Japanese language skills and cultural knowledge can lead to careers in many fields, most commonly in education, business, computer science and missions. Calvin Japanese graduates are regularly accepted into the competitive JET program, which allows them to live and teach in Japan for up to three years.
To prepare for your career beyond Calvin, consider opportunities to study abroad during the semester, or to work for the city government in Hikone, Japan during the summer.
Read our Career Stories Booklet to see how over 40 of the graduates of our Asian Studies program are using their knowledge of Asian languages out in the world.
2018 Japanese graduate accepted into the prestigious JET program as a Coordinator for International Relations
Japanese graduates have taught in Japan through the JET program.
Japan’s GDP is the third largest in the world, creating many job opportunities for native English speakers with knowledge of the Japanese language and culture.
Jobs in Japan
A small number of Calvin students have taught in Japan through the JET Program or similar programs and have then found other employment in Japan after their contracts expired:
Kory DuPilka spent three years as a JET teacher and then found a job as a translator with Toyota in Nagoya, Japan. He then got an MBA from Michigan State University and now works as a junior executive for United Technologies in Orlando, Florida.
After teaching for three years with JET, Tim Veltman found a job in Hikone, Japan, for a non-profit organization that helps foreigners adjust to life in Japan. Tim has created a web service that provides all the helpful information a foreigner might need to adapt to life in Japan, and answers questions daily from foreigners who need advice on various matters pertaining to daily life in that very different culture.
Michael Huissen lives in Hamamatsu, Japan, with his Japanese wife and two lovely children. After graduating from Calvin, Michael got a Ph.D. in Asian History from Harvard University. Michael has taught English and American literature at several universities in Tokyo and Hamamatsu for many years now.
Larry Spalink & Richard Systma
A handful of our graduate from Calvin Theological Seminary have found jobs with the Christian Reformed World Mission in Japan, working in the Tokyo area as ministers and missionaries. A few, like Larry Spalink and Richard Systma, have served the Church in Japan for as long as several decades.
Jobs in America
Anna Nielsen was hired by Johnson Controls in Holland, Michigan, partly on the basis of her knowledge of Japanese. Johnson Controls designs and makes car interiors for most of the major Japanese auto companies. They are always interested in hiring Calvin graduates with a background in Japanese language.
Over the past several decades, students who have studied some Japanese at Calvin and were about to graduate have been applying to the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program with great success. The JET Program was started in 1987 by the Japanese government to hire college-graduate native speakers of English from all over the world to teach English in junior high schools and high schools all across Japan. The contract is for a year and is renewable for up to three years. Because the pay is so high for a recent college graduate—nearly $30,000 per year U.S. with free or subsidized housing—and because of the allure of Japan, the competition for acceptance into the program is high.
Nevertheless, because of the strength of our Japanese language program and the high caliber of so many Calvin students, over 50 Calvin graduates have won jobs with this prestigious program. Most of these students elected to spend the maximum of three years teaching in Japan, which speaks well for both the quality of the JET Program and of our students. Few colleges or universities in America have as many graduates accepted as JET teachers as Calvin does. Our students have been putting their Japanese language ability to good use serving in Japan, spreading goodwill toward America and Canada, and generally being Kingdom builders, while paying off their college loans and having a great adventure learning about another culture.
Careers to consider
These career paths are available to Japanese majors, and many have been taken by Calvin grads.
- World Language teacher
- Foreign Service Worker(Peace Corps, VISTA, AmeriCorps, USAID)
- Health Services Worker
- Nonprofit Worker
- Employee at an International Business
- College Professor
- ESL Teacher
- Social Worker
- Educational Administrator for Study Abroad Programs