I am an international student studying at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon. I am from Tokyo, Japan. I have two on-campus jobs: Japanese Tutoring and Associated Student of Chemeketa, which is the student government. International students studying in the United States are not allowed to work outside of the college. We have to find jobs on campus if we want to make money. Luckily, there are a variety of available leadership positions for international students at Chemeketa, such as International Ambassadors, Student Retention employees, Multicultural Center Coordinators, and Language Tutors. These jobs help us to develop our leadership skills.
Firstly, I am going to talk about being a Japanese tutor. Chemeketa Community College has a Japanese program that involves Japanese classes up to the 200 level and an exchange program. Japanese belongs to the language department at Chemeketa. Linguistically, a native speaker has an enormous positive impact on the growth of those who learn a new language. It is crucial for them to have a native speaker to improve their language through conversation and other interactions. In my case, I am an English learner, so I want to interact with English speakers and learn English from them. Since I am also learning a language, it is easy for me to understand what the Japanese students struggle with, and what they feel when they learn Japanese.
As a Japanese Tutor, I attend the Japanese classes just as a teacher’s assistant would. I read dialogues, support the instructor, join the class activities, encourage students, fix their problems, and have conversations in Japanese. Attending Japanese classes as a Japanese tutor is actually really fun. I can interact with many students and see their growth in Japanese, as well as make new friends. I am really happy to see their improvement and development. Outside of class, the other tutors and I are open to any students taking Japanese classes who have questions. What we do is practice the main skills of language learning with students; reading, writing, listening and speaking. We review what they do in class, such as reading dialogue together, writing Japanese characters, and listening to their oral performances. Outside of class, activities are also a big help for students taking Japanese classes. It makes it possible for them to be exposed to Japanese since the United States does not have many native Japanese speakers. We have tutor hours and students can stop by and join the activities. Another thing that Japanese tutors do is prepare for the classes. I copy all the handouts that they need to do within the classes. Preparation helps me to organize Japanese classes easily. I can have information about what they do in class and give them accurate feedback about how to improve.
There are a lot of positive aspects of being a Japanese tutor. I can find many friends through the Japanese classes. We sometimes hang out on weekends and study together. We can communicate with each other in both Japanese and English. I can improve my English and help them to learn Japanese as well. I have gained many friends from being a Japanese tutor.
Japanese Rice Ball Feed
Another job I have on campus is student government. Chemeketa has its own student government called the Associated Students of Chemeketa. It is part of the Students College Life. We think about students’ engagement and students’ college life to provide them with useful information for their success and help them have a good memory of college life. What we do is plan events, attend meetings as student representatives, help community members, and engage club activities. There are also a variety of positions in Student Government such as political engagement coordinator, community engagement coordinator, racial-ethnic diversity representative, and legislative coordinator. My position is as an International Representative. Each category has their own jobs to work on. I planned a Japanese Rice Ball feed on campus. Planning events is very hard and requires many processes. There are several elements to organize a school event. The first step is to decide the concept of the event. It also must be well-organized, to be inclusive to all students, be fun, and meet the student’s demands. In addition, I have to consider the budget we have. What I did for this event was to estimate how many people would show up, decide how much rice and ingredients were needed for students, and consider how to organize the event that helps students have a great time. I struggled with planning the event, and I learned a lot of skills from this experience. I am willing to help students and contribute by bringing awareness of various cultures.
Associated Students of Chemeketa (Student Government)
Another thing we do is that we meet all together once a week to talk about our work, review what we do, plan events, and ensure our needs. It requires a professional attitude and behavior in front of college students and community members at all times. Sometimes this job is hard for me in terms of English and student engagement.
Working in Student Government provides me with great opportunities to develop my leadership skills to stand up for other people. I am very happy to work as part of the student government. All of my coworkers are very kind and generous. They always welcome me and try to understand me. I also hang out with them sometimes outside of work, and they show me their own culture. I learn a lot from them. This job gives me valuable experiences for my future.
Student Government Office
The jobs on campus give international students the potential to enjoy their lives and develop their skills. I am satisfied with working on campus and contributing to the school, and I am glad that I could find jobs on campus. I want other international students to have the same opportunities and experiences and enjoy their college life.
Yoshinobu 'Yoshi' Enomoto of Tokyo, Japan, is majoring in Political Science at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.