By Abby Weingarten
An aficionado of anime and Asian cuisine, New College thesis student Asia Lord had always dreamt of visiting Japan.
When she learned about the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, a government initiative that brings college graduates to the country to teach English, she felt it was an ideal fit. And Lord was recently chosen for the competitive opportunity, which begins in September (only about 1,000 applicants are selected from 55 countries annually).
“I’ve wanted a career in English teaching for several years now, so starting my dream job in another country is super exciting,” said Lord, whose area of concentration is English. “The fact that only about one in four people who apply get accepted makes me feel even luckier.”
JET officials came to campus this year specifically to recruit Novo Collegians, according to Dwayne Peterson, the director of New College’s Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO).
“It’s so exciting to hear we have a recipient for JET. The Japanese consulate in Miami reached out to New College and asked if they could send former JET alums to see if they could do an information session with students,” Peterson said. “We’re really excited about Asia getting that opportunity.”
Founded in 1987, the JET Programme has sent more than 70,000 global participants (including upwards of 35,800 Americans) to work in Japan’s schools, boards of education and government offices. Lord will receive an annual salary of approximately $26,000 plus travel.
“I never would have gotten in if I hadn’t gone to New College; that’s a fact,” Lord said. “The experience I gained from my courses and job as a Student Writing Assistant (SWA) in the Writing Resource Center (WRC) really helped me stand out on my application. Not many undergraduate students can say they’ve had classroom or teaching experience.”
Not only have New College faculty members been ultra-supportive of Lord, but the CEO was also an invaluable resource during the interview stage.
“I was freaking out because I had never had a formal interview before in my life. The CEO set me up with a nice suit and gave me a mock interview, as well as loads of resources,” Lord said. “New College has helped me become sociable, confident and ambitious. I’ve come a long way from being a shy, introverted procrastinator.”
Jennifer Wells, Ph.D., New College’s director of writing, worked directly with Lord when she was a SWA in the WRC, and encouraged her to apply.
“What I like about the program, in addition to the excellent support it offers its participants, is that it expands a recent graduate’s experiences, introduces them to new hobbies and interests, and potentially widens the possible career path for them once they complete the program,” Wells said. “It is such a life-changing experience for those I know who have done it.”
Wells has known several JET graduates who have ended up staying in Japan and teaching there for years.
“It is a great program, and our students are well-poised to submit a strong application and, with the support of faculty mentors and the CEO, ace their in-person interview,” Wells said. “I hope that future New College graduates learn more about JET because of Asia’s success. I am so proud of Asia.”
For more information on the JET Programme, visit jetprogramme.org/en/.
Abby Weingarten is the editor/writer in the Office of Communications & Marketing.