East Asian Studies

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There are lots of starting points for choosing a career and using your subject is just one of them. You are not restricted to the career ideas below and you may wish to consider additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Remember too that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject and so your options are much broader than the examples given below.

Firstly, have a think about what ‘using your subject’ means to you and what you’re really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it’s a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

Using your subject can help provide you with some focus for your career research, but the broader your interests the more career options you will have open to you. Use our resources below to stimulate your thinking.

Generating career ideas with a degree from the School of East Asian Studies

Using the resources below you can start to create your own list of career ideas to research

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for East Asian Studies graduates on Prospects and TargetJobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject. Our Information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start.

Some career ideas for East Asian Studies graduates


The role of translators is to convert written material from one or more source languages into the target language. The target language is usually the translator’s native language. Work can include translating commercial, legal, literacy, educational, scientific and technical documents. Transcreating may also be part of this role, which is a mix of translation, localisation and copywriting, where the text is culturally and linguistically adapted to suit the reader. Excellent command of two or more languages is needed and relevant postgraduate study will be required.


Interpreters convert spoken or sign language statements from one language to another. Interpreting can be carried out in person, by telephone or via video conferencing on the internet. Employment can be in the following settings; business meetings and conferences, criminal justice proceedings, solicitor interviews, immigration tribunals and events within the education, health and social services sectors.

TEFL teacher

Teachers of English as a foreign language can work in a variety of settings with different age ranges. Common roles are TEFL teachers who teach adults and children whose first or main language is not English. Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) roles are similar but sometimes it’s specifically used to refer to teaching English to people living in the UK rather than abroad. Further study would be needed to allow entry into TEFL roles.

Diplomatic services

Diplomatic service officers work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to protect and promote UK interests and support British citizens and businesses throughout the world. The FCO deals with issues such as human rights, climate change, trade and investment and counter terrorism. An interest in other cultures and countries, excellent communication skills and a problem solving approach to work is essential for this career.

International aid worker

A career as an international aid/development worker focuses on meeting the needs of people and communities in the developing world by setting up long-term sustainable solutions to problems. Work in this sector is diverse and support is provided around many areas including healthcare, human rights, education, environment, economics, forced migration and infrastructure. There are a number of roles in this sector including administration, research, fundraising, training and advocacy.

Marketing executive

An interest in other cultures and countries can be used in the marketing and advertising sector particularly if businesses are expanding into South East Asia. Marketing executives are involved in developing marketing campaigns to promote a product, service or idea. This varied role includes planning, public relations, event organisation, product development and research. Many organisations have marketing departments so roles can be found in many sectors including financial, retail, media and voluntary and public sector organisations.

Subject specific resources

  • Confucius Institute - the website for the Confucius Institute at the University of Sheffield provides useful information on Chinese resources, Chinese proficiency tests, scholarships in China and courses.
  • Intern China - this website provides information on getting internships in China and advice on how to get graduate work in China.
  • Top Career - this recruitment agency has internship and graduate job opportunities in Japan and globally.
  • JET Programme - the Japan Exchage and Teaching Programme website provides information on working in Japan teaching English in schools. It provides information on eligibility to the scheme and advice on the application process.
  • Interac - find out about Assistant Language Teaching opportunities in the Japanese public school system.
  • Teach English Korea - find out about teaching English in Korea and look for opportunities on the Teach English Korea Job Board.