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W&L Outcomes: Lillie Taylor ’24 Taylor is moving to Niigata Prefecture, Japan, to work as an assistant language teacher for the JET Program.

Lillie-Taylor-scaled-600x400 W&L Outcomes: Lillie Taylor '24

Lillie Taylor ’24
Hometown: Augusta, Georgia
Major: Double major in history and East Asian languages and literatures, with a focus on Japanese

What will you be doing after graduation?
I will be moving to Niigata Prefecture, Japan, to work as an ALT (assistant language teacher) on the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

How did your career plans evolve over the course of your time at W&L?
I have always wanted to be a teacher, and I entered W&L with the intention of taking my history degree into teaching. However, I enjoyed studying Japanese so much that I realized I wanted to continue studying the Japanese language and culture. Professor Ikeda recommended the JET Program as a great way to live and work in Japan as a teacher.

What internships or other summer experiences did you partake in and how did those experiences shape you and your career plans?
In the summer after my second year, I got the opportunity to travel to Europe. It was during this time that I found myself immersed in both international cities and small villages. I was initially hesitant about the JET Program because many participants are placed in rural environments, but that trip taught me that I enjoyed smaller communities more.

How did the Office of Career and Professional Development support you and which resources did you find most helpful?
I worked on my resume with them. As a low-income student, I didn’t have anybody to guide me through the process at home, and it was really helpful to have a professional help me.

What did you study at W&L and what are some skills or learnings you will take from your academic experience into the professional world?
I studied history, Japanese and creative writing. The most important skill I have learned was in Professor Ikeda’s Food and Tea in Japan course. My favorite Zen saying from the course translates to “mutual polishing.” It taught me how to learn within a community. Essentially, students work together to help each other learn, and by helping others, they are helping themselves. I have taken this to heart.

What clubs, organizations, athletic teams or other extracurriculars were you involved in that had an impact on you?
The Chanoyu Tea Society has had a major impact on me. It is another reason why I’m more interested in Japanese traditional culture over city-based Kawaii culture. The Japanese Tea Room in the Watson Galleries has been a peaceful space on campus in my busiest semesters, and I hope to find a similar space while I am living in Japan.

Who or what has inspired you along the way?
As a global history and Japanese language major, I have enjoyed many classes with Professor Bello and Professor Ikeda. Both have supported me through my time here at W&L and were happy to help me figure out my next steps, both within the university and beyond.

What career-related advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?
Don’t be content with plan A — have a plan B and a plan C. Once you’ve landed a job, keep learning and growing as a person and a professional.