One summer’s day in Kamitonda, Japan, Jack Lyons ’16 was called into service as a translator for a group of Austrian tourists who were being interviewed on live radio. His goal is to become part of the community fabric, so he was in as a translator. Lyons is in Kamitonda to teach English as an assistant language teacher, traveling between five elementary schools and a junior high.
Kamitonda is a town of roughly 15,000, two hours south of Osaka, and it's where Lyons works through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, better known as JET. At Hamilton he majored Asian studies with a minor in Japanese, and he studied in Kyoto, Japan.
By the time Lyons entered JET, his language skills were strong enough for him to jump into community life as soon as he arrived in Kamitonda. Thanks to what he learned at Hamilton, he says, his new community sees him as more than just an English teacher.
“This education is invaluable in helping me achieve my biggest goal while on this program, which is to make a connection with the people of Kamitonda, a town where most people have never seen someone who isn`t Japanese – and have them see that people from abroad can be similar to Japanese people, and also inform them about important cultural differences,” Lyons says.