Did you know that CISL has a Japanese Liaison? CISL staff member Joseph is Japanese and lived in Japan for more than 25 years. Now, we are lucky to have him as CISL’s Assistant Academic Manager and official Japanese Liaison.
We interviewed Joseph to learn more about his life, his Japanese family, and his job at CISL.
Meet our Japanese Liaison, Joseph!
CISL: Tell us about your time in Japan and how you learned to speak Japanese.
Joseph: I grew up in Japan, mostly in Okinawa. I have family there (my mother is Okinawan). I lived in Japan for over 25 years before moving to the United States. Since we spoke English in our house, I mostly used Japanese to communicate with my relatives in Japan.
I went to school on the American military bases, so I was educated in English. I did study Japanese in middle school and high school as well as college.
CISL: What are your credentials and experience teaching?
Joseph: I have been ESL teaching for 17 years. I taught in Japan for 8 years. I have taught in various schools in Tokyo, Chiba, and Okinawa, from languages schools, to special education and a high school (as well as at some companies)
CISL: What is your position at CISL and what do your responsibilities include?
Joseph: I am the Assistant Academic Manager. I oversee the teachers as well as the students in the school. I help the students if they have questions about their classes or would like to try another one.
I also am the Japanese Student Liaison, so if a Japanese student has difficulty understanding in English, I can explain to them in Japanese. I also teach the FCE course and have been teaching it for 8 years.
CISL: Why would you suggest that students choose San Diego? What is one thing that surprises students about SD/Southern California?
Joseph: San Diego, like the rest of Southern California, is known for its weather and its beaches. It has a mild climate so it never gets too hot or too cold. There are a lot of activities which can be done in San Diego, such as surfing, hiking in the mountains or desert, skydiving…..you can even go skiing in the winter!
CISL: What is one tip you have for new students?
Joseph: The best thing to do is to immerse yourself in English. It is the best way to learn. Talk to people. If you only converse in the classroom, it will be challenging to speak to native English speakers. Do as much reading and listening as possible. Even from watching TV, you can improve your listening skills and learn new vocabulary. Reading can help to understand not just vocabulary but sentence structure and paragraphing.
CISL: What CISL program excites you the most, and why?
Joseph: For me, it is definitely the Cambridge program! As I have said, I have been teaching FCE for 8 years and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet! You can learn a lot in a short period of time, and it is always nice to see the improvements the students have made as they go through the course.
CISL: What is a misconception about life in the U.S. that many Japanese students have?
Joseph: I don’t think I would call it a misconception, but I don’t think a lot of Japanese don’t realize just how diverse the United States actually is. Different regions have their own dialects and cultures (much like Japan). Sometimes going to another state is like going to another country.
CISL: What’s one thing that students must do when in SD?
Joseph: Everyone knows to go to the beaches here, so checking out hiking trails such as those in Mission Trails Regional Park is worth the effort to see the natural beauty of San Diego.
Thank you for taking time to give our students some tips, Joseph! And thank you for all the work that you do for CISL students. You are such a wonderful addition to our school!