CEPEX

The Center For Professional Exchange

Graduate School Scholarship Opportunity for JET Program Alumni

Graduate School:     Showa Women’s University; located in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.

Eligibility:                  JET Program alumni (as of March 2015); men/women may apply.

Japanese Ability:     Must have passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N1.

Scholarship:              Qualified applicants can receive financial support for graduate school in exchange for work as an office and Teaching Assistant up to 28 hours per week. Scholarship covers enrollment fee, facilities and equipment fee, tuition, housing and training materials costs.

Awards Available:    (2) scholarships for JET Alumni are available for 2015.

Award Duration:      2 years for Master’s Programs; 3 years for PhD (Doctoral Programs)

How to Apply:           Applicants must submit all documents January 6-January 27, 2015; and take Graduate School of International Students Entrance Exam.

Required Documents:              

Completed JET Scholarship Application form <Word>  or <PDF>

Certificate of Eligibility application <PDF>

Copy of Passport Photo Page <PDF>

Curriculum Vitae Page 1 <PDF>

Curriculum Vitae Page 2 <PDF>

Graduation thesis summary <Word> or <PDF>

Research Plan <Word> or <PDF>

Graduate Studies Major <PDF>

Financial Statement <PDF>

University transcripts

Proof of graduation

Certificate of JET participation from local contracting organization

Letter of Recommendation from office participant worked at during JET Program

Copy of JLPT N1 certificate

Selection Criteria:      Evaluation of documents, essay and oral examination, which includes an oral presentation and question-answer session about research plan.

Entrance Exam:         Applicants must take the Showa Women’s University Graduate School of International Students Entrance Exam on February 14, 2015.

Selection:                    Announcement of test results and selection February 21, 2015.

Enrollment:                February 27-March 5, 2015.

Semester Starts:       April 2, 2015.

Questions/Contact:   Showa Women’s University Student Services Center Student Office;   Tel: 03-3411-5118; Email: shougakukin@swu.ac.jp

For more information please see:        

http://exam.swu.ac.jp/files/86cb1fd09628f203df95dc70c8256461.pdf

http://exam.swu.ac.jp/graduate_school/gexam/g_istudent/#jet

 

Important Information for the 2015 Japan Studies Award Application

 Desired Candidate Qualities Include

  • Interest in Japan
  • Open to learning and trying new things
  • Positive attitude
  • Organized
  • Motivated
  • Self-starter and independent
  • Able to work with minimal supervision
  • Research skills a plus
  • Able to work in a professional environment
  • Willing to participate in speaking engagements about the award
  • Flexible

Please click here to download the application and submit by the deadline: 

CEPEX 2015 Japan Studies Award Application Packet

 Application Timeline

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, March 20, 2015, 5:00 pm (EST)

Application Review: March 21-31, 2015

Applications will be reviewed by CEPEX staff March 21-31, 2015.

INTERVIEW CANDIDATES ANNOUNCED: Wednesday, April 1, 2015  

Candidates will be selected for in-person interviews and announced via email on April 1, 2015.

INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED: April 2-10, 2015

Applicants who passed the initial screening will be interviewed by the CEPEX staff in Washington, DC. Interview dates and other details will be sent to interviewees by email.  All transportation costs and other expenses to and from the interview site are to be borne by the applicant.
Note about interviews: If you make it to the interview stage and are unable to come to the DC office, alternative arrangements may be made on a case-by-case basis.

RESULTS ANNOUNCED: Monday, April 13, 2015

Interview results will be announced to successful and alternate candidates by April 13, 2015. Alternate candidate will be upgraded when deemed necessary.

In-Person Pre-Internship Meeting: April 20-May 1, 2015 (Meeting date TBD)

Award winner will be required to have one meeting with CEPEX staff at the Washington, DC office to discuss the interest areas, goals and objectives of the internship, and any mentorship-related requests.

2-Week DC Internship: May 18-29, 2015

Award winner will intern for two weeks in the Washington, DC office of a Japanese trading company.

