17 Mar 2021
8th May 2020
JET Spotlight: Zoë Vincent
Zoë Vincent was an ALT in Unzen city in Nagasaki prefecture from 2015-2016. After JET, she moved to work for the Fukushima Prefecture Tourism & Local Products Association. For that work promoting the region, hit by disaster in 2011, she has been featured both on NHK TV show Japanology Plus and in The Telegraph newspaper.
Originally hailing from Milton Keynes, Zoë joined the JET Programme after studying Japanese at Edinburgh University, including a period studying abroad at Waseda University. She told JETAA UK about how JET has helped shape her life in Japan.
1. What inspired you to join the JET Programme?
My main goal was to improve the Japanese language skills I had gained at university. I was also inspired to join the JET Programme by my experience as a homestay participant in rural Yamagata Prefecture during my year as an exchange student. I loved meeting local people and going somewhere totally off-the-beaten-track.
2. How did you find your experiences as a JET?
I personally found teaching English challenging, but I loved chatting to my students, and being accepted into the local community through joining yoga and calligraphy classes. Becoming part of the JET community was also incredible, and has been central to my life in Japan both during and after my time as a JET.
3. What have you been doing since finishing JET?
After finishing the JET Programme, I started work at Fukushima Prefecture Tourism & Local Products Association. My job includes promoting the prefecture to an international audience online and via media coverage, providing support for local organizations in communicating with international guests, attending business meetings with travel agents and more.
4. How do you think your current role can further UK-Japan ties?
My current job isn’t directly linked to furthering UK-Japan ties. However, through sharing my insight as a Brit with my Japanese colleagues and through providing information about Japan via my social media accounts (which have an international audience, including Brits) that my work does have a connection to cultural exchange.
5. What are your professional and personal Japan-related goals?
In terms of personal Japan goals… I would say mastering the language so that I can write kanji without constantly checking my dictionary apps! But, jokes aside, I would love to continue my connection with Japan in whatever I do in the future, both from a professional and personal point of view.
6. What did you learn or discover during JET that you've taken into your life and career?
So much! For example, public speaking, learning not to dwell on mistakes, quick decision making, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, discovering what is important for me in a workplace, learning to work effectively with people with different points of view, and more!