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After Lewis & Clark


Hilary Oleson ’11 (Computer Science and Mathematics major, Japanese Minor)


Currently she is teaching English at an Eikaiwa (English conversation) school. She especially likes teaching shy kids because she is a shy person herself, so she knows how to get them to relax and be more active. She loves that the really small children, when they see her, sometimes start using the English words she taught them or hug her legs!

While studying in LC, she studied abroad in Sapporo, Hokkaido. According to her, best things about Sapporo includes the cooler weather, the friendly people, no getting lost in downtown Sapporo, and the Snow Festival.

When she didn’t think her Japanese was improving enough in Sapporo, she decided to join what turned out to be an extremely high-level Yosakoi team at the college. She roughly spent a third of her time practicing for the Yosakoi Soran Festival, and that was amazing for her.

There are so many great things about joining the Yosakoi team! For one, it finally felt like she belonged at Hokusei Gakuen University. She would walk to class or lunch and have people to say :”Ohayo!” to. And her teammates really went out of their way to help her out so she could practice. She was really impressed by their commitment as well, like how all of them kept dancing even though many of them were injured.

The fact that she had to use Japanese to communicate with most of her Yosakoi teammates increased her Japanese level so much!



Kiersi Burkhart ’09 (Political Science)


She would absolutely say the Japanese learning experience in LC helps her career. Especially third year, she learned a lot about Japanese culture that opened her mind and gave her many varied ideas for stories in her work as a writer and storyteller. She feels like that’s the year one really digs into meaning and is able to express themselves with more sophistication, so that’s when one gets into cultural and societal differences and influences. Learning about other ways of thinking, feeling, and living has been a huge help to her writing.

She also finds it a lot easier to learn new languages now that she has had to learn a language like Japanese, so dissimilar from her own! She knew Spanish before Japanese, which helped her learn Japanese, and then she went on to do some basic Chinese. Chinese made a lot more sense after learning Japanese, not just because of the characters, but of the experiences of having learned one vastly different language with vastly different grammar, so opening herself up to others wasn’t as hard.

She didn’t study abroad with LC but she did go to Tokyo with an independent group over one summer, and it was a great experience for her. She went between 2nd and 3rd year and became nearly fluent while in Japan because her host father engaged her all the time, as he was old and didn’t work anymore, and he explained a lot of things to her that she found mysterious about living in Japan. Staying with this host family is an experience she’ll never forget for the rest of her life. She also paired up with a conversation partner and quickly became friends with her. She learned a lot from her culturally and linguistically.

She thinks Japanese 201 and 202 were what built her foundation before going to Japan that allowed her to learn so much during her stay in Japan.



Alia Carter ’10 (East Asian Studies)


Alia is working as an information concierge and tour guide at the Nihonbashi Information center in Tokyo where she gives information for tourists, do tours, and things like PR and translations.

Her mom is from Japan but she grew up speaking English so she always wanted to study Japanese one day. Since her high school didn’t offer it, she looked for a college with Japanese classes and a study abroad program to Japan. She was really happy with LC’s Japanese department. She would definitely say her Japanese learning experience at LC led her to her current job. Learning Japanese at LC allowed her to live everyday life and work in Japan and gave her the background necessary to succeed in her job.

She does translations at work, so she finds a solid base in reading and writing Japanese she built in LC really useful. Also, she majored in East Asian Studies with a concentration on Japan. She believes that having a background knowledge of Japanese history, culture, and art is also advantageous since in her job she is introducing Japan to tourists who visit Nihonbashi, often explaining cultural and historical items during tours.



Craig Colbeck ’02 (East Asian Studies)

After graduating from Lewis and Clark with a bachelor’s
degree in East Asian Studies in 2002, Craig spent the next two years working in the JET Program—a Japanese-government initiative in language instruction and international relations. He was sent to Kitakyushu, a medium-sized city, where his job included translating public-relations materials and sister-city communications, interpreting, and visiting elementary schools and community centers to teach the public about the U.S.

Craig entered graduate school in the East Asian Languages & Civilizations department at Harvard University in 2004. Grad school took Craig to South Korea for language study as well as to Tokyo for a year of research. It took him a while, but in 2012 Craig finally got his Ph.D., and he now teaches East Asian studies and world history at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.



Chris Leong ’06 (Foreign Languages: Japanese and Chinese)

ChrisHaving studied Latin for six years in high school, Chris expressed interest in something completely different upon arrival at Lewis & Clark: Japanese and Chinese. He began in beginning level for both languages, studied during the summer, and spent a semester in both Osaka and Beijing. He graduated in 2006 conversant in both languages and is currently teaching on the JET program in Japan.




Jane Prideaux ’06 (Foreign Languages: Japanese and Spanish)

JaneJane came to Lewis & Clark with exceptional Spanish skills from her time in Argentina, but began Japanese at the introductory level. She spent her junior year abroad in Japan at Kansai Gaidai University near Osaka.

Jane is currently working for the City of Portland as a Bilingual Information and Referral Specialist, assisting people in finding government and social services. She is also setting up a ceramics studio at her home and plan to pursue the art more seriously in the future. Studying in Japan greatly influenced her creative style and she hopes to return to both Japan and Argentina as soon as possible.


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