10-Day Japan Trip: June 2-11, 2015 (tentative dates)

Award winner will have an opportunity to travel to Tokyo for ten days. Activities will include research projects and first-hand look at the Japanese business world in the headquarters of a Japanese trading company. 

CEPEX header

The 2015 CEPEX Japan Studies Award

CEPEX is proud to be sponsoring the 6th Annual Japan Studies Award in 2015. The goals of this program are to support young future American professionals interested in Japan and to strengthen the overall U.S.-Japan relationship.

The 2015 Japan Studies Award is open to undergraduate students in good standing currently enrolled in the degree programs at American University, George Mason University, and George Washington University. There is no restriction on the major or field of study that the student is pursuing. Enrollment in a Japanese language course is not a requirement for consideration.

For consideration for the award, potential candidates will submit a completed application packet by March 20, 2015, which will include a variety of short answer questions and two essay questions. Select candidates will be asked to participate in a brief interview at CEPEX headquarters in Washington, D.C. The final winner will be chosen based on the quality of the submitted application packet and successful interview.

The winner of the 2015 Japan Studies Award will be granted a two-week internship at the Washington D.C. branch office of Sojitz Corporation of America, a company with strong ties to Japan, beginning late May. During the internship, the student will have the opportunity attend events at think-tanks, write event summaries and conduct targeted research. The winner will also be able to experience working with Japanese speakers, networking with professionals in their future field of interest, and gain first-hand understanding of working for a Japanese-related corporation located in the U.S.

After completing the internship in Washington, the 2015 Japan Studies Award winner will travel to Japan. The student will be able to further their interest in Japanese language, culture and international business through a short internship in Tokyo. For more information about CEPEX and last year’s award, please visit http://www.cepex.org/. The full application packet and a timeline for the 2015 Award will be available in December 2014 on the CEPEX website.

Best of luck,

Nicole Uehara, CEPEX Director, Washington, DC office

Andrea Wert, CEPEX Assistant Director, Washington, DC office

About CEPEX

The Center for Professional Exchange (CEPEX) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the U.S.-Japan relationship and cultivating the next generation of Japan experts.

Many thanks to the Sojitz Foundation and All Nippon Airways for their support of CEPEX and the Japan Studies Award. http://www.sojitz.com/en/csr/contribute/nci.html and http://www.ana.co.jp/eng

Sojitz Foundation logoSojitz-Foundation-logo

ANA Vertical

Sojitz-Foundation-logoSojitz Foundation logo

The JET Program

The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program began with 800 participants in 1987 with the lofty aim to increase grassroots internationalization. Young college graduates were selected to live and work in Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) or Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. The JET Program peaked in size in 2003 with 6,226 participants from 41 countries, and has decreased to around 4,400 participants.[1] A number of cities have stopped accepting JET Program ALTs and directly hire their own ALTs or use ALT dispatch companies such as Interac, BorderLink, and Altia Central.[2] In 2014 there were 4,101 ALTs, 364 CIRs and 11 SEAs from the JET Program working in Japan. While there are representatives from 42 countries, over 54% are Americans. Combined with participants from United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, these five countries comprise over 87% of the JET Program.[3] In addition to the JET Program, around 8,000 ALTs hired directly or through dispatch companies are working in Japanese schools.[4]

JET as a Public Diplomacy Tool

In the past 27 years over 60,000 people have lived and worked in Japan through the JET Program. While improvements in English ability in Japan have been mixed, the program has significant soft power attributes and helped cultivate a new generation of Japan hands. A 2011 study by Indiana University Associate Professor Emily Metzgar (Shimane 1993-1995) focused on how the JET Program is a “effective public diplomacy program yielding benefits to Japan well after alumni have moved on to new chapters in their lives.”  Former participants in the JET Program can be found in varying stages of their careers in academia, public service, nonprofits, and the corporate sector. Out of the estimated 20,000 American alumni of the JET Program, Metzgar’s study received 518 responses, 86% of whom were ALTs. Survey results clearly showed the impact of participation on the JET Program for the respondents. 85% strongly agreed that the JET Program gave them a deeper understanding of Japan, 77% strongly agreed that the experience on the JET Program had been valuable, 84% had a positive impression of Japan, 96% said their experience in Japan influenced the views of their family and friends of Japan, and 97% encouraged friends and family to visit Japan.[5]

