Brandon Killby '11
UPDATE May 2017:
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 countryside junior high school, 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 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 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 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 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 chances I have ever had the chance of taking. The college is located on the suburbs of Osaka, a major city in the southern part of the main island. However, just a train ride away was the cities of Osaka, Nara, or Kyoto, at a very cheap price. I really enjoyed my time in the Osaka area, and have made some life-long friends. While in Japan I took my study abroad experience seriously and my hard work was rewarded. I tested into one of the highest Japanese classes there, and study vigorously for the Japanese Proficiency Test. That is to say that’s not all I did. I also did my share of exploring Japan’s beautiful landscapes and national treasures. It turns out my hard work paid off, I passed the Japanese Proficiency test N2 and this year I am trying really hard for the N1 (the highest level of proficiency you can obtain in Japanese Language Study).
In my final semesters in the Japanese language program, I am working on my SCE which is a paper 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 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 Doctored 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 experience has prepared me for whatever is next.