Emma Wood '19

Emma Wood ’19

EAS major/Japanese minor

In August of 2019, I begin work as a JET Program CIR (Coordinator of International Relations) in Kirishima City, Kagoshima prefecture. My primary job duties include hosting cultural events, assisting in Kirishima sister city relationship activities, translation, and teaching English to the community at a weekly English tea time.

 Entering Lewis & Clark as a freshman with no formal Japanese training, I enrolled in Japanese 100 with the expectation of fulfilling my language requirements and pursuing a different area of study. After one semester I fell in love with Japanese and realized that I wanted to pursue fluency. Learning a language requires consistent time and effort that can deter many students. The Japanese department at Lewis & Clark reduced the anxiety and frustration that comes with language learning. The Japanese professors work so hard to make the material engaging and fun. Four years ago, on the first day of class, my professor drew a picture of the sun and taught me to say good morning; four years later I am confident in my language skills and have a job working for a city government in Japan. Lewis & Clark and their incredible Japanese language department made this possible. If you want to learn a challenging and rewarding language, study in an interactive class with eager classmates, and work in a classroom environment where you feel safe making errors, then study Japanese at Lewis & Clark.

Students at Lewis & Clark are encouraged to study abroad and I spent a semester studying in Japan at Osaka Gakuin. Four months in Japan permitted me to transition from textbook Japanese to conversational, natural Japanese. After studying abroad, I knew my next step after graduation was to live in Japan. My first job after graduation will require me to speak Japanese in a professional work environment and is the perfect transition from college to post-graduate life. I am so grateful for the opportunities that came to me from studying Japanese at Lewis & Clark.