Careers & Graduates

Careers & Graduates

Even though, Japanese has been taught at Bishop’s University since 1988, the program of Japanese Minor is quite young. Officially, it started in 2005.

There is a serious lack of experts on Japan in Quebec (and in Canada). The importance of Japan for Canada is unquestionable. Yet, unlike the situation in the United States, our universities don’t seem to produce enough number of Canadians fully capable of functioning in the Japanese milieu. In a manner of speaking, it is going to be a sellers’ market for a long time to come. To what extent, you ask?

A good example is one of our graduates, Marie-Eve Bédard (Sociology 2004) who completed the 3 levels of Japanese. A modest mention of this fact in her CV led to a job at the Montreal Urban Community Police as special investigation officer. Recently, Marie-Eve moved onto a new job, but it is quite apparent that there is a ton of work to be done in this area, using Japanese.

Another example. Stéphane Gagné, a graduate of the Université de Sherbrooke in Economics, 1993, studied Japanese at Bishop’s for two years. Now he makes over 20 trips to Asia (including Japan) for a bio-technology company he works for.

It is not that there is a ready-made market where you can simply go in and pick up a job, as if it were a treasure hunt. It is up to you to find or even create a job.

I can, however, mention the following:

  • For a long term job, there is always the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the federal government of Canada. You will see that Japanese proficiency is highly valued by the federal government. In the Frequently Asked Questions of the above website:

    Q. Why is a proficiency in Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Chinese), Portuguese, Russian or Spanish valued?

    A. Such proficiencies are particularly important in fulfilling our mandate. These languages can be difficult to learn and require expensive and labour-intensive training. Working ability in any other foreign language is also potentially valuable for the department and may increase career possibilities for successful candidates once they are hired.

    Foreign Service Officers must be bilingual when hired. As indicated above, for those candidates who do not meet the second language requirements, up to 52 weeks of second language training will be provided at government expense. Only upon successful completion of the language training will candidates be hired into the Foreign Service.

    Q. What is meant by a working ability in Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Chinese), Portuguese, Russian or Spanish?

    A. Individuals indicating a working ability in these languages may be tested by the department as part of the hiring process. More information on “working ability” in a foreign language.

    Working ability means the individual can satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements in a particular language, and can handle routine work-related interactions that are limited in scope. The individual can handle with confidence, but not with facility, most normal, high-frequency social conversational situations including extensive, but casual conversations about current events, work, family and autobiographical information. The individual can get the gist of most everyday conversations, but has some difficulty understanding native speakers in situations that require specialized or sophisticated knowledge. Linguistic structure is usually not very elaborate and not thoroughly controlled; errors are frequent.

  • The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET Programme). This is a great way to go to Japan and work.

    According to the website of the JET Programme for Canadians, “The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme seeks to enhance internationalisation in Japan and to promote mutual understanding between Japan and other nations. The Programme also aims to enhance foreign language education in Japan, and to promote international exchange at the local level through fostering ties between Japanese and foreign youth. These objectives are being achieved by offering JET Programme participants the opportunity to work in local Japanese authorities as well as in public elementary, junior high and senior high schools.”

  • For a short term job, there are numerous jobs of teaching/tutoring English.