Crystal Rose-Wainstock ’08
English Lecturer at Kanda University of International Studies
What has your career journey been like?
I majored in English at UST, and after graduation, I got a job teaching English in South Korea. I used that time to narrow down my career aspirations, and upon my return to the US, I completed an MA in TESL at the University of Minnesota. I taught in the Intensive English Program there for about seven years before taking a job at my current university in Chiba, Japan.
Within my field, as in many fields I suspect, a lot of opportunities arise through connections and people you know. I learned about my current job through an alumni listserv at the U of M. A colleague of a colleague had worked at the university in the past, and that connection got my foot in the door. In Japan, specifically, a lot of positions are filled internally or through networking.
Did you study abroad? If yes, how did it prepare you for living abroad after graduation? Were there any particularly influential experiences? What useful skills did you develop?
I studied abroad in Rome, Italy in the Fall 2005 term. I lived at the UST Bernardi Campus in Rome for the semester and fulfilled some liberal arts requirements while there. That experience was my first opportunity to live abroad, to experience a new place for longer than a week or two. Through this experience, I met one of my best friends, and I think having the opportunity to spend time with people who value experiences abroad was one of the most meaningful parts of that experience.
During this program, I also had a chance to explore my love for language learning a bit more. I think I learned about being independent and open to new experiences during this semester abroad. These skills are really valuable for pursuing a career abroad and working with people from diverse backgrounds. My study abroad experience was really the spark that helped me choose the career path I’ve been on since then.
Do you see yourself continuing to live in Japan?
I have been living in Japan with my partner and son for about 2 years now, and it has been a great experience. However, there is somewhat limited opportunity for advancement in my current field (EFL), and my partner accepted a job in Germany. We will be making the move to Germany in April. I’m excited to move across the world again!
Was the culture change a big shock for you? What tips do you have to overcome this shock?
I think culture shock is a really challenging thing to deal with because you might experience symptoms and not even realize it. When I was living in South Korea alone, I think I had a harder time dealing with the stress of being immersed in a new culture. Living in Japan with my family has been a somewhat easier experience, I think because I am a bit older, more experienced generally, and I have my family to support me.
To overcome these challenges, I would say maintaining a support system of friends or family is really useful. It’s also useful to dive into the new culture a bit, even if it’s uncomfortable. Learning the local language is really useful, and participating in activities outside of the typical tourist attractions is another way to embrace your new environment.
Thank you, Crystal, for sharing about your career journey and life in Japan! Check our Instagram @ustcareer and watch this blog for more Global Alumni Spotlights throughout the semester!