The Future of the JET Program

In September 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans to increase the ranks of ALTs in Japan by 2,300 over five years. The government is targeting JET Program and privately hired ALTs to reach 20,000 by 2019.[6] In 2014 over 12,000 ALTs are working in Japanese schools, including 4,101 from the JET Program and 8,000 hired directly by individual Board of Education offices or through dispatch companies. According to Harry Hill, CULCON (Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange) Chairman and JET Program CIR in Gifu 1987-1988, “JET is part of the solution to the diversity problem facing Japan.” “JET has been tremendously successful in developing Japan hands over the last 27 years, but Japan needs our expertise even more today.”[7]

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, the JET Program alumni collectively and individually responded to support Japan. JETAA USA, the national alumni organization for the JET Program in the U.S., raised over $88,000 for the relief fund which supported  Hope for TomorrowE-Pa+chTaylor Anderson Memorial FundLive Your Dream: The Taylor Anderson StoryvolunteerAKITA, and Rikuzentakata City. Other JET alumni volunteered in Tohoku with the cleanup efforts, or created new projects to continue assisting with rebuilding.[8] JET alum Wesley Julian (Miyagi 2008-2010) created a documentary film, Tohoku Tomo, which highlighted the “story of true friendship and commitment to Japan’s recovery by the international community following the Great East Japan Earthquake.”[9] Former JET Program USA Coordinator Ayako Smethurst and Shanti Shoji (Kagawa 2002-2004) created the nonprofit Kizuna Across Cultures (KAC) in June 2011, to inspire youth in Japan and the United States to become active global citizens by fostering international friendship through exchange of culture and collaborative learning of foreign language.[10] 

Kezai Doyukai Raising Awareness of JET

With the numbers of foreigners working in Japanese schools set to increase in the short to medium-term, Keizai Doyukai (Doyukai), the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, has begun to investigate ways to harness this growing talent pool. While some former JET Program ALTs continue to live and work in Japan after completing their contracts, the majority return to their home countries to pursue graduate degrees or other employment opportunities. Only a small number of companies in Japan have former JET Program participants working for them such as Latham and Watkins LLP, Sojitz Corporation, and Mitsubishi Corporation. A 2013 survey of Doyukai members revealed only 16 percent of the 207 responding Japanese companies knew about the JET Program and only ten companies had hired a former JET Program participant. Doyukai is working with the business community and other organizations to highlight the JET Program and alumni as a talented pool of foreigners with both an understanding of Japan and Japanese language ability. In May 2014 Doyukai organized a special roundtable in Tokyo with business leaders, JET Program participants and alumni and special guests including First Lady of Japan Akie Abe and Minister Hakubun Shimomura. In November 2014 Doyukai held another special event in Nagasaki with members of Nagasaki University, Doyukai members, and current and former JET Program participants in Nagasaki.

Akie 05162014a

(Tokyo Event with First Lady Akie Abe)

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  (Nagasaki Event)

CEPEX Support for JET

A key mission of CEPEX is to support the cultural and interpersonal exchange and study between the U.S. and Japan at the professional level. Throughout the years CEPEX has endeavored to assist Americans who return from Japan in maintaining and strengthening their ties to Japan. CEPEX has coordinated a number of events to connect members of the JET Program alumni association in Washington, DC with visiting Japanese professionals from Keizai Doyukai as well as a special dinner with then-former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2010. In 2006, CEPEX cooperated with Teikyo University Graduate School to provide an innovative teaching fellowship program available only for JET Program alumni. The fellowship provided full tuition and housing benefits, as well as an opportunity to conduct language teaching assistance or lecturer duties in Japan. Walter Tsushima (Ishikawa 2002-2005) became the first CEPEX fellow and graduated with a Master’s degree in Japanese Studies from Teikyo University in 2008. Mr. Tsushima is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Fukui University.

graduation 3

 (Walter Tsushima graduation 2008)

graduation 1
For more information about the 2006 CEPEX Fellowship please see: CEPEX English Press Release


CEPEX hosted a dinner on September 24, 2014, with special guest Mr. Yukio Tada, Chairman of Keizai Doyukai’s Project Team for Empowerment of Japan Hands. Mr. Tada visited DC to discuss Empowerment of the JET Program following his delivery of a keynote speech at the JETAA National Conference in Seattle, Washington.

