He’s lucky number seven, Yasuko Lehtinen said.
Patrick Moore, is Kenai Peninsula College instructor Lehtinen’s seventh student to move to Japan to teach English through the JET— Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.
Moore, 25, took Japanese classes from Lehtinen three years ago after graduating from Gonzaga University Spokane Washington before moving to Pennsylvania to Villanova for his master’s degree.
The 25 year old, who grew up in Soldotna, first became interested in Japanese language and culture during his first year of college. He was required to take a language course and chose Japanese.
“I just wanted to do something completely different, and I did and I liked it,” Moore said. “And I decided to keep doing it, and I decided to do study abroad I liked that too. It kind of all snowballed from there.”
Moore studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan, during the 2010-2011 school year. He stayed with a host family and another exchange student from Germany. As a JET teacher Moore will be staying in his own apartment or house on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. Moore said he will be teaching elementary and middle school students for two to three years through the program.
Between receiving an undergrad degree and going to Pennsylvania for his masters, Moore also substitute taught at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District schools.
“I’m pretty comfortable in American schools, but I think it might a little more strict and there might be different expectations (in Japan),” Moore said. … “I’m going to have to try to learn pretty quickly.”
Moore began the application process for the JET program last September and found out he was accepted in April.
“It’s a pretty rigorous process,” he said.
Lehtinen said after submitting the application, applicants are interviewed by embassy officials and judged on their background, education and personality.
Because Moore has taught kids before and lived in Tokyo where he was immersed in the Japanese culture, Lehtinen said he is almost the perfect person for the job.
“He’s already half-way Japanese probably,” Lehtinen said, laughing.
Moore said while he has experience living in Japan, there are things he probably doesn’t know and there are always new things to learn.
Moore was notified last week where he would be teaching. He leaves Aug. 1 for Japan and will have orientation in Tokyo before moving to the island.
“I’m really excited to go,” Moore said.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org