BA Japanese Studies and Politics graduate
Current job: Events Manager
Current employer: Fabian Institute
What did you do after graduation?
My time spent at Sheffield was the most enjoyable, inspiring and testing period of my life so far. However, all good things must come to an end, and I graduated with an upper second class honours degree in Japanese Studies and Politics. After graduation, although tempted to follow many of my fellow classmates back to Japan, I decided to head to London to find my fortune (or not as the case may be – I became an intern). I found an internship at the Institute for Citizenship and started work on a programme which aimed to discuss awareness of the European Constitution. In October 2004, I applied for a job at the Fabian Society, a left-of-centre think-tank, and was successful in gaining a position as Events Manager.
Can you tell me about your current job?
In my time at the Fabian Society, I have been responsible for organizing a number of large-scale political events, including seminars, policy events and receptions in Parliament, and have been lucky enough to visit Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street on a number of occasions. Whilst I have mostly been using the knowledge gained through my joint degree in politics, I have found my knowledge of Japanese extremely useful. For example, I recently organized an event entitled “No More Samurais: Where is Japan Heading?” which was a debate on Japan’s future direction involving the Japanese Ambassador and a number of political and academic commentators. It was a fantastic opportunity to see the inner workings of Japanese diplomacy (I was pleasantly surprised to find His Excellency the Ambassador very different from the stereotypical diplomat I had expected!)
Another interesting experience was having the First Secretary from the Embassy join me on the day of the general election so he could observe me as I was out campaigning in two London constituencies. The day was enlivened by his mobile phone constantly ringing with all parts of the Japanese government and media desperate to have the latest news on the election from the coalface, so to speak!
Overall, although I may not use my Japanese language skills in my current day-to-day job as much I would like to, I do feel that they have given me an advantage when applying for jobs; employers often seem to be impressed that a British student has been able to master what they perceive as an extremely difficult and time-consuming language. I think that through being a student at SEAS, you learn some extremely useful skills: adaptability, reasoning, critical- and quick-thinking, which are useful for any job and definitely give you a boost in the application process when searching for that elusive job.