Tada September 2014

Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) has initiated a number of activities in 2014 to promote and expand employment opportunities for former JET Program participants. A survey distributed to Doyukai members revealed only 16 percent of the 207 responding Japanese companies knew about the JET Program, and only nine companies had hired former JET personnel. Doyukai would like to highlight this talented pool of foreigners who have gained an understanding about Japan and Japanese language ability through their participation on the JET Program as a possible resource for the 90% of responding Japanese companies that intend to hire more foreigners.

Mr. Tada spoke to a group of former JET Program participants, JETAADC officers and other U.S.-Japan related attendees at the dinner on September 24. Key talking points highlighted a number of initiatives that exist for JET Program participants in Japan that have not been widely publicized.

⇒ Max 180 days stay after JET (JET在職証明書 法務省入国管理局)

⇒ Post-JET program in Universities (長崎大学版学内JET 旧六国際連携機構)

⇒ Special Teaching License for ALT (特別免許状 実習600時間、有効10年)

This discussion was extremely timely as Japan prepares for hiring greater numbers of JET Program participants to work as Assistant Language Teachers in public schools throughout Japan. The language skills and cultural understanding JET Program participants learn throughout their experiences in Japan create a unique potential workforce.

Sojitz Corporation

 

Management Trainee

Tokyo, Japan

Sojitz Corporation is a highly diversified Japanese business conglomerate operating in a wide variety of industries, with a group network which encompasses over 400 subsidiaries and affiliates in more than 50 countries across the globe.

We are now looking for highly motivated and talented students or graduates who wish to develop a career in international business. As a Tokyo Headquarters employee, successful applicants will initially work in Tokyo, with possible overseas assignments to affiliated companies or overseas branches. Management Trainees work with our global-minded business professionals and are offered unrivalled career and personal development opportunities including Japanese language training.

Position         : Management Trainee (Permanent)

Major             : Any

Language      : Business-Level English (Japanese fluency not required as training is provided)

Start Date     : October 2014 / April 2015 / October 2015

(Depending on your graduation date)

We will be attending and holding interviews at the Boston Career Forum on November 7th (Fri.) – 9th (Sun.), 2014 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, as well as visiting Universities in the Washington DC, New York and Boston area (schedule to be announced).

For further information please send your resume to: Sojitz HR

Note: The Boston Career Forum is the largest Japanese-English bilingual job fair held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center at 415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210.  (http://www.careerforum.net/event/bos/?lang=E)

Andrea Nikki Zak photo

(L-R: Andrea Wert, Nicole Uehara and Zak Whittle)

Hello!

My name is Zak Whittle, a senior at George Mason University majoring in Finance with a Japanese Studies minor.  Allow me to tell you a little bit about myself! Growing up, I lived in many places throughout the United States. The place I call home, though, is Washington. My family moved there when I was in middle school because my father starting working for the Japanese company, Sharp Microelectronics. It was around that time when my interest in Japan began to grow. My father would travel to Japan on a regular basis, and would often bring his Japanese coworkers home for dinner parties.

When I entered high school, I began taking a Japanese language course. I was one of only three freshmen that had been brave enough to do so! It was difficult, but as I studied the language and the culture, I grew to love it. I took Japanese each subsequent year of high school and even became a Teacher’s Assistant for it! During the summer of my third year in high school, I traveled to Japan for the first time through an exchange program. I stayed in Hamamatsu, Japan, but was able to travel to several beautiful cities, including Kyoto.  It was an amazing experience and I had a fun time and I made a goal for myself to improve my Japanese speaking abilities.

After graduating high school, I decided to serve a two-year mission for my church. I was apprehensive, because I knew I wanted to start college and continue studying Japanese. A few weeks after I had submitted my application for the church mission, I received my assignment. I was thrilled to learn that I would be spending the next two years in Japan! Over the course of those two years I was sent to several locations throughout southern Japan, but spent the majority of the time in Okinawa. I made many friends while I taught English classes and did service. It was a great experience and really helped my Japanese-speaking abilities.

