Student Blog

Job hunting while studying abroad: A Boston Career Forum Experience Report

7min read

Many students at APU gain international experience through exchange programs or studying abroad during their leave of absence. A significant portion of these students are likely seeking employment opportunities that leverage their bilingual abilities, particularly in multinational companies. However, for third-year students who embark on exchange programs, concerns often arise about the overlap between the study abroad period and the job hunting period, potentially causing obstacles in their job search.

Students who have experienced studying abroad at APU generally pursue one of three paths in their job search:

  1. Conduct a standard job search.
  2. Take a leave of absence and aim for the next year's hiring season or fall hiring.
  3. Participate in career forums during their study abroad, focusing on short and intensive job hunting activities.
    Additionally, students explore various other methods in their job search endeavors.

In this article, we will delve into the third option: the career forum. Specifically, we interviewed two individuals who participated in the "Boston Career Forum" during their study abroad and successfully secured job offers, to share their firsthand experiences.

Profile:

Maho Kudo (hereinafter Maho) - 4th-year student in the College of International Management, studied abroad in France during her 3rd year.

Shiori Sasaki (hereinafter Shiori) - 4th-year student in the College of Asia Pacific Studies, studied abroad in the UK during her 3rd year.

About the Boston Career Forum:
Held annually over three days in November in Boston, USA, the Boston Career Forum is a job hunting event for bilingual Japanese-English speakers. It features not only company presentations but also interviews, and around 200 companies participate. This year, it is scheduled for November 17th to 19th, 2023, with 153 companies confirmed. Given the demand for bilingual talent, this event is highly attractive to APU students with international exposure and language skills.

For more information on CFN Career Forum Network (including information on other career forums):
https://careerforum.net/en/

―Why did you decide to participate in the Boston Career Forum (BosCareer)?

Maho:
There were mainly two reasons why I decided to participate. First, it is relatively easy to approach companies where I can leverage my experiences and skills. Many companies participating in BosCareer value the efforts and experiences gained in a global environment, which made me believe that I could find companies that align well with my strengths. Second, the event's large scale and cost-effectiveness were appealing. With a multitude of participating companies, including opportunities for job offers from major corporations, I thought it would be more efficient to complete my job search during my time abroad rather than after returning to Japan.

Maho (far right) during her internship

Shiori:
I had known about BosCareer since middle school, influenced by my brother and friends. As Maho mentioned, BosCareer is tailored for bilingual individuals, so it offers opportunities to apply for companies seeking experiences like mine and recruit only through BosCareer, which I found attractive. Job hunting can be quite challenging when sifting through numerous companies, but BosCareer narrows it down to around 200 companies from various fields, allowing me to maintain my focus. Moreover, the chance to engage in conversations with high-level executives and directors, who are not easily accessible through conventional hiring channels, was another significant factor.

The company where Shiori interned in the UK. Decorated in a Japanese style.

―Can you share your preparation schedule and what kind of preparations you made for BosCareer?

Maho:
I started gathering information right after going abroad because I believed in starting early. I also wanted to experience a summer internship before BosCareer, so I worked on the internship application and selection process. Once I confirmed my participation in BosCareer, I booked my flights and hotel, worked through SPI prep books I brought from Japan, and collected relevant e-books for interview preparation.

Shiori:
I registered on the website right after arriving abroad and started gathering information. Since I wanted to make the most of my time abroad and pursue unique experiences, I didn't participate in a summer internship but focused on internships and traveling in the UK during the summer break. Once school started, my schedule was packed with assignments, classes, and socializing, so I managed my job hunt on designated days.

―What was the schedule like on the day of BosCareer?

Maho:
Day 1: Pre-applied interviews (3-4), resume distribution, and company presentations
Day 2: Pre-applied interviews (3-4), final interviews at a café in the evening leading to job offers
Day 3: Completed pre-applied interviews, explored company booths

Shiori: 
Day 1: Pre-applied interviews (2), company presentations, walk-in interviews (2)
Day 2: Pre-applied interviews (1), other interviews, company presentations
Day 3: Explored company booths, additional interviews
(Some final interviews were scheduled after returning to Japan)

We arrived in Boston the evening before the event and left for our respective countries on the third day. Since we arrived in the morning, it was quite challenging. Be mindful of jet lag!

Maho scheduled most of her final interviews for the BosCareer day, while Shiori participated in pre-applied interviews and walk-in interviews. This demonstrates that you can meet attractive companies once you arrive at the event.

At the Boston Career Forum venue

―What were the costs involved?

Both:
Accommodation costs: Approximately 40,000 yen for three nights per person
Transportation costs (airfare): Around 140,000 yen
Food expenses: Dining at nearby restaurants cost around 4,000 yen per meal for two people, and convenience stores were also an option.
Online visa and ESTA application fees: Approximately 3,000 yen

Hotels close to the venue tend to fill up quickly, so we made reservations around April. We also booked our flights early. There are plenty of restaurants around the venue, so you won't have trouble finding meals.

Eating in Boston

―How was the atmosphere on-site in Boston?

Both:
It was peculiar to see Japanese people wearing suits in Boston, considering the event was held there. We even spotted Japanese people on the flight to Boston. Many high-caliber students gathered, and the environment buzzed with the exchange of English and Japanese, a sight you don't often witness at other events.

―How was your experience at BosCareer? Were there any good or bad points you'd like to share?

Both:
Above all, the best part was being able to complete the job hunt before the end of our study abroad. Being a fourth-year student can be quite busy, so completing job hunting concurrently with studying abroad was incredibly efficient. Additionally, we had the opportunity to gain valuable experiences, such as interacting with sales representatives and even top management figures from the companies. Moreover, the impression we had was that BosCareer was less strict in terms of attire and the SPI test compared to standard job applications in Japan.

―Do you have any advice or things to be cautious about?

Both:
First, and it may sound basic, but take care of your health! The climate in your study abroad destination, such as Beppu, can be significantly different from Boston, and factors like jet lag, travel, and stress can easily lead to health issues. Avoid pushing yourself too hard! (Shiori)
Second, prepare your things, especially clothing and shoes. It's not advisable to buy shoes right before the event; you might end up with painful blisters! Ladies, comfortable heels that you are used to are a good choice. (Maho)
The passport photos I had taken abroad turned out to be glossy and not very presentable, so it might be a good idea to have photos taken in Japan if you can. (Shiori)
The third point is to start early with your preparations! Given the demands of studying abroad, finding time for job hunting can be challenging. Starting early allows you to accomplish more, so it's crucial to begin when you realize it. Additionally, participating in career forums held in various locations other than BosCareer can be a valuable experience.

In summary

In this article, we heard from Maho and Shiori, who participated in the Boston Career Forum. APU offers a global environment, and many students gain international experience through studying abroad. This opportunity is not only for students with study abroad experience but also for APU students from various countries and regions who are looking to leverage their language skills and multicultural understanding. If you aspire to work globally by utilizing your language abilities and multicultural awareness, we encourage you to consider participating in career forums!

Manari Shimamura
Manari Shimamura

Hello, I am Manari Shimamura, a 4th year student. I love to travel and last year I visited 15 countries in Europe. This year, I will be traveling around Asia and Japan. APU and Beppu are full of interesting things to do! I will share with you the charms of APU and Beppu through articles!




  • LINEで送る

PAGETOP