The Ruby Ronin
Connecting China, Japan, and the World
It seems like you are where your heart does not want you to be.
What makes you say that?
I agree, the USA isn’t my top choice but at least it has clean air and water (unlike a certain place I lived previous). Family is also here, so before I go galloping off again I think I should spend some time here with them in the United States.
Hi! I am so glad I found your blog, your life is probably everything I want mine to be. And now about graduate from college, I’m trying to figure out what’s next and I’m caught at the crossroads of grad school and moving back to Asia. Will you be willing to share with me some of your insights and experiences please? I will greatly appreciate it and I’m sure it’ll help me in figuring out my path moving forward. Thank you! 🙂
Wow thanks for the super nice comment! I must make my life way better sounding on here than it actually is, haha, cause I think you’re definitely capable of doing far more than I ever did.
Anyway, what did you study in school? And what are you planning to study in grad school? And more importantly… do you have the money for it, and if not, will the degree be able to pay off the accumulated money? Where in Asia would you like to move back?
I also was hellbent on going to grad school in Japan, and almost did with the help of the MEXT scholarship from Japan (I lost the scholarship along with the 2011 disaster, when funding was drastically cut). The MEXT scholarship is a super sweet deal (I knew a guy that was able to save money on the program, since they basically give you 1500 USD/monthly to just spend on living expenses), but it is a bit difficult to get. I wish I could have killed two birds with one stone and fulfilled my MEXT scholarship dream, but I like to think without the cancellation of that scholarship I wouldn’t have gone to Shanghai and thus miss out on some of the best years of my life.
My advice to you would be to have a long-term plan. I kept moving to countries thinking that things would work out, and while they did, sometimes I still feel myself feeling lost with the decisions I made (like so many millennials). What I’m trying to say is.. if you want to specialize in marketing, don’t move to China and teach English. Go to China, get a job in marketing, and through that experience build upon your marketing career so you can get closer to your dream. In Shanghai I worked at a consulting company, did interpreting, and then at an advertising agency. While all this experience is great, it’s confusing to employers and spreads you thin. I wish I would have specialized in something and stuck with it: For example, interpreting or even consulting.
Also, think even further ahead about what you’ll do after your experience in Asia. Do you plan on living there long-term, or do you plan on coming back to the USA someday? If you plan on coming back stateside, US employers are quite discriminatory toward foreign experience versus experience gained in the states, which will make job hunting difficult. Come back with skills you know that future employers will need.
I guess my advice is: Make a long-term plan and stick with it. If becoming a professor is your dream then maybe grad school is the better path; or maybe you want to be a translator? Then going to school/work in Asia may be better. Don’t be like me and think: “hey, I’ll move to Japan, learn some Japanese, and get an awesome job and have an amazing life in Tokyo.” In other words, aim for an ideal, not a place.
Finally, I always encourage younger people to go out there and live, even a little. If you want to go abroad for a year before starting grad school, and can do that financially–then do it. Before I was set to start grad school, I took 6 months ‘off’ and studied Mandarin at Tsinghua University. It was the best six months of my life and, literally, changed the whole course of it.
Anyway! Let me know if you have anymore questions! Such an exciting time in life and so many decisions!!
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