Once I returned home, I enrolled in college and began studying finance, marketing and Japanese. My goals for the future include working as a businessman for a large company like Google or Amazon with an expanding presence in Japan. This internship is helping my dream become a reality!

I’m looking forward to all of the experiences this internship will provide and I hope that I can give a lot back to Sojitz Corporation and the CEPEX Internship program. The assignments I will be given, the events I will attend, and the friends I will make will open countless doors for me. I can’t wait to see where this amazing opportunity will lead me!

 

 2014 Application Packet

The 2014 CEPEX Japan Studies Award contest is open to undergraduate students in good standing at American University, George Mason University and George Washington University. While there is no restriction on the field of study or a requirement of enrollment in a Japanese language course, strong interest in Japan or U.S.-Japan relations is preferred.

Desired Candidate Qualities

  • Interest in Japan
  • Open to learning new things
  • Positive attitude
  • Organized
  • Motivated
  • Self-starter and independent
  • Able to work with minimal supervision
  • Research skills a plus
  • Able to work in a professional environment
  • Willing to participate in speaking engagements about the award
  • Flexible

Application Timeline

APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 14th, 2014, 5:00 pm (EST)

Application Review: March 15-30, 2014

INTERVIEW CANDIDATES ANNOUNCED: March 31, 2014

INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED: April 1-11, 2014

RESULTS ANNOUNCED: April 14, 2014

In-Person Pre-Internship Meeting: April 15-May 1, 2014 (Meeting date TBD)

2-Week DC Internship: May 19-30, 2014 (tentative dates)

10-Day Japan Trip: June 5-14, 2014 (tentative dates)

 CEPEX 2014 Japan Studies Award Application Packet

Please click on the blue link above to access the 2014 CEPEX Japan Studies Award Application. If you have any questions, please contact CEPEX Director Nicole Uehara at 202-429-0280.

 

CEPEX header

The 2014 CEPEX Japan Studies Award

CEPEX is proud to be sponsoring the 5th Annual Japan Studies Award in 2014. The goals of this program are to support young future American professionals interested in Japan and to strengthen the overall U.S.-Japan relationship.

The 2014 Japan Studies Award is open to undergraduate students in good standing currently enrolled in the degree programs at American University, George Mason University, and George Washington University. There is no restriction on the major or field of study that the student is pursuing. Nor is it required that the participating student be enrolled in a Japanese language course.

For consideration for the award, potential candidates will submit a completed application packet by March 16, 2014, which will include a variety of short answer questions and two essay questions. Select candidates will be asked to participate in a brief interview at CEPEX headquarters in Washington, D.C. The final winner will be chosen based on the quality of the submitted application packet and successful interview.

The winner of the 2014 Japan Studies Award will be granted a two-week internship at the Washington D.C. branch office of Sojitz Corporation of America, a company with strong ties to Japan, beginning late May. During the internship, the student will have the opportunity attend events at think-tanks, write event summaries and conduct targeted research. The winner will also be able to experience working with Japanese speakers, networking with professionals in their future field of interest, and gain first-hand understanding of working for a Japanese-related corporation located in the U.S.

After completing the internship in Washington, the 2014 Japan Studies Award winner will travel to Japan. The student will be able to further their interest in Japanese language, culture and international business through a short internship at Sojitz Corporation’s headquarters in Tokyo. For more information about CEPEX and last year’s award, please visit http://www.cepex.org/. The full application packet and a timeline for the 2014 Award will be available in December 2013 on the CEPEX website.

Best of luck,

Nicole Uehara, CEPEX Director, Washington, DC office

Andrea Wert, CEPEX Assistant Director, Washington, DC office

About CEPEX

The Center for Professional Exchange (CEPEX) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the U.S.-Japan relationship and cultivating the next generation of Japan experts.

