Every Day is “Global” at ICU.

Global ICU

Global Alumni

Matthew Berzins 
Supply Chain and Procurement division, en world Japan K. K.
2009 B.A. in Arts and Sciences (Languages)

Realizing the "right person for the right job" in the global human resource market

I currently work as a career change consultant at en world Japan K.K. My mission is to create the best match between those people who are looking for a new job and the companies looking for new talent. Specifically speaking, I visit my client companies to get an idea of the kind of talent they want. Important points to understand include the required levels of English proficiency, workplace environment and the reason why the position is open. I bring back this information to my office, search for a good match from our database and introduce that person to my client.

At en world Japan, consultants with practical industry knowledge and expertise serve clients in that specific industry. I work in the "Supply Chain & Procurement Division" which covers all businesses that involve transporting goods and procurement of materials and parts. I think it is a rewarding job because I can use my experience to help companies and job seekers take a leap forward in the global human resource market.

I decided to work in Japan after graduating ICU, so I went to several job fairs to look for a job. Once, I was refused a job interview because I forgot to bring a resume with me. I hurried back to the dorm, wrote a resume, and went to submit it the next day since I felt it's important to keep trying and never give up. After graduation, I joined a company in the Nippon Ham Group. I chose this company because I wanted to do a job that would serve as a bridge between Japan and my home country, Australia. For three years, I was purchasing and importing lamb and mutton meat from Australia and New Zealand. This experience of working in the area of supply chain gave me the opportunity to take my current job.


Learning the importance of challenging through Service-Learning

I was born and brought up in Australia. I came to Japan for the first time on a student exchange program when I was 15 and stayed in Himeji City for two weeks. When I was communicating with my Japanese friends using my just-learnt Japanese, I suddenly realized the wonder of speaking and communicating with words of a foreign language. Whenever I say something in Japanese, the people around me would smile and be impressed. I realized that the words that I was speaking were not merely sounds but a "tool" that could impress and touch other people. This made me want to learn more Japanese. So, after I graduated my high school in Australia, I came back to Japan on a one-year study abroad program at Kyushu Gakuin Lutheran High School, a sister school in Kumamoto.

I was planning to return and attend a university in Australia when the program was over, but the people around me advised me that I should go to a Japanese university if I wanted to continue studying Japanese. I started considering the option of attending a university in Japan. In fact, I was considering another candidate besides ICU, but when I visited the ICU campus, I was fascinated by the rich greenery and traditional atmosphere of ICU. I decided on the spot, "this is the place for me!"

The most memorable among all the learning I gained at ICU was "Service-Learning." Service-Learning is an educational program that provides practical and reciprocal learning opportunities for students. Participants will volunteer in a community service of their choice. Through the volunteer work, students will have opportunities to apply their on-campus learning to the community, deepen their knowledge and understanding through the community service, and leverage gained insights to advance their academic learning journey further. I stayed in Thailand for one month to engage in various community service activities. I visited prisons and sang songs to comfort the prisoners and encourage them to harbor a positive feeling toward rejoining society. I also visited schools to repaint walls where old paint was peeling off. It was the first time that I was faced with the raw reality of social inequality and disparity. I learned a lot from this experience.

When I was in my third year, I went to Peking University to study Mandarin Chinese. I was able to read and write freely in Japanese by then, so I could communicate by writing kanji (Chinese characters) as soon as I got there. I remember how the local people looked at me with a suspicious look because I was so good at communicating with kanji. I could go to Peking University through ICU's private exchange option since ICU was not an official exchange partner with Peking University. Regardless, Professor Tomoko Koto who used to teach at ICU back then introduced me to the faculty members of Peking University when she came to Beijing for an academic conference. She also supported my smooth return to ICU by checking all the achievements of my study in China. I think that I would not be who I am today if it were not for her support. Yes, the close relation between faculty and students is another advantage of ICU. After completing my study abroad in Beijing, I returned to ICU, wrote my senior thesis and earned a degree in Asian Studies.


Living in the dorm -- a lifetime treasure

Another aspect that can't be missed when talking about learning at ICU is the experience of living in the dorm. ICU student dormitories are positioned as a place where students foster respect for human rights and diversity and learn to share responsibilities and duties through dialogue in communal living. Students play a central role in setting rules for these dormitories. At the Second Men's Dormitory in which I lived, we used to form a "Cabinet" for managing the dorm. The dormitory leader was called the "President" and respective ministries took charge of setting necessary rules and managing the dorm. I experienced the roles of "Minister of Information", "Minister of Culture", and "Vice President", of which being the Minister of Culture was particularly rewarding for me. The Minister of Culture plans, organizes and runs various events in the dorm. At a party called the "Ball," we served meals and put on a show of music and dance performances. As the Minister of Culture, I took charge of planning and organizing this party, which turned out to be a great success with many students from other dorms and commuting students participating as well.

Students of different backgrounds, personalities, mindsets, language, culture and religion, including both international and Japanese students live a fulfilling life together under the same roof in a dormitory. The experiences and friends I gained through communal living in the dorm are lifetime treasures that can never be replaced.

Working in en world Japan as a consultant, I realized anew that ICU graduates are highly recognized among human resource officers of various companies. ICU graduates, who are often equipped with good general judgement, creative thinking and high level of language proficiency are appreciated as "competent talents capable of flexibly responding to a borderless and fast-changing society" in various global firms across a wide range of industries. The "good general judgement" and "creative thinking" characteristics of ICU graduates, I think, comes from the way classes are run at ICU. Students don't just sit and listen to the professors' lectures at ICU. It's normal for students to actively express their opinions to the professor if they have anything that they are not convinced about. I believe that critical thinking skills and the ability to think freely and independently are fostered through these kinds of interactive classes offered at ICU.

I recently acquired permanent residency in Japan and hope to further step up in my career as I continue to work at en world.


Matthew Berzins
en world Japan K. K. Supply Chain and Procurement division

2009 B.A. in Arts and Sciences (Languages)

Matthew was born in Australia and first came to Japan at the age of 15. He stayed in Himeji City for two weeks on a student exchange program. After graduating high school in Australia, he participated in a study abroad program at Kyushu Gakuin Lutheran High School in Kumamoto. He entered ICU in September 2005 and went on a private exchange program in his third year to study Chinese at Peking University. After graduating from ICU, he joined a company in the Nippon Ham Group. Later, he made a career change and joined en world Japan K.K., leveraging his practical experience of working in the field of supply chain.