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Senior Profile

  • Sara Wilky ’18

    I first became interested in learning Japanese because I love the soft musical sound of the language. Initially, I wasn’t sure if I was just going to take one or two classes, but I loved Lewis & Clark’s Japanese program and ended up completing the minor. I came to Lewis & Clark with no prior Japanese experience, but many of my fellow students had studied Japanese to some extent before college, and I can attest to the care and expertise with which Lewis & Clark treats both types of students. If I had attended a different college I might not have pursued Japanese, but thanks to the Lewis & Clark program I have experienced many things and gained a sense of achievement that I never would have otherwise.

     My first and fourth years I participated in the Toyama Cup Speech Contest. Toyama is a prefecture in Japan, and Toyama and Oregon are sister states. Every year Oregon college students write speeches in Japanese and compete to win a trip to Japan and a tour of Toyama prefecture. In my fourth year I was lucky enough to win third place in the upper level division. It takes time and effort but competing in the Toyama cup is a wonderful experience. I also had the good fortune of studying abroad in Osaka, where I made many good friends and strengthened my Japanese through intensive study. Whether you choose to study a language or not, I definitely recommend studying abroad. 

     Currently, I am looking to use my language skills to teach English to foreign students. I recently enrolled in a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course, and hope to become a Japanese English Teacher (JET) next year. I am also looking to take some translation and interpretation courses at my local community college. Japanese has already given me so many opportunities to meet new people and connect in new ways and Lewis & Clark has been a great step in what I hope will be a long life filled with language.

  • Josh Kaplan ’13

    I originally intended to major in English and Computer Science at Lewis & Clark, but I instantly fell in love with the Japanese language my freshman year. I soon became an East Asian Studies major, which let me study Chinese and Japanese culture in a multi-disciplinary way, through history, literature, religious studies, and sociology and anthropology. After my sophomore year, I attended Middlebury College’s excellent summer intensive language program, where I learned the equivalent of one-year of college Japanese in two short months without speaking English. Shortly after the program, I started a year-long study abroad program at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. During my winter break in Japan, I volunteered at a youth hostel in Nagasaki for a month in exchange for a free stay and occasional food and drink.

    Coming back to Lewis & Clark for my senior year, I started working as a student intern at the Office of Overseas and Off-Campus Programs. I also worked with Professor Suttmeier to design guided-study classes for Business Japanese and Preparation for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I passed N2 last year and plan to take N1 soon. I was accepted into the JET Program as a Coordinator of International Relations (CIR), in which I will live in Japan providing support for foreign nationals, organizing intercultural events, and promoting the local prefecture.. I hope to use my experience in Japan and America and my senior thesis —about anti-nuclear activist movements in the wake of Fukushima— in order to get into a competitive graduate school program, eventually working in international business or education.

  • Abby Smith ’13

    When I entered Lewis & Clark as a freshman in 2009, I had just a year of audited Japanese under my belt, and a lot of excitement for the Japanese program here. Outside of Japanese classes, Lewis & Clark also has a large population of Japanese exchange students, with whom I roomed for all my years at LC, and from whom I learned more than I can say.

    After a summer on the Middlebury Intensive Language Program (at Monterey Institute of International Studies), I set off for Lewis & Clark’s year-long study abroad program at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. I left Japan only reluctantly, and determined to return. This past winter, I took the once-a-year Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and was able to pass the N2 Level. I was given incredible support in this with a JLPT-focused independent study led by Bruce Suttmeier. I also cannot stress enough the advice and support he gave me while I was applying for a position on JET program—which I will begin in the fall this year—hopefully the beginning of a long career path in Japan. Without Lewis & Clark and its incredible faculty, classes, and thriving international community, I may never have started down this path. I am so glad I did.



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