Stay updated on the activities and experiences of our Japanese program’s alumni!

Eleanor Garrett (Class of 2019)

My name is Eleanor Garrett. I am a member of the 2019 graduating class and am currently teaching English in Japan through the JET Program. While at UMW I studied English literature. I tacked on an Asian studies minor after spending my junior year abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo. At the moment I live in Oita, Japan where I work as an assistant language teacher, or ALT. My “job” is to be a teacher, a cultural ambassador, and, at times what feels like, a cool older sister to my 800 Japanese high school students. I truly adore all of my students. They are so kind, smart, witty, engaging, welcoming, and I really could go on and on. I am having the most wonderful experience and I am so glad this is where I ended up after UMW. I renewed my JET contract for a third year and will remain in Oita until the summer of 2022. After completing the program I hope to attend graduate school in Japan or the United States to pursue a degree in either Japanese studies, global studies, or international education (I haven’t quite made up my mind).

Leon Sepehrar (Class of 2021)

Hello, I’m Leon Sepehrar! I graduated from UMW in 2021 with a degree in Computer Science, and was luckily able to join the first class of Intermediate Japanese at UMW in my senior year. I am currently living in Chiba Prefecture, Japan (just a few hours outside of Tokyo) and teach junior high and elementary school students through the JET Program. Originally, I planned on studying abroad at Akita International University for my spring semester in 2020, but after this was cancelled, I decided to apply to the JET Program in my senior year, ultimately leaving for Japan in late October 2021. I love my job as an ALT (assistant language teacher), where I get to teach English to around 400 students from 6th grade to 9th grade. Working in a relatively rural town, I spend a lot of time with my kids, and am often their only connection to America, so it’s a real blast introducing them to American culture from my own perspective, as well as getting to spend time with a group of energetic, sweet, and sometimes really hilarious kids who will often poke their heads out of second story windows to yell “HELLO LEON!” to me as I walk into school. I have signed on to recontract with JET until at least the summer of 2023, but I’m not yet sure what the future holds for me past that point, whether it is staying on with the program for another year or moving back to the States to pursue a graduate degree or a further career.