Hello fellow JET alums! My name is Stephanie Hupp, and I was an ALT in Akita Prefecture from 2011-2015. I worked in a wonderful little town called Yurihonjo. I don’t miss the brutal winters but I do miss living and working in Japan!
However, I have decided to come back to school to get my masters in Communication, specifically in Intercultural Communication. Based on my many years in Japan, I am writing about life for American ALTs in Japan and some of the potentially negative experiences they might have faced (or maybe they experienced none!). I am specifically looking at microaggressions and how they might relate to job satisfaction and satisfaction with co-workers. A microaggression is defied as “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.” While this definition regards people of color, I am investigating to see if these same experiences happen with Americans as more and more Americans work abroad. A common one many of you might have heard is the compliment “You are good at using chopsticks!” or maybe a restaurant or bar was seemingly nervous because of a potential language barrier.
Unfortunately, my study is only open to American JETs (sorry my UK/Aussie/Kiwi JETs!). I have compiled a short survey (it should take about 20 minutes to complete) as well as a section at the end where you can put an e-mail if you wish to be contacted for an interview. Any help I can get is greatly appreciated, and if you know someone that would like to participate please pass them this message! The link is mobile friendly. You can take the survey here. I hope the results of this survey will help JETs have a better understanding of their experiences, as well as potentially help future JETs fully prepare for life and work abroad.
All the best in your endeavors!
University of Arkansas Department of Communication
Public Speaking Instructor and TA