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06/15/2015

From Study Abroad to Career: Tokyo Career Panel

I have to start off saying that CIEE does so much for its international students, and I really appreciate it. I guess I can’t speak for any of the other countries, but here in Japan we have some pretty great staff! I say this not because I am sucking up, but because they provide us with so many fun and informative cultural activities that we probably would otherwise not get to do. Whether its sumo, kabuki, a taiko drum session, the Studio Ghibli Museum, movie lunches, museum tickets, or embassy visits, I always take advantage of what they have to offer because it is a great way to learn new things about Japan.

 Recently, they had a career panel comprised of foreign professionals working in Tokyo, two of who are CIEE alumni. These professionals represented a variety of fields, including global business, information technology, and translation and interpretation. I thought this was such a smart idea because it gives us an opportunity to learn about job opportunities in Japan, and hear their perspective on how they went about getting a job in a foreign country. To be honest, I was hesitant to go at first because my field of interest is art, and all of the speakers were business-y engineer types. I’m glad that I went though, because sometimes you never know what kind of job can open up and where you will find it. That was the case for one of the speakers who became a translator and interpreter for Honda. She happened to be teaching English in a rural area that was looking for specific qualifications that she had, and she got the job! Her story was pretty inspiring to me because everything just fell into place for her, and she didn’t even expect it. I’m not saying this is what happens here in Japan, because the other presenters talked about interviews and applications, but I think that if you are passionate about being somewhere (Japan) and work hard, you can find success.

 I think that is what the overall theme of the presentations were. Most of them talked about how they thought their degrees were pretty much useless for their type of work, but they actually turned out to be more helpful in some ways than they realized. Even if they didn’t go into the same line of work that college or grad school prepared them for, their degree programs still gave them relevant skills and experiences. Some were able to get jobs because they taught English, but all had some background in Japan. Teaching English in a foreign country is a great gateway into the job market, and I believe gives you important communication life skills that will prepare you for any long term future job(s). At least, I have been considering teaching English in Japan for a while now, because I am still unsure of what I want to do for a living. All I know is that I love Japan, want to travel, and want to be happy. Even if I don’t work for a Japanese company, my time here as a study abroad student and hopefully teaching English, will be considered huge assets career-wise, and in my life as a whole. 

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