I Want to Spend the Next Year in Japan
I have always done a lot of traveling; by the time I was twenty-one I had stepped foot on four continents. Growing up, I spent school years in Massachusetts with my mother and summers in the Western Pacific with my father. I also lived in England for a year, and in the last eighteen months I have visited England, Costa Rica, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and China.
My father lives in Saipan, which is the largest and most populous island in the Northern Mariana Islands. The journey from Massachusetts to Saipan usually had a layover in Narita; as a result, I’ve been to Japan at least fourteen times. However, every visit was the same. Fly into Narita. Spend the night in a hotel. Fly out the next morning. I have always wanted to spend more time in Japan, but the situation never presented itself.
I have many reasons for wanting to spend time in Japan. I have always been interested in studying the country because Saipan was once a Japanese territory. During World War II, while my father’s family was hiding out in caves, my maternal grandfather was storming the beaches on Tinian, an island three miles south of Saipan.
I have taken several Japanese culture classes at the University of Richmond; I also made several Japanese friends. One of my best friends is a girl named Akiko. I also went to England with a student named Norito. Listening to their stories (especially about Japanese baseball and Tokyo Disneyland!) has always made me want to visit Japan.
I first heard about JET when I was a student at the University of Richmond, and applied in 2000. Unfortunately, I was not accepted. Undaunted, I worked for a couple of years, saving money for my return to college—this time, I would work harder and receive better grades. I successfully graduated earlier this year from Rollins College with my second bachelor’s degree and the distinction of Environmental Studies Student of the Year. After devoting my summer to an environmental advocacy organization, I am spending this year in Orlando with my fiancée, Emily, who graduates from Rollins College in May. Emily and I want to spend next year living in Japan. We researched several programs, including NOVA and AEON, and decided that JET was superior. We believe that the JET program provides American college graduates with the best and most exciting opportunity to live, work, and learn in Japan. The program’s placement, housing, transportation, and compensation are infinitely more attractive than other programs. We are specifically interested in the Assistant Language Teacher position because we both want to work with young people and sharpen our skills as instructors, especially Emily, who wants to be an English professor.
I am an excellent candidate for the ALT position. Although I have never been a teacher in a formal classroom setting, I taught a staff of eight organizers and hundreds of volunteers the fundamentals of campaign canvassing and grassroots organizing for the League of Conservation Voters last summer. I was also a corporate trainer for Wolfgang Puck Café. I trained servers, server assistants, food runners and hosts for over two years. I also became the company’s youngest manager at 22.
Once I am accepted, I have two goals that I want to achieve as an ALT. First and foremost, I want to be an ambassador for America. The world holds many misconceptions about Americans; I want to dispel these notions and make a lasting positive impression on the people that I will meet. I also want to learn Japanese language, custom, and culture. The ability to speak Japanese will help me in my future business ventures in Saipan and in the United States. Tourism is the largest industry in Saipan, and most of the tourists come from Japan. One of the most successful business owners I know is my Godmother, Frances. She is one of the few locals on Saipan who speak Japanese. Her language skills have been invaluable in her dealings with Japanese investors in Saipan.
I believe I have the right combination of educational, work, and international travel experience to be a perfect candidate for the ALT position. In the four years since I first applied to JET, I have worked very hard studying and working so that I would be more competitive in the job market, and in doing so, I have also made myself a stronger candidate for JET. I hope I am given the chance to prove myself right.
Click HERE to read Nina's SOP.
Click HERE to read Chris's SOP.
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