ben houge '96
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
I manage all audio efforts on a high profile, next generation videogame. Basically, my job is to make sure the game sounds good.
What has been your career path to date?
I started working in games right after graduation. I was a contractor at Sierra Entertainment in Seattle, which led to a full time job. I ended up staying there for 7 years, then 2.5 years ago I moved to Shanghai to do the same kind of work for French videogame company Ubisoft.
Which country(ies) has your work taken you to?
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
I spent 6 years in Africa while growing up, plus a semester in Europe while at St. Olaf, so living abroad wasn't a concern; the job was a good fit, so I accepted.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
My study abroad program in France, definitely, and advanced language study. I work for a French company now, so I use French often with French and Canadian coworkers.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
Falling through the cracks with US-based institutions who can't fit a Shanghai postal code into their databases and don't realize mail takes longer to reach me (problems with Xbox Live account, financial institutions, insurance companies, etc.), and the general hassle of wiring money back to the US for stateside obligations.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
It's a constant learning experience. I get such an incredible energy just from living in Shanghai. I'm never disappointed when coming back from a vacation, since the place I'm coming back to is so interesting.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
Being aware, having empathy towards people from different backgrounds, realizing that decisions made in other countries affect you, making an effort to communicate even in difficult situations.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
You have to adopt the mindset that when things don't come out as you expect them to, it's a delight and not an annoyance.
Please include anything else you would like to share about your experiences.
Prior to this job opportunity in Shanghai, I had never considered moving to Asia. I knew very little about this part of the world, and in the end I realized that was the best reason to go! It's been one of the best decisions I've ever made. P.S. Note St. Olaf hat in picture attached!