My name is John Szalas and I study International Affairs (IA) at Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ). Like many of the non-Japanese students here I’m trying to stay in Japan once I graduate. So it’s best to have as many connections as possible to give myself every advantage for the future.

At the Life After TUJ event offered every year, connectivity is the major selling point. Alumni return to answer questions student’s¬ have about how to better traverse the obstacles of post-graduation life. Students have an opportunity to create professional connections and a strong network for future success.

This year there were five panelists: Charis Chia, who graduated in International Affairs in 2017 and now works in the Global Business Division of Ueno Transtech; Michael Host, 2013 graduate in International Business Studies (IBS) who currently works as a logistics specialist at Logistics Plus; Shoko Ito, who graduated in International Affairs in 2016 and works as an operational specialist at General Electric; Ruchi Juneja, who graduated in Economics in 2016 and works as a marketing specialist at Johnson & Johnson; and Peter Schwarz, who graduated in International Business Studies (IBS) in 2015 and works as an associate at Commerzbank AG.

This year the excellent variety of professions and years graduated offered a range of perspectives to future graduates. The event began as an open panel discussion that allowed each alumni to introduce themselves and answer questions from the crowd. Some of the topics covered were:

What level of Japanese proficiency is required?

There are job opportunities without Japanese abilities, though most jobs here require a certain level of Japanese. However, effort is typically appreciated and viewed very positively.

Is it better to go back to one’s home country then return to Japan post-graduation?

Not such a great idea due to many transitions and the risk of becoming complacent in your home country.

What are some big career decisions to make while attending TUJ?

Be willing to settle, because something you may be passionate about now may not be enjoyable as a job. Apply everywhere you can even to jobs you think you might not like.

Some key points of advice to take away from the event is to stay connected with Alumni and, more importantly, the Career Development Office.

After the open panel discussion three more alumni and a representative from the headhunting company Apex arrived. Next was the speed networking session where small groups of students can meet individually with each alumni. While the panel answered more general questions and served as an introduction, the speed networking session offered opportunities to connect with the alumni or even the Apex representative who could possibly, very soon, offer a student a job.

Alumni and students agreed that the event was very relaxed and enjoyable. Especially the speed networking session and the free mingling afterwards offered more reticent students good chances to connect. All in all I feel Life After TUJ is certainly a great event to attend regardless of what year a student is. It’s never too early to start building the bridges for your future.

By student writer John Szalas
John Szalas is studying International Affairs at TUJ in order to gain a better understanding of the international world to make it a better place. He speaks English, Hungarian, and soon to be Japanese. John also makes a mean chicken and dumplings. 😉