Three Nebraska Wesleyan University students will spend the next year in Japan.
Felicia Phares, Kate Richerson and Grant Jackman, all of Lincoln, have each been accepted to the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Now in its 31styear, the JET Program promotes a grassroots international exchange between Japan and other nations. Those accepted into the prestigious program teach English in Japanese schools or work in Japanese communities on international exchange activities.
Phares, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, first learned about the Japanese culture through her high school’s pen pal program. She eventually traveled to Japan to visit her pen pals and never forgot her love for the country.
“I have the opportunity to live in an entirely different culture and experience it with more understanding,” said Phares. “I get to see the real Japan and not the traveler’s version.”
Richerson grew up learning about Japan from her parents who were stationed there with the Navy. The political science major studied abroad at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo for much of her junior year at Nebraska Wesleyan, and is ready to return.
“I’m really excited to immerse myself back into Japanese culture,” said Richerson. “I hope that JET will give me real, applicable knowledge and understanding of a different part of the world, making me a better public servant in my future aspirations.”
Jackman recalls learning about Japanese capsule hotels as a third-grader. He also participated in a pen pal program with a Japanese junior-senior high school and his interest in the country never seized. At NWU, he spent a semester studying Kwansei Gakuin University near Osaka and returned to Japan last summer through an NWU Japanese course.
“I think it’s funny that something as simple as a hotel room is what ultimately led me to the decision to move to Japan,” said Jackman, a business administration major.
“Japan has served as an incredible source of inspiration and motivation for me the past few years so being able to return is a dream come true,” he added. “Traveling the world is a dream that not everyone gets to realize in their lifetime, so I am thankful to be one of the lucky ones.”
All three students will graduate from Nebraska Wesleyan in May. Jackman plans to live in Japan for at least two years. Following her year in Japan, Phares plans to pursue a Ph.D in chemistry while Richerson plans to pursue law or graduate school.