CEPEX appreciates the generous support for the annual Japan Studies Award from Sojitz Foundation and ANA.ANA Vertical

 

Sojitz Foundation logo

Donald Final Report PhotosI am really thankful for being selected for this award.  The entire experience was wonderful and I learned a lot.  It was very interesting learning how a multi-national corporation like Sojitz has a presence abroad.  I was able to see how the research done in Washington, DC made it to Tokyo for inclusion in bigger projects.  The Japanese business environment is very different from typical American corporations.  For example, many of the Japanese employees would stay and work past the exit bell to finish up what they were working on.  In contrast, most American businessmen are on a set schedule of 9AM-5PM and will just pick up where they left off the following day. I can honestly say this was the best experience of my collegiate career.  I cannot wait to tap into these experiences as I finish up my undergraduate education.

Visiting Japan was a life-changing experience.  The CEPEX Japan Studies Award was the first time I have ever left America.  Tokyo was very warm and friendly and I definitely want to go back sometime.  It is very hard to pinpoint a favorite part of the experience as everything was amazing.  However, if I was forced to I would definitely say the food.  The staff at the Sojitz Soken were very welcoming and helpful.  They answered all of my questions and served as an amazing resource.  During the Japan Portion of the Japan Studies Award I undertook a mini-research project, facilitated English-learning workshops, went to different educational events, and learned about working in a Japanese company.

Japan Portion: Research Project

For my research project I studied the attitudes and opinions about politics between Japanese people and Americans.  I used datasets from The Comparative Studies of Electoral Systems online for quantitative data and interviewed Japanese people through the Salon de Eigo for qualitative data.  In the end I found consistent themes that the Japanese followed political things more out of obligations to work rather than a personal interest.  Additionally I found that although Americans are more vocal about politics, a higher percent of Japanese vote more.  However, this can be attributed to numerous things that can be viewed as blocks to electoral participation (voting on Tuesdays, ID laws, etc.).

Japan Portion: Salon de Eigo

Salon de eigo photo

Facilitating the Salon de Eigo was my favorite part of the Japan Portion of the JSA.  Salons de Eigo are classes where Sojitz employees that are studying English can practice their language skills once a week or so.  As a substitute teacher I have taught Japanese to Americans before so it was interesting doing it the other way around.  In addition to giving a one-point lesson on regional dialects in America (http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6#) I lead discussions about politics with the Salon attendees.  These responses were used as qualitative data for my final research project for the JSA.  In the above graphic you will see email feedback I have received from my “students” as the guest facilitator.  It was a very rewarding experience being able to expose political discussions to these individuals in Japan.

Japan Portion: Tours, Trips, Etc.

In my second week in Japan I took a tour of the Upper House.  It was great getting an inside look and being able to compare the US Capitol to the Kokkaigijidou.   The Sojitz Tokyo Office was located in a prime location by a lot of the governmental buildings.  It felt as if I was interning in a major organ of the Tokyo metropolitan area.

Donald in Tokyo photos

During the week I accompanied a colleague at the research branch to an event at Temple University’s Tokyo Campus about the US Pivot to Asia.  This reminded me of the work I did in DC (except I did not have to write a report afterwards).  The weekend allowed for more extensive travel throughout the Tokyo region.  I traveled to various places like Asakusa, Akihabara, Roppongi, and Yokohama.  Each area had its own individual feel.  In Yokohama I visited the Cup Noodle Museum.  There I was able to learn about Momofuku Ando and his contributions to the Instant Ramen industry.  I also made my own custom Cup Noodle to take back home with me to America.

Donald at Disney SeaLast but not least an exciting expedition I went on was to Tokyo DisneySea.  I felt the Disney magic transformed through the Japanese language.  Although I didn’t stay for very long (the passes were highly discounted after 6PM) it was still an enjoyable nighttime excursion.

Conclusion

I am really thankful for the opportunity!  It was really exciting and I learned a lot.  It was great to see the inner-workings of Sojitz in both the DC and Tokyo Offices.  I was able to see how a multinational company like Sojitz operates on a global scale.  It is hard to pinpoint what my favorite part of the trip was because I enjoyed every single second of it.  I hope future awardees have as much fun (if not more) as I had.