By Amanda Boyer
Quincy University communication senior Rebeka Porter, upon graduation, is all set to start her assistant English language teaching job in Japan at the middle school and elementary education level.
“I have always been interested in their culture since I was like 13 or 14, and their language just sounds really beautiful to me, and it just kind of stemmed from whenever I was younger it just kind of branched off. I was like ‘Oh, if someone else can do this, then I can do it, too,’” Porter said.
Porter began her search almost a year and a half ago through a YouTube video which contained information on the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) program. Through watching the JET program on YouTube, Porter decided to look into the JET program and becoming an assistant language teacher (ALT).
Once Porter narrowed the focus of what interested her, she decided to look around for other options that would allow her to be an assistant language teacher in Japan. In December 2016, Porter came across the company Interact on Twitter.
As Porter drilled down into her searches, she found that Interact and the JET program were very similar programs, so Porter decided to have a backup plan in case one did not work out.
Porter decided that if she did not get accepted into the JET program since it was so competitive, then she would still have Interact to fall back on.
“In December, I opened up an application, but I didn’t fully finish it because I was like ‘Well, if I get accepted into the JET program, I didn’t want to have to tell one yes and one no if they both accept me,’” she said.
It was early January 2017 as Porter was finishing her application into Interact when she found out that she did not get accepted into the JET program. A few days later, she received an email from Interact requesting that Porter finish her Interact application because the company wanted to set up a phone interview.
“After I passed the phone interview, I went to a seminar group they had in Chicago in the first weekend in February, and there were a total of five of us. I did that and then I found out I passed in the middle of March this year.”
“I’m happy that she is able to do everything she wants to do because she’s so nice and so fun to be around. I’m rooting for her,” said Brenda Cosio, a 2016 QU graduate who used to work with Porter.
The two programs, JET and Interact, are specifically targeted towards Japan, but there are other programs that you can use for other places.
“I think I start about August or September possibly. I’ll find out more information when they send out the information and all of my official documents over and when I officially start the VISA process and everything,” Porter said. “I won’t find out where I am staying until about two weeks before I go.”
Because of how the Japanese school system works Porter will start with a contract for seven months, but she has the option to renew it for a year after that.