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Can an American university help you get ahead in Japan? Actually, yes

By Aaron Baggett

From kick starting your career to explore personal interests to expanding your network, the Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) Continuing Education program offers one of Tokyo’s best opportunities to continue growing.

The program is for all walks of life—fresh graduates looking for that extra something to make their resume stand out, companies training their future executives, older students simply bettering their lives—and the wide range of courses reflect this. Students not only join a class, but they also join a community of diverse people and cultures, all working together to improve their education and careers.

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No need to put your life on hold

Some 200 courses and more than a dozen certifications are available from the Continuing Education program concerning fields such as business, education, management, information technology, law, translation, marketing and more. Leading experts from their respective industries with extensive domestic and international experience teach students in small, personable classrooms that allow students a chance to engage in thought-provoking dialogue and discussion in English—a rare opportunity in Japan.

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"Brands and Branding"

Moreover, TUJ Continuing Education understands that it is sometimes difficult for people to put their lives completely on hold to go back to school. Classes are offered with convenient schedules, such as Saturday afternoons and weekday nights, so that students may attend while still managing their work and family responsibilities.

Semesters are compact, with courses lasting from 5 to 12 weeks. Moreover, a variety of one or two-day seminars and workshops are offered—ranging from business planning to property investment to coaching. Participants are able to take just one course or courses in a variety of areas, but for those interested in more in-depth study, specialized certificates can be earned within one or two years.

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"Brandis and Branding"

Student voices

Steven, a 29-year old VFX artist by trade, already completed the Certificate in Teaching English to Japanese Learners but is currently on his way to also earning the program’s Certificate in Branding and Communications.

The  Brands and Branding course, instructed by Edward Thompson, is a deep dive into consumer behavior, brand building and management, as well as product design, advertising, and communications techniques using real-world examples.

"I chose Professor Thompson, specifically," says Steven. "He makes us think. The course is personal and relatable. It keeps us engaged and interested. The program is a good opportunity to study while working, and I can meet people in an international environment. It opens doors.”

Classmate Anna shares Steven’s sentiment. She came with her husband from Brazil to Japan when he was invited to work in the country’s automobile industry. In Brazil, she was working at a TV station but says she never found time to study.

“Temple had all the right courses,” she says. “I started with Contemporary Advertisement, Cross-Cultural Marketing, PR and Media Relations, Writing for Professionals, Introduction to Business, and I will earn the Certificate in Branding and Communications this year.”

Anna says that, after living in Japan for two years, she plans to teach advertising when she goes back to Brazil in December.

Despite achieving so much with the Continuing Education program, Anna stressed that it doesn’t mean it’s been easy. “I was surprised,” she said. “The teachers ask us for a lot of work. I was afraid it would be easy, but it's the opposite. Every class asks us to work hard and to participate. You have to earn your grades. It feels very special.”

Making connections

Thompson, the founder of the market planning company Concept Design, has more than 20 years of advertising experience in Japan, assisting domestic and multinational corporations. Originally from Texas, he came to Japan when the internet was still emerging, and print was still considered viable in advertising.

“In that time, it's been very important for me to reflect information that is up to date so [my students] can stay relevant in their fields,” said Thompson. “You can imagine how the implications have changed.”

Thompson emphasizes to his students that the Brands and Branding course is an MBA-like experience where many people from different backgrounds can share their experiences — in essence, a place you can make connections. Something vital in the business world.

“People who are at large companies, financial institutions, it's all about the connections you make with MBAs — the ability to stay in touch with people as you continue your journey. Because of the high number of repeat participants [in class], you wind up with people who stay in touch with each other for many years.”

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"The fundamentals of creating a successful YouTube channel (Two-day Workshop)”

An American university

Etsuko, an employee at the Embassy of Turkey in Tokyo, was looking for an opportunity to speak more English and learned about the program from a friend. Expecting a university setting she had been in before, she was surprised by the openness and engagement found in Thompson’s class.

"I never imagined this type of course," she says. “I was expecting a Japanese classroom.”

Etsuko is one of nearly 4,000 students (graduate, undergraduate, and continuing education) attending classes at TUJ’s new campus in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. The new campus, opened last year, has given TUJ that traditional American university setting, complete with students lounging in the grass quad.

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TUJ Library

The campus includes modern classrooms, a large cafeteria and student lounge, one of Japan’s largest English libraries and fully-equipped computer labs, all of which are accessible by students in the Continuing Education program.

"It allowed me to speak more English,” Etsuko said, “but also learn new skills in my information and tourism career because this class gives me the chance to keep up with online trends.

“It's a chance to improve my career and learn what is going on today. It was the stimulation that I needed. Before I thought English was just a tool, but in Thompson’s class, I’ve learned it’s a way to meet friends.”

For more information, visit the TUJ Continuing Education website. The campus is a short walk from Sangenjaya Station on the Tokyo Den-en-toshi Line, just two stops from Shibuya.

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This article is sponsored content from Temple University Japan.

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