College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

CAHSS Graduation Stories: 5 Japanese Language & Culture Graduates Head to Japan to Teach

Heather O'Connell majored in Japanese Language and Culture and went to Japan for one year as an exchange student at the University of Kita-Kyushu and decided to double major in Communication Design. She is a first generation college student, graduating in 5 years with a 3.94 G.P.A. (Summa Cum Laude). She has received a job offer in Japan to teach English as a Second Language at a Japanese public school starting in September.

Carmen Armendariz, Nikko Bautista, David Bath, and Heather O'Connell are Japanese Language and Culture seniors who have received offers for teaching positions in Japan through the JET Program, a competitive work experience program administered by the Japanese government. They are moving to Japan in July.

What is JET? The JET Program is a competitive employment opportunity that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan. Being a JET is an opportunity to work and to represent the United States as cultural ambassadors to Japan. Most participants serve as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and work in public and private schools throughout Japan; some work as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) as interpreters/translators.

The JET Program seeks participants who are adaptable, outgoing, and who have a deep interest in Japan. Only the best candidates are chosen to represent America. The JET Program typically receives 4,000-5,000 applications each year from U.S. applicants. Of these, 1,000-1,100 will be selected for participation on the JET Program.

For more information on this exciting program, visit