

A great brand starts with a great name so this bold move, coupled with their stellar reputation should lend a helping hand in rebranding the soon to be former Kinki University as a coveted international study destination. 

Tagged: Foreign students, International , Kinki University, International brand

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