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Japanese Major Opportunities

The Japanese major offers many unique opportunities while studying at the University of Mount Union and after graduation.  While at Mount Union, Japanese majors have the opportunity to study abroad at various locations throughout Japan, participate in cultural activities such as dance and music, and engage in career development such as attending job fairs and guest presentations. After graduation, alumni of the Japanese program are afforded many opportunities domestically and in Japan, from teaching English and Japanese to working with international companies.  

Japanese Major Opportunity Videos

Kevin Pricnic

Kevin Pricnic '15

Yomiuri Shimbun Newspaper/U.S. Dept. of State
Kevin is a former Washington Reporter with The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s most widely circulated daily newspaper. During his time with Yomiuri Shimbum, he would track developments in U.S. foreign policy, catering coverage for Japanese audiences. His time with the paper afforded him many exciting opportunities, including, attending State Department Press Briefings, tracking legislation affecting the Asia-Pacific, arranging and conducting interviews, and monitoring domestic U.S. politics. Kevin recently took on a new position with the U.S. Department of State with the Office of Economic Policy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Rachel (O'Conner '14) Moriwaki

Teaching in Japan
Rachel (O’Connor) Moriwaki graduated in 2014 and double-majored in Japanese and Early Child Education at Mount Union. After graduating, she worked for the JET program, a program sponsored by the Japanese Government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as an English language teacher for several years. Moriwaki then got a job teaching at The International School in Yokohama, Japan. It is the perfect job for Rachel to utilize both of her majors.

Ashley Gauer '09

Teaching for the JET Program, passing the N1 Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and working for Japanese companies  

My name is Ashley Gauer, and I graduated from the University of Mount Union in 2009. I was a Japanese major and I studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai during my junior year. My study abroad experience was so great that I wanted to go back once more to Japan, and the JET Program helped me get there. I started the application process in October my senior year and moved to Japan the next August. I spent five years working at a junior high school in Osaka prefecture. The JET Program definitely has some great advantages. There is a good support system set up to help with anything and the schools associated with the program also help you set up your insurance, bank account, phone, rent, etc. While these are great benefits, the best thing the JET Program gave me was the experiences I had with students, coworkers and friends. A lot of Japanese students have never met a foreign person and this was my chance to help them see the world outside of their classroom. In the office I could see how much the teachers were involved with their students and that motivated me to be a better language teacher. Outside of the school, I was able to travel all over Asia and meet people from around the world. I have friends in England, Canada, Australia, Japan and Belgium now, people who I would never have had the chance to meet if I hadn’t taken the chance to participate in the JET Program. This program is an international experience for everyone involved, including people like me who want to see everything that Japan has to offer.

Passing the N1 Japanese Language Proficiency Test 

My experience with the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is varied. The first test I took was the N3 which I passed in one try. Next was the N2, and again I passed the first time I took it. Everyone warned me that the N1 is very difficult and they were right, but that didn’t stop me from taking it every chance I could until I finally passed it. Now, that may sound like a long time but I didn’t feel depressed when I saw my scores. Every time I took the test my scores improved, and it was only a matter of time until my scores were high enough to pass. So how did I do it? I didn’t cram, cram, cram until everything stuck. I didn’t do that when I was a student at Mount Union, so I used a more practical approach. I bought study books for the areas I thought I was weak in, which I learned from those first test scores, and did the exercises in those books. When I finished, I would take a practice test and re-evaluate myself, then start again, changing emphasis on which subject was weakest based on that practice test. Along with those books I would watch Japanese television shows and listen to Japanese music. I would watch the news in Japanese; I would watch variety and comedy programs in Japanese. Most news and variety programs in Japan are made to be understood easily and appeal to a wide audience, so everything is explained well, in order to help the audience understand the complexity of a news story or get the punch line of a joke. I also watched these programs with Japanese captions, this way I could hear the pronunciation, see the movement or picture I can associate with those words and read the kanji for the words I just heard. I could learn those words three ways as well as see a real world application of those words, making it easier to pull out of my brain the next time I needed it. So the best advice I can give is to find as many different ways to learn because one way may not be enough.

Working for Japanese Companies 

Gauer has used her degree in Japanese in her career working for a series of notable companies. She recently took a job with Kojima Productions. "Mount Union was the first step in starting me on my journey. I double majored in Japanese and International Economics, which I think is important. The liberal arts education I got from Mount Union gave me the tools to be flexible in any job. The specialty in Japanese helped to build a good foundation of proficiency which I could use when working in Japan. Without my experience at Mount, I would not be where I am today." After her time at Mount Union, Gauer worked as a translator and an interpreter at the Japanese company, BPT Bucyrus Precision Tech in Ohio. She went on to earn her Master's Degree in Japanese Translation and worked for a Japanese company in Toranomon, Tokyo, Japan. There, she works as a financial translator for the company, translating business contracts from Japanese to English and vice versa. 

Elizabeth Bender '03

Freelance translator in Japan 

I live in Osaka, Japan, and for the last few years I have been employed as a freelance translator and interpreter. I work mainly for two different agencies (one in Tokyo and one here in Osaka city) that send me Japanese to English translation, proofreading, and copy writing projects by email. The content of these projects varies from relatively uncomplicated material such as restaurant menus and tourism pamphlets, to more complex technical or medical documents. Occasionally I am lucky enough to be assigned a job interpreting for a guest lecturer or doing English announcements for festivals in Kyoto.  

It took me a while to get started as a freelance translator, but once I began receiving work, other jobs quickly came my way. I consider myself very fortunate to have a career that requires me to constantly put into practice the Japanese skills I learned as a Japanese major at the University of Mount Union. I am also thrilled that freelance work makes my schedule so flexible; I can do my job anywhere, anytime, so long as I hit my deadlines. Being your own boss is a great feeling, and it really keeps you on your toes!