Arianne Dumayas firmly believes that Japan is a land of opportunities if you are open to explore different possibilities. With this outlook, she was able to finish her studies and secure an academic position in Japan. Arianne is originally from the Philippines and came to Japan as a MEXT Scholar in 2008. She currently works as a Research Associate at the Faculty of Economics in Chuo University.
*This article has been edited from the original interview for brevity and clarity.
Student life in Japan
Could you tell us about your area of study?
I came to Japan to pursue my graduate studies in Economics at Chuo University. In my master’s thesis, I examined the impact of international production networks to the small and medium enterprise (SME) in developing countries, specifically, the supplier development program given by Toyota to their SME suppliers in the Philippines. In my doctoral dissertation, I analyzed the influence of transfer pricing system and urban system structure on the location decisions of the firms involved in cross-border production network.
Were you involved in any student associations?
During my student life at the university, I was engaged in many extracurricular activities as well. I have always been active in community and youth organizations such as the Association of Filipino Students in Japan (AFSJ) and ASEAN Youth Network in Japan (AYNJ). Being a part of such associations really enriched my social life and provided me a “home away from home.”
What other activities did you do apart from university work?
I did various part time jobs during my free time and school vacations: English tutor, interpreter/translator, research assistant, online market researcher, staff at restaurant and cake shop, etc. I think that doing part time jobs is a practical and efficient way of learning Japanese and offers great opportunities to interact with Japanese people from different walks of life. Among the part-time jobs, working as a language interpreter and as a restaurant staff really helped me hone my Japanese language skills.
What is your idea of leisure?
I rarely spent my weekends indoors. Japan has so many interesting things to offer. In my free time, I love to travel, explore new places, learn new things, and meet with my friends.
Work life in Japan
How did you come to know about the job availability?
At the time when I was finishing my dissertation, my professor and graduate studies staff informed me about my current job position. I believed that I had a good chance in securing the job, so I applied and luckily, I was successful in getting the position.
Can you tell us about your current job?
I currently work as a Research Associate at the Faculty of Economics of Chuo University. I have two main tasks for this position: to teach an undergraduate degree course; and to conduct research. I am assigned to teach a course on Introduction on Geographical Economics which aims to provide students with relevant economic theories and concepts to understand the following topics: formation of cities; expansion of urban areas, movement of people, goods, and ideas; international production networks; development policies and strategies. My current research is about the development of economic zones in the Philippines. I am analyzing three key components of the economic zone: process of establishing economic zones, performance or the impact of economic zones on national and local economy, and policy evolution of economic zone strategy.
What is your aspiration for the future?
As a foreign faculty member, I aim to be instrumental in the globalization efforts of my university. I believe that I can contribute in establishing new links to other universities abroad. As a former foreign student, I would like to participate in promotional activities and academic guidance for foreign or exchange students.
Words of advice from Arianne for current MEXT scholars:
1) Learn the Japanese language as it opens plenty of opportunities.
2) Make Japanese friends-be a part of international language groups
3) Do part time jobs-it helps to delve into Japanese society
4) Manage work and leisure systematically
5) Be open to new possibilities