JET Participants Leave for Japan to Teach English
JET participants, who teach English
to Japanese students or work for international relations for local municipalities,
left O’Hare Airport for Japan on July 26. The participants will give Japanese
students opportunities to interact with native English speakers. The program
especially is extremely valuable to the students in rural areas where
the students seldom have a chance to speak English with foreign visitors.
A day before their departure, the Consulate
General of Japan at Chicago hosted the pre-departure orientation and send-off
reception on July 25 at the Holiday Inn Express Chicago O’Hare.
Andrew Principe, former JET participant, made a toast and gave advice to the participants. One is keeping one’s goal for whatever he/she wants to accomplish in Japan, so they are able to get through all their struggles. Another is taking advantage of the support and service of JET Alumni.
According to Wesley Julian, President
of JET Alumni Association Chicago, JET Alumni Association International
consists of 55 Alumni Chapters around the world and has been serving 58,000
JET alumni. Chicago chapter has about 500 members in Illinois, Wisconsin,
and Indiana, and has been actively engaged in providing support for JET
program, providing cultural events, professional networking opportunities,
Austin Gilkeson, a JET alumni, emceed the reception and took questions from the participants, who had some degrees of anxiety. Their concerns were unknown insects, buying a car, driving on roads, housing, loneliness, communications, and so on. Gilkeson and other alumni answered each question.
Kelly Madison taught English at 14 schools
in Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture. At first, she didn’t speak any
Japanese and had difficulties communicating with workers in the City Hall
and co-teachers at schools, who spoke little English.
Natalie Dmytrenko is going to go to
Akishima, Tokyo. She said that she has been interested in Japan since
she was about five years old because her grandparents and a Japanese family
from Hachioji, Tokyo were good friends. She had taken Japanese courses
from high school to college for seven years. She has studied abroad three
times, and the most recent one was at Waseda University in Tokyo for six
months. She always knew about the JET program and decided to apply for
it. She said, “I really like people in Japan. I think that the people
are polite and have a different way of talking and interacting with people.”
Andrew Whelan asked how to handle loneliness
at the Q & A session. He came from a big family and was the middle
child of seven brothers and sisters. He said that his family lived close
together, and he never moved from his home, so leaving was going to be
a big thing.
Tina Brown is going to Shimanto City,
Kochi Prefecture. She heard of the JET Program 11 years ago from her college
teacher. She applied for it for three times and finally got a position.
James Wilson is going to go to
Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture. It is big, but remote from the main island.
He said that he was disappointed because he wouldn’t be able to ride trains
a lot, but he was excited since the Island was smaller community, and
he would be able to get to know more people.
Alumni share their experiences in Japan with JET participants at a Q&A session.
Deputy Consul Keiko Yanai (R) and Edward Henry Hullsick