We are all too familiar with the question: “What will you do after finishing your degree?” Compared to other popular degrees like Electrical Engineering, Business Administration or Law, most people might find it less obvious what Asian Studies students might do with their lives after graduation.
Rather than seeing this as a disadvantage, having a degree in Asian Studies ensures you have a unique edge on the job market, as there won't be a lot of competition for highly specialised and well-paid jobs.
Contrary to this initial impression job prospects for graduates of Asian studies are as varied as one can imagine. You can find work either in an Asian country, or in an international Asian company with offices all over the world, or even in a multicultural city like London, New York City, Amsterdam, or Berlin.
Why Asian Studies degrees are versatile
Asian Studies degrees, as well as other Area Studies, cover a wide range of aspects and offer multiple potential specialisations such as:
- language learning for translation or interpretation
- social developments
- economic and trade relations
- political developments
- cultural aspects
And if you are wondering which are the most popular destinations for degrees in Area Studies here’s your answer:
- Bachelors in Cultural Studies in the U.S.
- Bachelors in Cultural Studies in Canada
- Bachelors in Cultural Studies in Italy
So, what are some popular Asian Studies careers?
Whether it’s Chinese, Japanese, Korean or another Asian language, these languages are highly valuable to many international employers.
You can either work as a conference interpreter in business or diplomacy. You can also work as an interpreter to assist police investigations or legal trials involving suspects or witnesses who speak an Asian language.
2. Foreign Correspondent
If a career in journalism sounds interesting, a job as a foreign correspondent in an Asian country might be a good fit for you. Similar to reporters, foreign correspondents are responsible for covering the news in a foreign country and be fluent in the language of the region. You can work as a freelancer or for a news media company.
You will have to travel or live in an Asian country for a certain amount of time and investigate or follow a story; this could include any topic in terms of culture, politics, law, or even report dangerous events like wars or conflicts.
3. Foreign consultant/analyst
You can work as a foreign consultant in fields like international politics. Career opportunities for foreign consultants are available within government agencies, embassies and consulates, or international organisations.
Your knowledge of the country's history and language proficiency make you a valuable advisor for foreign diplomats and ambassadors that need to work to resolve issues within the country or try to establish tighter relationships with the international community. Be a critical part of assessing situations and defusing governmental crises.
Ivona told us about her experience with a degree in Asian Studies: “I have experienced four kinds of teaching (Slovak, Czech, Chinese, British) and they are all completely different and they all focus on different things.”
4. Financial advisor for Asian markets
If you complete an Asian Studies degree with a focus on finance, you can become a banking professional with expertise in one or countries in Asia. You can provide consulting services in areas that include outbound investment, private equity, stock exchange, insurance, etc.
Your main tasks will be to research the financial market, communicate to clients and complete risk analyses and financial reports.
5. International marketing specialist
Understanding the way people from a certain area think makes it easier to sell them products and capture their attention. Companies are looking for specialists who can help them better understand their clients and avoid any embarrassing mistakes that are an ever-present risk in global markets. Help your company understand cultural etiquette, cliches, sensitive subjects and ideals of the population you know a lot of from your studies.
Bring the world together with your knowledge and experience and help others share your fascination for some of the oldest cultures in history.