Webster Student to Teach in Japan

| April 23, 2013

Webster University student Carisa Crittendon will spend the next two years teaching English to Japanese school children. An International Studies major with an emphasis in Asian studies, Crittendon has been accepted into the highly selective Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

“Being able to teach in Japan is a dream come true for me,” Crittendon said. “I have been interested in Japan since I was a child, but it was the support of the professors here at Webster who really made this possible.”

Crittendon, a St. Louis native, said she originally became interested in Japanese culture through the popular toys of her generation – specifically Pokémon and Tamagotchi. Through those trends, she chose to try and learn Japanese through books and web sites. When she enrolled at Webster, she immediately signed up for Japanese language courses and began studying the culture.

In her junior year, she took advantage of Webster’s study abroad program and spent a semester at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. “It was the best time of my life,” she said. Then last semester, she studied at the Webster campus in Thailand. There, Webster professor Ajan Jim asked her to consider volunteering at rural elementary schools to teach children rudimentary English.

“Only then did I discover my passion for teaching,” Crittendon said. “In today’s world, English is becoming a lingua franca (unifying language), and learning English can open up so many opportunities for kids, and I really got interested in making it my career.”

She shared her passion for teaching with her professors and applied for the program in October. Her adviser, professor Debbie Pierce, and Japanese language professor Kana Morishita, wrote letters of recommendation for the JET program.

Read more at Webster.edu.

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