UiB Alumni Network
Alumni of the month

Alumni of the month: Jeanett Thomsen

Jeanett Thomsen was hesitant about going abroad – now she lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Trading rainy Bergen with the city that never sleeps was a decision that she never regretted. She has one advice to students considering going abroad - Just go!

Månedens alumn Jeanett T
Jeanett Thomsen

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Why did you choose to study Japanese?

It was a very spontaneous decision that I made the summer of 2011. I had originally decided on pursuing Digital culture at UiB, but then my intuition told me to go for Japanese. I never regretted that decision! Japanese was one of the languages that I had always wanted to learn.

What motivated you to go abroad?

When studying a language there is nothing better than to live where they speak the language. I had wanted to live abroad for a while, and I thought this was a good opportunity to step outside my comfort zone.

What part of your education has been the most useful as a professional?

Obviously, my language skills have been a door opener for me. Few people speak English fluently in Japan, and there are few foreigners who speak Japanese well enough to work here. My language skills and my interest in the business have given me opportunities like internships and contacts; all of this has led me to where I am today.

Do you have any memorable moments from your student days at UiB?

The most memorable must be all the good friends I made. The spring of 2013 is particularly memorable; half our class had gone abroad. The remaining half was not leaving until the fall, so we spent time together visiting museums, cafes and restaurants in Bergen. We got to know each other very well that spring.

How is it to live and work in Japan?

Since I decided to remain in Japan after finishing my degree, you can imagine I enjoy it a lot. Japan is a very safe and practical society and Tokyo is a place that never sleeps. Which suits me perfectly! I guess the working environment in Japan has a bad reputation, where workers work themselves to death and they have little time off. However, this does depend on the company you work for – there I have been lucky. I work very little overtime and when I do, I am compensated for it. In the company I work at, there is a culture for taking time off and going on vacation. 

Do you have any advice for students considering going abroad?

If you doubt – just go! In the beginning, I doubted too, but I will forever be grateful for making the decision of going abroad. Be active, and do not spend all your time with other foreign exchange students. Make some local friends, outside school as well.

Your best advice for today’s students?

  1. Even if you think you might not get the job, apply!
  2. If you are interested in working abroad, show that you have language skills. In Japan, they are very fond of certificates that proves your skills – so try to get as many as you can.
  3. Be positive! You do not always get your dream job on the first try. As they say in Japan; Fall seven times, get up eight!