Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Studying and Working in Japan - an interview with: Samantha Dorn

An interview with: Samantha Dorn

Please tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved with Asahi Nihongo.

I think the best way to describe myself is as an insatiable travel adventure seeker who has a passion for Japan. I graduated with a master’s in international affairs from American University last year and soon thereafter boarded a plane to Fukuoka. I have spent most of the past eight months living, studying, and now working here in this fantastic city.

What kind of job/internship do you have here in Japan?

Last year I interned for one month with an environmental NPO, Groundwork Fukuoka, which promotes environmental protection and community building in and around Fukuoka. My tasks mainly included basic office tasks, translation and blog-writing. I also had the opportunity to participate in some of their special events, each of which was a great opportunity to practice my language skills and have a very unique Japanese experience.

More recently I have been hired to teach English at Ritter School, carryout proofreading and copywriting tasks and to occasionally teach a world cooking class.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment, I am being trained in the specific method this school employs to teach foreign languages. I am also focused on proofreading the daily correspondence between the Asahi Nihongo staff and English speaking prospective students around the world. The school is also offering my proofreading skills to other companies in the Kyushu area. My first such client was TOTO, where I recently spent two days proofreading documents related to some of their products in development.

What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of working in Japan?

To me the most rewarding aspect of working in Japan is just being able to live here. Fukuoka is a great city and there is no better way to learn a language than to live and work in country where it is spoken. Of course, this is also one of the most challenging aspects of working in Japan; I, like so many foreigners here, am engaged in a constant effort to improve my language skills. It is extremely satisfying each time I figure out how to read another sign on the street.

Did you take classes at Asahi Nihongo before starting the job/internship? Are you still taking classes? How has this helped in your job?

Yes, I took three months of lessons (intensive course) in 2011, two months of courses online while I was back in the U.S., and another three months of lessons in 2012 (standard course) before starting this job. The teachers are great and, although I know I still have a long way to go before I am fluent, I am amazed at how much I have learned so far.

I also intend to continue to take classes while I work, although only one private class per day.  I think it's important to continue studying the language even if I have a job because it is too easy to forget the grammar and there is always more to learn.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in studying and finding a job/internship in Japan?

My advice would be to plan to spend sometime taking classes in Japan before starting any internship or job. This will help you adjust to the culture and speaking Japanese on a daily basis, regardless of your language level.


  1. guidance would be to plan to invest sometime getting sessions in Asia before beginning any internship or job. This will help you modify to the lifestyle and discussing Japoneses each and every day, regardless of your terminology stage.
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  2. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.