Brandon Killby '11
My JET Program experience was very unique, as it is for everyone that goes through the program. Outside of my daily work duties at a junior high school in the countryside, I would spend hours studying and researching the Japanese language as a hobby of mine. During my third year on the program I had a very interesting and personal experience. I was accepted into a year-long Japanese language teacher enrichment program. The coursework and classes were very tough and tested my ability not only as a Japanese speaker but as an educator. However, because of my rigorous Japanese classes and the excellent Japanese education program at Mount Union I felt ready to take on this challenge. As teachers in training, we had to produce our own lessons and materials which I found to be both rewarding and challenging. After I graduated from the program, I started to think about what I wanted to do in the future. Considering my extensive background in both Japanese and education I decided to apply to highly rated and competitive Japanese pedagogy programs across America. I was accepted into my top program choice in February. I owe my success and these unique experiences to my educators and mentors at the University of Mount Union. I could not have progressed this far if it had not been for their excellent tutelage and their ability to make me challenge and better myself as a student.
My name is Brandon Killby and I am a senior at the University of Mount Union. I have been in Mount Union’s Japanese major program since I started as a freshman. Having a background forged in high school of the language, I felt prepared to face the challenges of the University’s program. During my freshman year I also enrolled in the Honors in the Major program and will complete this part of the program next semester with my thesis project. Every year in the program seemed like a new adventure to explore and connect with. I have met some of the best people and lifelong friends from all over the world thanks to this program.
Last Semester I was finally able to study abroad in Japan. I went to 関西外国語大学 (Kansai Gaidai) in 大阪(Osaka) Japan. This experience was one of the best and most inspiring opportunities I have ever had. The University is located in the suburbs of Osaka, a major city in the southern part of the main island of Japan. However, just a short train ride away were the cities of Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto, at a very cheap price. I really enjoyed my time in the Osaka area, and have made some life-long friends. I also did my share of exploring Japan’s beautiful landscapes and national treasures.
While in Japan, I took my study abroad experience and coursework seriously and my hard work was rewarded. I tested into one of the highest Japanese classes there, and I studyed vigorously for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. It turns out my hard work paid off, I passed the N2 Japanese Language Proficiency Test and this year I am trying really hard for the N1 test which is the highest level of proficiency you can obtain in Japanese language proficiency.
In my final semester as part of the Japanese major program at Mount Union, I am working on my Senior Culminating Experience (SCE) which is a paper written in Japanese on the current issues in the Japanese Educational System and how those events affect their society, compared to the American Education System. I have had so much fun being in Mount Union’s program, and the professors in the Foreign Language Department make the experience much more enjoyable. I will truly miss this program as I move on with my own career. Next year I plan on applying to grad school where I will work on my masters in Translation, and maybe a Doctorate in Japanese Literature. I will also try and return to Japan and work there as soon as I can. I’m not sure which road I will take in the future, but I am positive that the program here at Mount Union along with all my hard work, diligent effort and experiences have prepared me for whatever is next.