Gilmer Free Press

Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Selects GSC Student for ESL Opportunity

The Free Press WV

Glenville State College student Randy Stiers has been chosen to take part in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program as an Assistant Language Teacher.

The JET Program is a teaching exchange program that is managed by the government of Japan. Applicants come from over 40 countries around the globe but the exclusive program traditionally accepts less than 20% of those who apply.

Stiers recently learned of his selection, which begins in August 2018. As part of his responsibilities, he will teach English to middle and high schools students. “This includes the whole gamut of teaching responsibilities. However, a major focus of my position is actually a cultural exchange between America and Japan. I will likely be placed somewhere similar in size to Glenville or even smaller. The idea is that I become heavily involved with my community, both school and local, to exchange culture,” Stiers said. He notes that he won’t know exactly where his placement will be until May.

The senior English Education (5-adult) major said he chose his program of study at GSC with the hope to eventually teach English as a second language and touts the support of his professors in applying for the JET Program. “I don’t think I would have applied for this position without Dr. [Megan] Gibbons and Dr. [Marisha] Lecea. Dr. Gibbons offered a cultural exchange component to her Hispanic Literature course called Collaborative Online International Learning, or COIL. The COIL program offered me a firsthand opportunity for cultural exchange. The interview panel for the JET Program actually asked about my experiences in this program. Dr. Lecea, who is a JET alumni, offered a presentation on the program last year. After the presentation and a lot of independent research, I decided to take the plunge and apply. That being said, all of the faculty at GSC that I’ve spoken to about applying provided a ton of moral support throughout the process,” he said.

Stiers says his interest in Japan is both academic and personal. As an educator, he will be able to learn about new pedagogical skills and approaches. On a personal level he says that an intense desire to experience as many different cultures as possible fuels his eagerness as a world traveler.

“This ties into what I look forward to the most. I want to experience a new way of life from the ground up. The adventure of living in a foreign country is a huge draw for me. Every sight and sound will be new and exciting,” he said.

“We are so proud of Randy. Students like him represent GSC at its best. What’s more, Randy’s JET placement is another outcome of our COIL program, which affirms that the college’s newly-developed international programs are having an immediate effect on our students’ personal and professional goals,” said GSC Department of Language and Literature Chair and International Programs Coordinator Dr. Megan Gibbons.

“International activities and student opportunities like these reflect Glenville State’s value-added approach to prepare students for careers in today’s global marketplace. It is particularly meaningful when students are able to utilize what they’ve experienced in the classroom and turn it into a tremendous opportunity like Randy has. I know that he will make Glenville State proud during his assignment in Japan,” said GSC President Dr. Tracy Pellett.

Stiers, who is originally from Gassaway, West Virginia in Braxton County, is on track to graduate from GSC in May at the conclusion of the spring semester. After his JET Program experience wraps up he says he plans to return to the U.S. and teach. During his time at GSC he has served as the Vice President and President of the social fraternity Alpha Xi Omega and worked as a writing consultant for the Department of Language and Literature. He is the son of Roger and Lana Yeager.

Founded in 1987, the JET Program has sent more than 60,000 global participants - including nearly 32,000 Americans - to work in schools, boards of education, and government offices throughout Japan.

--> Friday, April 13, 2018
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