Growing up as a 4th generation Japanese American, Japan has always been a country that has had a special place in my heart. When I was 15, I went to Japan for the first time as a delegate for the Oakland Fukuoka Sister City High School Exchange. That same summer, I went to Japan as a delegate for the Hiroshima International Summer Youth Exchange and became a Youth Goodwill Ambassador of Hiroshima. In both of the trips, I was able to participate in cross-cultural exchanges with Japanese high school students. I was truly amazed by each student’s enthusiasm and strong desire to learn English. These experiences piqued my desire to return to Japan in the near future to teach English.
I first heard of the JETAANC scholarship through the Oakland Fukuoka Sister City Association. My interest in the JET Program and my interest in Japanese language and culture ultimately led me to apply for this scholarship. The scholarship had an easy application process requiring an essay, 2 letters of recommendation and a couple of short answer questions. I am honored to be a recipient of this scholarship and am eternally grateful to JETAANC for their generosity and support. The scholarship has helped allow me to attend the University of California, Davis where I am majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior and minoring in Spanish. While Japanese is not my primary focus of study, I plan on taking Japanese language classes with the eventual goal of taking the N1 Level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. At Davis, I participate in the Partners in Acquiring Language Program, which is an English conversation program between native English speaking students and students who speak different languages.
My older sister is currently entering her 2nd year as an ALT in Hiroshima Prefecture. Hearing about all of her various experiences living in Japan and teaching English to students at various elementary schools in Fukuyama has led me to have the desire to follow in her footsteps, with the goal of bridging dialogue and intercultural exchange between Japan and the United States. Following college, I would like to go to the Tohoku region to teach English to students in the disaster stricken areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. I want to do my part to help restore hope in the new generation of children through the power of language.