“I’m not sure my life will ever be quite as cool as it was in the “tropical south” of Japan: I had my own house, my own car, a vending machine opposite my front door - I was living the dream!
“Even though it was my choice to leave Japan and my ALT role, I was devastated when it came to travelling back to Scotland. I remember crying for the majority of the plane journey home and then again when my parents picked me up at the airport. Japan really gets a hold of you.
“The first few months of being back in the UK were really hard. I think the quicker you get a new job, the easier it is to adjust. Unfortunately for me, my options were limited in rural Scotland where I had moved back to with my parents. It slowly came together though. Three internships later, including one in Brussels, I finally got my first permanent job in London working for a global scholarship programme. Three years later, I’m still there, having worked my way up to my ideal role.
“I am now an International Liaison Officer for Chevening. My role involves supporting British embassies and high commissions in a portfolio of countries with all stages of the scholarship application cycle. Some of my responsibilities include marketing (presenting to prospective applicants and potential partners, as well as participating in media interviews), interviews (sitting on the selection interview panels in various countries) and budgeting (managing each country's budget to ensure it remains within its allocation from central government). My portfolio includes west and central Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean. I've visited some of the countries in my portfolio as part of my role, which has been a fascinating insight into the diplomatic world; my visit to the British embassy in Tokyo with JET was all in preparation for this!
“I went back to Kagoshima in 2014 for a two-week holiday. This was the perfect time to go back because firstly, I’d adjusted to life back in the UK by this point and secondly, because there were still ALTs working in my city that I knew from when I had been an ALT. This enabled me to relive that JET life that I had loved so much. The trip also helped me to realise that Japan isn’t going anywhere. Next visit: Tokyo 2020!
“I’m happy to chat to anyone but might be of most help to people looking to stay in the education sector, particularly higher education.”