October 2, 2017

Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program Offers VSU Grads International Job Opportunities

Bryan Sagliano, a representative from the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta, speaks to VSU students about the possibility of teaching English abroad through the JET Program.

VALDOSTA — The Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program is offering Valdosta State University graduates the opportunity to live and work in cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan as English teachers and public servants.

“Many people never get the chance to leave South Georgia and travel to another country,” said Natsumi Hayashi, a Japanese language instructor at VSU. “This program pays you to do just that. JET teachers are fully immersed in Japan’s rich, storied culture, all while impacting young lives for the better. It really is the experience of a lifetime.”

The JET Program is run by the Japanese government and seeks to foster internationalization in Japan by promoting mutual understanding between Japan and other nations. The program hires outgoing young professionals to serve in Japan as either an assistant language teacher (ALT) or coordinator for international relations (CIR).

ALTs work in public schools assisting Japanese teachers of English. Beyond using their native English ability to improve students’ English fluency, they serve as cultural ambassadors. ALTs make up 90 percent of all JET Program participants.

CIRs work in Japanese government offices promoting internationalization efforts at the local level. From organizing events to teaching adult education classes, they provide services to Japanese and foreign residents.

“JET Program participants become a part of their communities in a deeper, more meaningful way than the average American has a chance to experience while traveling abroad,” according to jetprogramusa.org.

Bryan Sagliano, a representative from the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta, recently visited VSU to talk to students about the possibility of teaching English abroad through the JET Program.

Clandra Newson, who graduated in Fall 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish language and culture and in Summer 2016 with a Master of Science in sociology, began working as a JET teacher in July 2016. She lives in the Japanese town of Kimotsuki.

“I met a number of Japanese students during my time at VSU,” Newson said. “Their dedication to learning the English language, as well as my ability to help many international students with homework and conversation, showed me that I had found my calling in teaching English.”

The Athens, Georgia, native said she continually sees the positive effect that the English language has on her Japanese students, colleagues, and community.

JET teachers are contracted on a yearly basis. They are allowed to work in the JET Program for up to five years.

Becoming a JET teacher opens doors to other professional and personal opportunities far beyond the scope of the program, Hayashi said. After the JET Program, many participants go on to work at Japanese corporations or in international programs at universities in the United States and Japan.

Potential JET program participants must have a deep interest in Japanese culture and hold at least a bachelor’s degree. ALTs do not have to speak Japanese but should be committed to learning the language prior to and during their time in the country. ALTs are also preferred to have qualifications as language teachers or be strongly motivated to learn to teach English as a foreign language. CIRs are required to have a strong, functional command of the Japanese language.

Please contact Natsumi Hayashi at (229) 333-7410 or nhayashi@valdosta.edu or visit www.jetprogramusa.org to learn more.

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