Mark Sullivan

Graduated 2011
JET 2011-14
Teachs English in Japan 2017-


My life at UT started in 2007, when I moved to Austin to pursue a degree in filmmaking. Of course a media degree requires you to take two semesters of a foreign language. I had studied Spanish in high school, but I always wanted to study Japanese. Even if it was just going to be a hobby. So I decided to take some Japanese language classes. After my first semester, I was hooked. I ended up double-majoring in both Radio-TV-Film and Asian Cultures and Languages (Japanese).

That is when I learned about the JET Program. I went to an info session and I decided to give it a shot. I was serious about it, but I felt as though my chances were pretty slim. I mean they only take so many per year. I sent the application and forgot about it for a few months. Then, I received an email requesting that I drive to Houston for an interview. It was definitely getting more serious. Needless to say, two months after that I found out I was going to Japan. A month after that I found out I was going to Uozu-shi, Toyama-ken.

In July 2011, I touched down in Tokyo. I was a bit jet-lagged...but man was it amazing. Three days later, I was in Uozu, and the next day I was working in a high school. Thankfully, the first month was summer vacation and I was able to settle in and get a feel for my little city. I fell in love with that rural city almost immediately. I was taken out by my fellow coworkers and made to feel at home. I settled in nicely, with almost no culture shock. It was amazing.

I taught high school for 3 years in Uozu, meeting my fiance after my first year. I trekked through mountains, cycled from town to town, went camping, fishing, and made some amazing everlasting friendships. The job was difficult at times, considering I taught at a private high school, but I enjoyed it immensely.

After 3 years, my partner and I decided it was time for a change of scenery. We moved to New Zealand, where I currently live. However, in March of 2017, I am moving back to Japan to teach at a bilingual kindergarten. I couldn't be more excited.

My advice to anyone wishing to go to Japan is to check out every company out there. Once you get your foot in the door, the sky is the limit. I was offered 4 different jobs to come back to Japan during my time in New Zealand. And if you aren't thrilled with the idea of living in Japan long-term, go visit for a few months. There are so many beautiful places to see and so much to explore.

As far as language advice is concerned, learn your kanji! If there is one thing I regret, it is not keeping up with my kanji. The speaking and listening come with time. Kanji is something you have to dedicate yourself to and it is probably the most important aspect of the language.

Anyways, I am super excited to get back out there in Japan. I am happy to be starting my family there.

If you have any questions or just want to talk about Japan with me, shoot me an email at mp.sullivan08アット (replace アット with @)







last modified 11/24/16