News Letter

News Letter – International Hopefuls+ #7

International hopefuls+
Issue 7
November 20, 2019

1.I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

On November 14th, we held the “Site Visit to Takenaka Research & Development Institute” and three international DC students visited the institute in Inzai city, Chiba prefecture.
It was a one day trip and they had a pretty busy day. The participants had a special tour to observe the institute research facilities, in addition there was a presentation session with the employees where they had the opportunity to discuss their own research. I believe it was a great experience for the participants.

According to the career plan survey in these years, I found that international students are seeking information regarding jobs and companies in Japan. I will try to provide you with opportunities to communicate with the companies.
As one of those challenges, “CAREER LINK MEETUP -For international DC and PDs-” will be held on Dec. 10th. 6 companies’ representatives are coming to Hokkaido University. The application deadline has already past and the participants are preparing for the event.
I hope that all participants will communicate the companies and appeal their skills and their personality.

2.I-HoP event information

– Learning Japanese: Why now and how to start it (11/25)
In this seminar, you will learn about “How to learn Japanese and why it is necessary to do so” in English. Join and get pointers for learning Japanese!
The Lecturer, Dr. Yumiko Enyo is a part-time instructor at Hokkaido University and other universities, teaching Japanese language for non-native speakers.

– Writing for Academic Journals (12/17)
This transferable skills seminar is targeted for researchers (MC, DC, PD, Faculty member/staff).
Seminar will be conducted in English and have two sessions, “Basic” and “Advanced”.
You can attend one or both session(s)!!

3. Memo from the Visiting Professor Y. Iida

My dear International Researchers,
More than 60 DC students and post-doctoral researchers from abroad have responded positively to our question in the career plan survey in July, regarding career counseling. I-HoP sent out invitations to each of them to schedule a face-to-face one-hour session with me. A total of 21 time-slots in October and November has filled up very quickly, and we will have to schedule another round in December and January. Contents of the counseling vary from academia to the industrial sectors, and you do not need to prepare something specific to the career, such as your resume or CV before coming to the counseling. Of course, if you have a particular purpose, such as questions on the job hunting process, preparation of documents, business manner, etc., you can use this opportunity to clarify these.
If you have any questions on your career or want to experience a career counseling session with the consultant (Prof. Iida or Assistant Prof. Katagaki), do not hesitate to contact:
and ask for individual career counseling. We will schedule a session either by Skype or in-person, depending on the availability of the consultant.
If you are with the Graduate School of Engineering, please come and join the seminar entitled “YOUR CAREER DESIGN – Career Guidance Seminar for International Graduate students,” in which I will give a lecture on careers in Japan. Date and Venue are as follows:
Date: November 27 (Wed), 2019
Time: 15:00-17:00
Venue: Academic Lounge 3 (2F, Graduate school of Engineering Building)

4. Hult Prize Social Business Competition

One of the privileges of Hokkaido University students is to attend the campus level competition of this global business idea contest. Use your study result or a unique idea to change the world and save the earth. Do you consider this a big mouth? “Aquamou,” one of the competing teams of Hokkaido University, won the regional competition in Tokyo last April, and the entire team members had spent five weeks in London to accelerate their business idea together with the other 40 teams from all over the world. Be a changemaker. You will learn by experiencing business management, leadership, presentation, and how you can change the world through the process. To learn more about this year’s competition, please access the following facebook page:

5. Career Management Process for PhD

We have been explaining the seven steps of the Career Management Process since May. Before we start this month’s explanation, the seven steps are shown below again for your reference:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Recognize yourself and your value (Self-Assessment)
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks (Occupations)
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

We will explain the Step-6 “Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education” this month. By the time you reach this step, you must understand yourself, your skills and strength, as well as your weak points in comparison to the qualification requirements of your selected few target companies. The Transferable Skills Seminar by I-HoP deals with a wide variety of non-research related skills such as Communication, Leadership, Negotiation, Career Management, etc. Taking these seminars will make you aware of the shortcomings, if any, in your skills portfolio. Once the gap is clearly defined, set the goal, and implement the mitigation plan. Let’s pick Japanese language skills as an example. If your current JLPT score is N3 and want to reach to N1 in two years, imagine how you would be communicating with others in Japanese 24 months from now. This exercise will set a clear goal of your “to be” image, and you will look back to your current status from this goal point to recognize the gap in between. Then breakdown the difference into eight three-month segments to set up your quarterly target. I-HoP provides a “Borrowing Japanese Language Books” program with which you can borrow Japanese textbooks for 30 days. Even if you have your book, we recommend that you join this program because you must report to the office of I-HoP every 30 days to renew your rental. A small encouragement by a third party who is monitoring the progress of your study is beneficial and rewarding. Many Japanese companies still require N1 or N2, as a minimum for the Japanese language proficiency level to join the company. In the case of Ph.D. holders, some companies started to consider N3 acceptable if the candidate has the desired skillset.