Teaching, studying in Asia offered to Eastern students



Kennedy Nolen | Daily Eastern News Jinhee Lee, Asian studies coordinator and history professor encourages students to pick up fliers about teaching and studying abroad in South Korea, Japan and China.

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

Students learned about opportunities to teach and study in Asia during an information session Thursday.

Natalya Rodriguez, a representative from the Consulate-General’s Office of Japan in Chicago, discussed the Japan Exchange and Teaching program, which she took part in after graduating from college.

Rodriguez taught elementary school and junior high school students for three years in rural Japan from 2013 to 2016.

The Japan Exchange and Teaching program is supported by the Japanese government and allows native English speakers to obtain a paid, full-time job teaching in Japan.

Rodriguez explained there are two types of positions in the Japan Exchange and Teaching program. The first is an assistant language teacher, and the second is a coordinator for international relations.

Assistant language teachers work with a teacher in a classroom planning lessons, creating games and helping students, Rodriguez said.

When Rodriguez was in Japan teaching, she got to go see traditional rice planting and go on field trips with the students.

The coordinators for international relations work in government offices, interpreting and teaching English in rural or small towns. They also help with communication between sister-cities.

Japan Exchange and Teaching program recipients are also offered a free language-learning course online for free. It is through a company called CLAIR, specifically offered to those participating in the program.

Applications are currently available for people interested, and they are due by Nov. 9.

History professor Jinhee Lee, who is also the Asian studies coordinator, said she studied abroad in Japan during her sophomore year of college, and eventually studied in the United States.

She said she loved studying abroad because of the diversity and she got to learn about other cultures.

During the presentation, Lee encouraged students to take advantage of opportunities around campus to learn about other cultures.

Kennedy Nolen | Daily Eastern News
Natalya Rodriguez, representative from the Consul-General Office of Japan in Chicago, shares her experience with the Japan Exchange and Teaching program from 2013 to 2016.

Aleah Wunder, junior studio arts major, spent the spring semester of her sophomore year in Osaka, Japan.

She said her reason to study abroad stemmed from a childhood interest in Japanese animation that later developed into appreciation for Japanese culture and art.

Wunder said she used the efficient transportation system and appreciated the beauty in traditional Japanese architecture.

She also recognized things she learned from previous classes and applied them to her experiences in Japan.

“I really developed a lot of self-confidence by traveling to Japan,” Wunder said. “The environment was very welcoming.”

Wunder said she participated in novelty aspects of Japan, such as going to a themed café and stumbling across a cosplay convention in the middle of a park.

Senior English major Lizzie Bridges studied in South Korea at Sogang University in Seoul during the spring semester of her sophomore year.

Bridges said studying in Korea helped her communication skills and adaptability, and that she made life-long friends.

“I think it’s important to see different world views than your own,” Bridges said.

Two common programs let students study in Korea.

The Teach and Learn in Korea program lets people with an associate’s degree teach in rural towns for 15 hours a week. The English Program in Korea requires a bachelor’s degree. This program will more than likely pay for the teacher’s housing and a health care plan, and pay for travel expenses to and from Korea.


Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].