Were you looking for anything specific when you attended the Go Global Expo?
In 2011, I found out about the Go Global Expo by chance. I happened to see a poster while going into the subway. I've always had love for travel and was planning to go on an exchange through my university that year. I didn't have any immediate plans for other travel, but wanted to just see what kinds of options are out there.
In 2012, I was just getting back from my university exchange in Singapore. My post-exchange conference was actually hosted by the Go Global Expo, so it was easy for me to take a look around afterwards. At this point, I was in my last year of university and not sure what I wanted to do. I knew my future would be something international. Having participated in two exchanges, one as a teenager and one in university, I wanted to continue living abroad but I was unsure how to fit it all together after university. I was looking for something to inspire me.
In 2015, I knew I wanted to try teaching English abroad. I had got the idea and motivation to teach English abroad while on a working holiday visa in New Zealand the year before. I was just finishing up my online TEFL course when I went to the Go Global Expo to find out about different ESL opportunities.
Did you meet an organization or attend a seminar that helped to send you on your way?
I was able to speak with people from the JET Programme (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme). I have known about the JET Programme since I was in high school, and once I decided teaching English was the next step I wanted to take, I was considering JET as an option. Being able to meet and speak with them was really helpful and solidified my idea to apply to the program. I was sure that it would be a good fit for what I was looking for.
Where are you, and for how long? What are you doing there?
I'm currently in a small town in southern Japan. I'm halfway through my second year with the JET Programme. I am teaching English to elementary and junior high school students as an Assistant Language Teacher.
What are your favourite stories from your time overseas?
Probably my favourite moment was participating in a local festival. My town has a traditional fan dance where people dress in yukata and dance in a circle around a stage/tower of lanterns. Being able to experience this as a participant instead of just a spectator was amazing. The dance is an important thing in my town, so being included and welcomed into such a special event made me feel like I was really a part of the community.
However, some of my favourite moments are the little ones that happen everyday. Having 25 seven-year-olds squeal, cheer, and bounce up and down with excitement because they get to have English class with the ALT is adorable and never fails to make me smile.
What personal or professional goals did the Go Global Expo help you to fulfill?
Personally, I came to the Go Global Expo wanting to find a way to live abroad again. The Expo has so much information that it was easy to walk away with lists of possibilities.
Professionally, the Go Global Expo helped me to actually fulfill my ambition to change careers. I wanted to try teaching English and the Expo allowed me to discover lots of opportunities around the world. I was able to choose the one that was the best fit for me.
While I can't say that I made any decisions because of the Go Global Expo, it definitely aided me in some of the decisions I've made. Also, the amount of information I've gathered at the Expo will stick with me in the future. I've kept a list of organizations and programs that I would be interested in if/when my life moves in that direction.
What would you say to others looking for international opportunities?
I would recommend everyone check out the Go Global Expo. I think a lot of people think that international opportunities are only for "young people" but I believe there is something for everyone no matter your age. You only need the will to go.
I would also say to go with an open mind. Even if there is a specific program or organization that you're interested in, make sure you look around. The Go Global Expo is a unique opportunity to see just how many different opportunities there are. Don't get tunnel vision and miss out on something amazing!