INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, FIND YOUR ‘IKIGAI’ IN PANDEMIC-PROOF PROGRAMS

The lockdown may have forced international students to rethink their plans, including the courses they will take abroad. Finding a pandemic-proof program is logical for security, but it does not mean that students have to settle with a dead-end, soul-sucking job after graduation in the post COVID-19 world.

 

Japan, a country that has known disasters, from earthquakes to typhoons, has a beautiful word that can also guide people in their search for happiness, amid the pandemic: “ikigai.” It is made of two words, which are “Iki” (meaning life) and “gai” (used to describe worth or value). “Ikigai” translates to finding joy in life. This is said to be experienced when one’s profession, skill set, passion, and vocation intersect. 

 

Simply put, liking what you do is not enough to live a fulfilling life. It has to pay the bills, too, and take you into a stable future.

 

In-Demand Jobs in Post-Pandemic World

 

Among the in-demand jobs in the post-coronavirus world are healthcare services, according to the latest top 10 jobs from LinkedIn. Students who aim to be among frontline heroes can choose courses in hospital administration, nursing, occupational health, safety and wellness, and medicine.

 

LinkedIn also reported a spike in open roles in logistics in March 2020. These are good opportunities for learners who find satisfaction in the distribution and inventory of essential goods and services in times of crises like the pandemic. Programs under this sector are supply chain management, business management, and accounting.

 

It is also the era of the tech-savvy and the digital natives. Ecommerce sites and apps have the most job vacancies listed on the leading job networking platform. It is no surprise that online shopping and other digital services are becoming more frequent as the public practices social distancing and follows the mandated lockdown procedures. 

The Rise of Mental Health

Pandemic-proof programs under this sector are communication arts, web development, programming, data science, IT management, machine learning, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.


Mental health is also an emerging crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the role of “psychologist” has emerged as one of the top 10 in-demand jobs. Globally, advocates are reporting high levels of emotional distress from the coronavirus pandemic. International students who find purpose in helping others heal emotionally may be well-suited to take courses in counseling psychology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy.


A well-suited field of study is deemed even more important for international students, who spend more on their schooling compared to domestic students, and have to fly halfway across the globe and adjust to a whole new world to obtain a much-coveted degree. 


“With or without a pandemic, countries and institutions wooing international students are expected to provide useful, up-to-date information about the labor market and how to find and apply for jobs,” said Shawn D. Swail, Chief Business Officer at MSM. “They should offer not just support for learning but also a solid plan for progression into further study or employment.”

The crisis can help students better evaluate their decisions, on top of the solitude enforced on them while the pandemic rages on. But just as important is to look for their “ikigai” when deciding on the path they want to take, particularly in their study-abroad goals.

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