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Deyonko ThomasName: Deyonko Thomas
Graduation year: 2015
Major: International Business
​Certificates: Japanese Language Proficiency, N2 Certificatio​n
 
What are you doing now? 
I am teaching English at an elementary school in Japan.

Why did you choose to study this area?
I heard a few Japanese songs when I was a kid and decided to look up the lyrics for fun one day. That small decision brought me all the way to the other side of the world.

How does language and culture help you succeed in your studies, job or career? 
Teaching in an elementary school, I get to utilize the Japanese language to explain our cultural practices back in the US. 

Did you study abroad? If so, can you explain your experiences?  
Yes, I studied abroad in Hikone, Japan for one semester. The program was an intensive language program that allowed me to meet some of my best friends till this day. I will forever be grateful for the experiences I was able to have in my time there.

​What was your favorite thing about learning a language? What is your favorite thing about studying another culture in depth?
My favorite thing is the struggle of it all. Becoming comfortable in a language is not something that comes quickly or easily and so when I finally began to speak with clarity and smoothness, it motivated me beyond anything to keep going. I have just started studying Korean as well after a recent trip and seeing a foreign language from the beginning and making small steps forward feels so revitalizing. 

What advice do you have for fellow students in World Languages and Cultures classes?
Pay attention in class but don’t forget to make the extra effort outside of the classroom. Also, above all, have fun and find whatever motivates you to keep going. You’ll get there sooner than you think!

What’s next for you?
I plan on continuing my life here in Japan and moving into translation or hospitality work. It’s a very competitive market but I’ll do my best!