Japan, Sweden, or Germany?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030

    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    So I am an industrial design major that has never been out of the midwest.

    I am looking for a new country to learn the language first, then possibly take classes there/take an internship/possibly live there for awhile. I am planning on leaving in two years and living wherever for at least 6 months.

    My top three choices are Germany, Japan, or Sweden. Obviously they are some of the best countries in terms of Industrial Design history and opportunities. I really want to go into furniture design so all three countries are excellent at that.

    I have taken a couple years of German and would say I am good enough to have basic conversations and write basic essays... So if Germany is the option I definitely already have my foot in the door to learning the language. However, this is a once in a lifetime decision so I want to decide which one will grow me as a person the most.

    I'll be honest, one of the reasons I kind of want to go to Japan is I have the yellow fever. :p Besides that I love Japanese food and their culture fascinates me... Plus I think industrial design in America is way more influenced by Europe than it is Japan, so I think if I came back to the USA I would have a somewhat unique perspective on woodworking, furniture design, and design in general. But I have heard from multiple accounts I will always be an "outsider" in a way and known as "the white guy" and most likely won't be able to find a good job unless I really prove myself.

    Sweden interests me because obviously their furniture design is some of the best in the world. I also love the cold, snowy months of the year and I have seen the country and it is beautiful. Absolutely stunning the way the Scandinavians take care of their environment. The only problem I see here is the cost of living in Sweden is quite high.

    Germany on the other hand, wow. Some of the best industrial designers in the world are from Germany, and as everyone knows it is a world power in terms of trade and industrialization. I already know the language somewhat, and Germany was the original plan because my parents have been both pushing me to go somewhere to try and go out and experience the world and Germany was just the decision off the top of my head at the time.

    I admittedly don't know much about any three of their cultures except for the basics. Could I get some advice from anyone that has any clue what they are talking about? Travelers, natives, people that stayed there for awhile, anyone?

    TL;DR, Want to live in a place for 6 months, which country would work best for a white male with an industrial design/furniture design career?
  2. puma1552 macrumors 603

    Nov 20, 2008
    I lived in Japan for a few years and miss it TERRIBLY, DAILY.

    It was just awesome to be there and the memories have grown fonder. My wife (Japanese) is going back in January for a visit. Wish I could go, but just don't get the time off from work that I would like.

    That said, the toughest thing about going to Japan is getting them to give you a visa to enter the country. They do not let people into the country without a 4 year degree (extremely rare exceptions). However, you can do student exchanges, though I'm not sure how you would go about doing that.

    And if you have the yellow fever now, you'll have the yellow disease once you've been there and seen what it's like...there's no cure for it once you've seen the ladies, they are unbelievably beautiful. ;)
  3. jafingi macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2009
    Well, I'm a European/Scandinavian/Danish myself, but am in Germany (Berlin) almost every year and Sweden (Stockholm) every second year.

    Stockholm has its own charm, but I like Berlin more. Especially if you study industrial design, Berlin won't disappoint you. + it's very multi cultural (multikulti as they say).

    BUT I have also been in Japan, and it's a really amazing country. Has a great culture, and is very modern, but also has their traditions. Won't disappoint you regarding industrial design either.

    However, if you've already learned some German, why not take the 6 months in Berlin? I think it would be great for you, and will improve your German even further (you'll almost be fluent in German in 6 months :D).
  4. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
  5. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    You should first find out what's necessary to get into each of those countries, for the stated purpose. I suspect the difficulty won't be anywhere near equal, especially for a 6-month stay.

    I'd also look at what it's going to cost to live in each country, and what your options are for paid work. You may need a work visa vs. a tourist or student visa, and if you try getting a job on a student visa, grave consequences may ensue. Be sure to evaluate things like lengths of leases for places to live, public transportation, insurance if you plan to drive, etc.
  6. mwa Suspended


    Jun 3, 2013
    Memo: A Slower Seesaw!
    There's a major culture shock anywhere you go outside the US, but in Asia things are done very differently, and more subtly than you might at first realize.

    I'd second Germany. I once had an opportunity to work in the Lübeck area.
  7. -Tobi- macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2012
    Hanover, Germany
    If you already know the german language you should go to Germany. To learn something new in a language you don't understand (Sweden & Japan) doesn't make sense or it's at least harder to succeed there, even more if you just plan to be in this country for a short period of time.

    On the other hand: if you want to put the focus on wood/furniture, you should go to Sweden. If you want to put the focus on industrial things like cars, machines and stuff, go to Germany. Japan... I don't know on what their focused on...

    I'm from Germany, so if you have any special question about the country itself just ask me here or by private message.

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