International Alumni Career Talk (Mandarin Edition)

The Tohoku University Global Engagement Division (Alumni Network) and Centre for Career Support held an online event on June 21 to share advice and tips on how international students and new graduates can look for work and develop a career in Japan.

Hosted by the Centre's Wang Jie, the Mandarin-language event attracted some 20 students and new graduates, and featured presentations by three distinguished members of the Taiwan Alumni Association who shared anecdotes from their academic journey and the pursuit of their current careers.

Justin Chen, who received his Master's degree in Law from Tohoku University in 2005, spoke of his work as a lawyer, providing legal and tax services for Japan-Taiwan cross-border investments and corporate mergers, as well as helping with residency visa applications and other immigration services.

He said that when he first came to Japan, he made it a point to immerse himself in the local community despite not being fluent in Japanese. "I saw it as a valuable opportunity to learn and understand Japanese culture and mindset." He also described the university's large international student population as a valuable network. "Besides students from Taiwan, there are also many students from other countries, and in this environment, we can learn about the cultures and perspectives of people from around the world. And that is a very valuable experience."

Yu-Ching Lin, who did research on micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) at Tohoku University, is currently CEO of NextQM Inc.

She described three types of long term career paths - one is to pursue a professional field and become an expert or specialist, another is to diversify by exploring new fields, and the third is to develop completely new interests and change fields entirely. "If you are not sure what you want to do, you can try different things to explore your field," she said. "You can also analyse your personal strengths and interests, and compare them with what you are currently doing. I believe that things are not always immediately clear, but trying and doing more will definitely benefit your future."

Using her own career as an example, Lin said her journey has been about connecting her various experiences and turning them into a comprehensive career. "I divided my career into three main parts: technical depth and breadth, diverse fields to enhance value, and international experience. I believe that maintaining core technical skills, leaving a legacy before moving on, and continuously expanding my knowledge and experience are crucial for a successful career."

Kou Mei Kin graduated from Tohoku University in 2007 with a Master's degree in Japanese Literature. She currently works at Sendai City's Industrial Promotion Organisation, which helps local SMEs with entrepreneurship support, talent recruitment and industry-academia collaboration.

"Japan has an aging population, and with many young graduates preferring to work in big cities like Tokyo or Osaka, it can be challenging for some local companies to retain talent. So, there is increasing interest in recruiting talent from abroad."

Kou's company organizes exchange events and workshops between companies in Sendai and overseas universities; and runs a website called MoriJob. "My department specifically focuses on talent recruitment and training, so international students who are considering staying on in Japan, are welcome to visit us for free entrepreneurship consultations or job search assistance."

The two-hour event ended with a lively Q&A session and, as with all alumni gatherings, there was also a serving of nostalgia as participants shared memories and spoke of lifelong friendships forged during their student days at Tohoku University.

The Taiwan Alumni Association is part of the Tohoku University Alumni Network, which organizes online and in-person activities throughout the year. The Network is open to all alumni as well as current members of the university. It is free to join via the link below.



Tohoku University Global Engagement Division

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