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What should I do if I only know where I want to go but not what to do?

I'm a Junior and have recently been thinking about what I want to major in, which university is the best fit for me, and what career is suitable for me. Over the past few months during the pandemic, I've thought over wanting to get into Computer Science, and studying abroad in Japan seemed to pique my interest. Even though I want to study in Japan, I don't know where to start and how I would get there and what career I would pursue.

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Mark’s Answer

Hi Jack!

If you are interested in computer science and studying in Japan, there are programs available. Since you are a Junior, now is a great time to get started. In high school, my son took Japanese all 4 years and also wanted to study abroad. His major is Economics and he will minor in Marketing. Unfortunately, COVID put a damper on the "abroad" part of his "Study Abroad".

As far as where to start, as you near graduating from high school and you start visiting colleges, you can inquire about their "Study Abroad" programs. You can visit web sites, run college searches on the internet and meet with your high school counselor. Hopefully, international travel and programs are going to return to normal!

I ran a search and found an article from 2018 on the 7 Best Study Abroad Programs in Japan in 2019.

Check out this link! https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-international-relations/s/california/

Hope this helps!

Mark recommends the following next steps:


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Brayden’s Answer


I you share a problem that a lot of students have when approaching college. Especially in a pandemic world that we currently live in it can be difficult to begin college, only to be doing it from home and over zoom. You have an interesting situation with the study abroad decision. Studying abroad is a huge opportunity for you as it would expose you to a completely different world culturally compared to the US. When I was applying to colleges one of the things I always kept in mind was "what does this college offer me and does that ultimately make me happy". I know this can be a difficult question to answer because when looking at schools its difficult to get a feel about the culture and the student body. When it finally came down to deciding where I wanted to go I ended up going to a community college for my first 2 years then transferring to a university. With my degree (mechanical engineering) the first 2 years of classes can be taken almost anywhere with most colleges offering these courses. I know as computer science continues to grow more community colleges offer classes so I definitely things something you could consider.
In the end you will need to be the one that determines your path. I think the opportunity to study abroad in Japan would be an amazing experience especially with how big tech. is there. If you decide to stay and study in the US I also think that you will do well especially with how big computer science is getting.

Hopefully this was helpful! Good Luck!

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Rebecca’s Answer

Firstly, you may have to shortlist the careers you are interested in. If you have interested in Computer Science, you can be software developer, architect, business analyst, etc. You can explore more online and speak to someone who are working in the industry to understand more.
Then, you can check which college / universities offer the course and their ranking on the subjects. Universities also have some subjects they are strong at also. Hence, you may need to find out the entry requirement.
On the other hand, regarding studying abroad, would like to study there for your entire tertiary education or spend a few months or 1 year overseas? For 1st case, you can do the same above but just do the research on overseas institutions. For later case, you can consider to exchange student programs.
Also, studying in Japan, you may also consider on the language. Please check whether the universities teaching language, not all their universities offer English programs. And, you may better be able to speak some Japanese for the daily life there.
Hope this help! Good Luck!

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N’s Answer

Let me just start off by saying you don't have to know right away.
When I graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. As a matter of fact, my parents chose a major for me (Industrial Engineering), based on my grades and what I seemed to be good at and I just went for it, because I had nothing else in mind. After one year in college, being in the types of classes an engineer would need to take, and having an "Intro to Industrial Engineering" class, helped me understand that it wasn't for me. So thankfully, if you go to college and come in undecided that first year, you can use that year to figure out what classes you like best, and what other you do not. Computer Science can definitely be one of them. Then, you can then go ahead and sit with the university advisor and discuss options . You can transfer your first year's credits to become your electives for example, if you decide to change majors, that way the first year does not go to waste, and you can then focus on the new major you decide to pursue, if any. I also suggest using that first year to meet as many people and discuss their majors, what types of classes those are, what that would involve, and then you never know, you may find your perfect match just based on one conversation with one person :) Whether that is in Japan or anywhere else in the world, make sure you are open to learning about new topics and conversing with people and learning from their experiences.

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Shreya’s Answer

Hey Jack!

Like Rebecca and Mark's answer, the first place to start looking is what college you want to consider and how that college's study abroad program works. Once you have that figured out, you can start contacting their study abroad programs, even if you haven't committed to that college yet. When studying abroad it is important to find a program that fits best for you and also fits in with your academic goals in college. In addition to this many study abroad centers also have opportunities for internships abroad, and that is a great idea to look into your sophomore/junior year in college. Finally, network as much as you can. Reach out to professors, students from LinkedIn, any family friends you may know. Individuals will always give you more information than you can get online.

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Qaysar (Kay)’s Answer

Simply, know more about yourself and about the place you want to live in. See what are the things this place is mostly known of and what are the career options needed there.
I'd recommend making a list of the majors you like and are needed in that area then reflect on yourself and see which one you feel more passionate about.

Remember you're not choosing a job, you're choosing a career that you'll love to do and continue growing with!