Gabrielle Gutierrez

I’m the Teacher…Now What?: Reflecting on Challenges and Successes in a Foreign Educational Setting

For two months this summer, I interned at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University in Japan.  I worked in the university’s Department of Literature and Culture in English and the Career English Island, a program for students whose prospective careers require advanced English proficiency.  My roles were similar to those belonging to an assistant professor.

This professional experience in an academic setting allowed me to work as an independent teacher and mentor in an English department and provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with university faculty and staff.  Operating in a foreign English department uniquely enhanced my cultural experience:  I had to understand, adapt, and at times, acquiesce to the differences between Japanese and American traditions of education and communication.  These cultural moments that occurred in both in the classroom and in my adventures around Tokyo influenced the way I approached my role as an intern throughout the duration of my stay.