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"Globalization and Career" Symposium

Dean's Speech
The globalization Office (GO) Kick-off Symposium (2013)

Professor Yaguchi's Speech
The globalization Office (GO) Kick-off Symposium (2013)

Ms. Namba's Speech
The globalization Office (GO) Kick-off Symposium (2013)

Ms. Palmer's Speech
The globalization Office (GO) Kick-off Symposium (2013)

Panel Discussion
The globalization Office (GO) Kick-off Symposium (2013)
On the evening of December 6, 2013, the Globalization Office (GO) Kick-off Symposium, “Globalization and Career: Studying Abroad and the Global Career,” was held in the Lecture Hall adjacent to the GO. A total of 64 Japanese and foreign exchange students participated, and it provided an opportunity to listen to the experiences of alumni and think about what they should do during their university years in order to be able to work in a globalizing society.

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After a welcome address by Dr. Yojiro Ishii (Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the College for Arts and Sciences) that expressed his expectations for a global campus that engages in multilingual cultural exchange, Dr. Yujin Yaguchi (Director of the Globalization Office) introduced the role of the GO as well as spoke of his own experience studying abroad. When photos from his time abroad were projected on the screen, the auditorium became enveloped in gentle smiles and laughter. Then Dr. Yaguchi told the students that the person he is today was shaped largely through studying abroad. He expressed the hope that students will have the same positive experience, and he believes that one day, the students currently studying abroad, too, will look back on this present time in the same way that he reflects on his experience abroad, which invited many nods from the students listening.

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Next, three alumni gave presentations about their experiences, spanning from their respective study abroad days through their current careers, incorporating photos and music in their talks.

Miwa Nanba, who studied at Swarthmore College (USA) through the AIKOM program in 2005 and who now works at Google, explained warmly yet persuasively how having had experience meeting students from many different backgrounds while studying abroad has been incredibly helpful in her current profession, which requires her to reflect the requests of Japanese customers in the company’s service while also maintaining a global outlook.
Sera Palmer, who studied abroad at the University of Tokyo from the University of Washington (USA) through the AIKOM program in 2006, and who has since built up her professional history in Japan by working as a public servant, in a foreign company, and as an NGO staff member, told real stories from her study abroad experience and spoke eloquently of how she believed that she could do anything, and after coming to Japan, as she encountered various barriers and points of culture shock, she was able to pursue the path she had chosen for her life.

Nobuhiko Morikawa, who studied abroad at the National University of Singapore in 2007 through the AIKOM program and who currently works on the NYK Group, gave his message to the students that studying abroad, for him, was less about changing himself and more about broadening his options. He advised the students to wrestle, like he did, with that “thing” (perhaps study abroad or something else) that will enable them to clearly define during their college years what they hope to do in the future.

 In response to the question of what was the most difficult thing about living abroad, each gave various answers, Ms. Nanba replying with American food, Ms. Palmer replying that no matter how Japanese she was on the inside, she would always stand out because of her appearance, Mr. Morikawa replying with the difficulty of acclimating to Singaporean accented English, and Ms. Shimura replying with Germans’ cool and aloof demeanor. Responses to the question of what was culturally the hardest thing to accept included people not arriving on time, religion and gender issues.

Answering the question of whether or not the experience of spending time abroad influenced their career choices, Ms. Shimura said that before studying abroad, she thought that she wanted to find a job that would allow her to travel around the world, but while studying abroad, she realized how comfortable it is to live in Japan and decided to work in the Japanese office of a foreign company. In contrast, Ms. Palmer answered that from the start, she had already decided that she would work in Japan, and because she came to study in Japan for the purpose of testing whether or not that would be possible, studying abroad did not change her career plans. Responding to the question of whether or not their experiences abroad influenced the course of their lives, Ms. Nanba said that before going to America, she thought she knew a lot about America, but after actually going, she realized that she did not know anything, and it helped to broaden her views. Ms. Palmer answered that she became an entirely different person from who she had been in America.

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As for the question of whether or not short-term study abroad for about one month has any value, although on the one hand, there is the opinion that it will not be anything more than tourist travel, Mr. Morikawa said that depending on how you spend your time, short-term study abroad could have value, but he recommends staying for a year or longer. Ms. Shimura, who went on three short-term stays before studying abroad for a full year, answered that short-term experiences could have value because they give you the chance to meet many other people in the world and improve your language skills.

When asked if they had any regrets about their study abroad experiences, all of them immediately replied that they either had mostly no regrets or had no regrets whatsoever.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Yaguchi spoke of the importance of placing yourself in new environments, explaining that when the students study abroad, even if things are tough at the time, he hopes that they will not forget that it will be worth it someday. He closed the symposium with the message that the GO would like to welcome students who possess that kind of motivation and drive.
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