Senior Mayah Waltower Selected for Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program

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Chaplain Shawn Redmon hugs his daughter after seeing her for the first time after an eight-month deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Chaplain Shawn Redmon hugs his daughter after seeing her for the first time after an eight-month deployment with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

MACON – Mercer University senior Mayah Waltower was recently selected for the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, where she will serve as an Assistant English Language Teacher (ALT) for at least a year following graduation.

The JET Program is a competitive employment opportunity that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns and villages throughout Japan and represent the United States as cultural ambassadors to Japan.

Most participants serve as ALTs and work in public and private schools throughout Japan. ALTs assist with classes taught by Japanese Teachers of English/Language (JTEs/JTLs) and are involved in the preparation of teaching materials and in extracurricular activities like English clubs or sports teams.

Waltower, from McDonough, is an international affairs major with a minor in Spanish.

In addition to teaching in Japan, she will be taking Japanese language courses and serving as a cultural ambassador in the community where she will work. Upon completion of her first year, she will have the option of renewing her JET Program contract for several years.

“I am thankful for this opportunity because I recognize that living abroad is one of the most formative experiences you can have in life,” said Waltower. “Being a part of the JET program means I get to share language, culture and life abroad with other students and teachers. The fact that I will get to teach English while also learning Japanese is very exciting.”

After returning from Japan, Waltower hopes to attend law school and work for a human rights organization.

“I couldn’t think of a better fit for the JET program than Mayah,” said Dr. Eimad Houry, professor of political science and chair of international and global studies. “She has been an outstanding student of international affairs, showing endless curiosity about global issues and an insatiable appetite to learn as much about the world as possible. Mayah has been very active inside and outside the classroom, and I have no doubt she will take full advantage of all the possibilities this program has to offer. Mercer could not have dispatched a better ambassador to Japan than Mayah. I wish her best, and I will miss her as one of my advisees.”

At Mercer, Waltower has served as president of the mock trial team, treasurer of the Student Government Association and a member of the Model Arab League.

The JET Program seeks participants who are adaptable, outgoing, and who have a deep interest in Japan. The program typically receives 4,000-5,000 applications each year from U.S. applicants. Of those, 1,000-1,100 are selected.