2, Global Station for Soft Matter Research, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
Working in academia in a foreign country provides for unique opportunities and experiences that would be difficult to achieve through a traditional domestic position. While teaching and training young students anywhere can be fulfilling, introducing students to the benefits of “internationality” is something that is best experienced away from one’s home country. Japan, while possessing the third largest economy on Earth, is still ethnically homogenous, with foreigners making up less than 2% of the total population. Combined with a declining birth rate, the need for foreigner workers will continue to increase, resulting in more opportunities for foreigners to access positions in academia. In this presentation, I will outline the path I followed from being a PhD candidate in the United States (University of Massachusetts Amherst) to the position I have today, as an Assistant Professor at a National University in Japan (Hokkaido University). Specifically, I will address the following topics: finding positions in foreign countries; overcoming and dealing with language barriers; forming a research group and “fitting in” in a foreign environment; understanding and applying for funding; and the future of international faculty working abroad. I hope to express the successes as well as the struggles I have encountered through my journey. Through this presentation I aim to demonstrate the type of people who could be successful in this type of career, and hope to introduce a new path as faculty members at international universities.