CONWAY, Ark. (April 19, 2019)
– A Hendrix College record of six seniors have been accepted as Assistant
Language Teachers (ALTs) in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program:
Berner, a psychology major from Keller, Texas
Calixto, a psychology major/studio art minor from Dallas, Texas
McGooden, a psychology major from Siloam Springs, Ark.
Tran, a religious studies/neuroscience double major from Little Rock, Ark.
Verdaris, an economics major from Little Rock, Ark.
Xiong, a biochemistry and molecular biology major/Chinese minor from Subiaco, Ark.
The highly selective JET
Program seeks to promote intercultural exchange and understanding by providing
participants the opportunity to live and work in a Japanese community and
represent the United States as cultural ambassadors. Each year, between 4,000 and
5,000 applicants compete for approximately 1,000 positions in communities
Gwen Stockwell, director of
ESOL and International Student Services for Hendrix, said the higher number of
acceptances into JET reflects a tremendous increase in interest in Japan on the
Hendrix campus in recent years. Many of the JET Program students volunteered in
cultural outreach activities led by Aya Murata, the Japan Outreach Initiative
Coordinator the College hosted from 2016 to 2018. In addition, some have lived
in the Japanese Culture House on campus; traveled to Japan through the
Tomodachi Kakehashi Inouye Scholars exchange program in 2018 or the “Peace,
War, and Memory in East Asia” Odyssey Program trip in 2017; participated in
Japanese immersion weekends sponsored by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation; and
made an effort to learn Japanese, either through informal language lessons with
the Japanese Language and Culture Club or by taking the Introduction to
Japanese Language and Culture class Stockwell teaches.
“I think this year’s success
is largely the result of these students’ active participation in a broad range
of Japanese cultural activities on campus and in the community,” she said. “It
has been great to see Japanese language and culture contribute to diversity on
our campus and in our community. As a JET alumna myself—I served in Miyazaki,
Japan, from 1998 to 2001—I’m delighted to see our graduates now be able to
benefit from cultural exchange programs like this.”
JET participants begin with
one-year contracts, which may be extended for up to five years. The program is
sponsored by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations
(CLAIR), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Education,
Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and Communications (MIC).
the JET Program
The JET Program is a competitive employment opportunity
that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns, and villages
throughout Japan. Most participants serve as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs)
and work in public and private schools throughout Japan; some work as
Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) as interpreters/translators.
Since the JET Program was founded in 1987, more than 61,000 global participants
(including nearly 32,000 Americans) have worked in schools, boards of
education, and government offices throughout Japan.
A private liberal arts
college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as
one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That
Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and
rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous
college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been
affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.