Belmont alumnus Paul Shaw (May 2016) was recently selected as an assistant language teacher in the prestigious Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET). The JET program began in 1978 as a Japanese government initiative that funds university graduates who are native English speakers to live and work in Japan. The goals of the program are to increase mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the people of other nations, to promote internationalization in Japan’s local communities by helping to improve foreign language education and to develop international exchange at the community level.
Shaw, an international business major with a minor in Japanese, hopes to work in foreign policy or diplomacy and studied in South Korea at Sogang University in 2015 as a recipient of the Sogang University Global Scholarship. He has also done advanced Japanese language study at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan. During his time at Belmont, he served as president of the University’s Japan-America Relations club.
“I first heard of the JET Program when I was a freshman at Belmont,” Shaw said. “My Japanese professor suggested that I look into the program, due to the fact that I would be able to get a lot of practice with Japanese and help children learn English. Over the next three years, I became more involved with the Japanese community in Nashville, volunteering at the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival and Celebrate Nashville Festival, as well as participating in events put on by the Japanese Consulate General Office located in Nashville. After spending part of my summer studying abroad in Japan last year (2015), I decided that applying for the JET Program would be the best move for me to make immediately after graduating.”
Shaw will live in Shikabe-cho, a town in the northernmost prefecture of Japan, Hokkaido where he will be an assistant language teacher of English at a kindergarten, an elementary school and a junior high school. “My role consists of exposing students to the English language, participating in community events, and assisting other Japanese teachers of English with developing tools to make language education more interesting and cohesive for students.”