Study Abroad Leads to Job in Japan
Mary Shannon Teague '06 took advantage of the College's study abroad program during her junior year and traveled to Japan. Teague went for a semester and lived with a host family. As a result of her experience abroad, she is pursuing her post-college career by returning to Japan.
Teague is moving to Japan to teach English to elementary, middle or high school students as part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). She looks forward to her move. "I feel that it's returning home a bit because I feel like I became a part of Japan," Teague says. "I have a lot of friends there, so I'm really excited to see them again."
Teague is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and majored in international relations with concentrations in East Asian studies and global business. She says Japanese courses and an interest in doing business in Japan were the initial factors that got her interested in studying abroad.
Upon her arrival in Japan, Teague says she thought Hirakata City "was like a big city that went on forever." The Japanese cuisine, dress and show of affection were the aspects different from American culture that amazed Teague.
A family from Hirakata City, consisting of parents, two boys and a girl, hosted Teague during her stay. She says her host family was much more Western than she anticipated. On a typical day "the mom came home after work, made dinner and would [sometimes] fall asleep while ironing. The dad worked for the city of Osaka so there were certain times he would come home at 5 a.m. The children were busy in school," she says.
Teague plans to stay in Japan for a full year and and then she's "looking forward to studying languages and traveling."
Quinn Maynard '06, who also studied in Japan, shares the same excitement about Japan and also plans to return. Calling himself a student of social sciences, Maynard majored in international relations with a concentration in East Asian studies.
A Japanese course at Roanoke College sparked his interest in going abroad. He expresses much passion about East Asian cultures and says "there are really beautiful facets of East Asian cultures, specifically Chinese and Japanese, which deserve attention from students who desire to be students not of an American university, but of the world."
After a year of living in Japan, Maynard discovered that "civility and courtesy are deeply rooted facets of the culture" and there exists an "openness and a desire to be doing stuff, to be living and just taking everything in." He will return to Japan to look for a job teaching English or working for government agencies. "The point of working in Japan isn't to work but to really embrace cultural difference and kind of rediscover what that means for me," Maynard says.