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W&L’s Lillie Taylor ’24 Selected for Prestigious JET Program Taylor will work as an assistant language teacher in Japan before pursuing her teaching certification.

Lillie-Taylor-scaled-600x400 W&L’s Lillie Taylor ’24 Selected for Prestigious JET Program

Washington and Lee University senior Lillie Taylor ’24 has been selected for the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program and will spend the coming year in Japan as an assistant language teacher in a private or public school. At W&L, Taylor is double majoring in history and East Asian languages and literatures, with a focus on Japanese, and has a minor in creative writing. A native of Augusta, Georgia, Taylor graduated from the Academy of Richmond County. She will leave for Japan by early August 2024.

Founded in 1987, JET has sent more than 70,000 participants from around the world to work in schools, boards of education and government offices throughout Japan. The program is unique in that it is the only teaching exchange program managed by the government of Japan. Most JET participants work as assistant language teachers at one or several local elementary, junior high and/or high schools.

“Studying Japanese in a classroom has given me a foundation, and now I have the opportunity to immerse myself in the country where it is spoken, engage with the local community, and see the sites I have only been able to discuss in class,” said Taylor, who is particularly interested in rural Japanese culture, which she feels is often underrepresented.

At W&L, Taylor is involved in the Chanoyu Tea Society and is grateful for the opportunities to engage with traditional Japanese culture, which have helped her learn more about herself and her values.

Participating in the JET program will allow Taylor to gain valuable teaching experience, which will help prepare her for her future career as an educator. Learning about inequality in education has helped her think critically about the type of teacher she wants to be, and she hopes to work in high-need schools when she returns to the U.S.

“I learned in my Foundations of Education class that one teacher cannot change the whole system, but my childhood taught me that one teacher can change the lives of hundreds of students,” Taylor said. “Those teachers are why I am here today.”

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