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We would like to welcome Rurik Tywoniw to the 2021-2022 JETAA Chicago Board as our Networking Coordinator! Take a look below at Rurik's officer profile to learn about his motivations, values and goals.

Our Networking Coordinator, Rurik Tywoniw (he/him), was an ALT in Miyazaki Prefecture from 2014-2015.



Tell us more about your JET experience.


I was an ALT for the Nobeoka BOE and had a circuit of 14 elementary and junior high schools which I visited. I had the pleasure of teaching hundreds of students, and worked with many great teachers and educators. While living in Nobeoka, I enjoyed the mix of suburban amenities and natural areas like beaches, hills, and woods where I would frequently go hiking and jogging.



When did you join/how long have you been on the JETAA Board? What positions have you held?


Networking Coordinator since 2021


What inspired you to step up as a leader and join the JETAA Chicago Board?

I have long wanted to contribute back to the JET community in some way for the wonderful experiences I received in JET. I also know that returning JETs come back from JET with widely varied experiences and take-aways, just as outgoing JETs often have different levels of practical teaching and cultural knowledge when entering JET. I hope that I can put my experiences since JET to work addressing those imbalances in any way I can.



Describe your officer duties and what you are looking forward to in regard to your responsibilities.


As Networking Coordinator, my goal is to promote personal and professional development for JET alums and other friends of the JET community. This includes making connections with organizations of professional interest for JETs, organizing career development events, and hosting language and culture related activities.


What could be a healthy and/or needed culture add to JETAA Chicago?


I would love to see more emphasis on educational opportunities for outgoing and returning JETs. Also, the penchant for supporting international communication and education is not unique to JETs, so if possible, I would be interested in outreach to other international teaching exchange groups like EPIK.



What is one goal you would like to accomplish as an officer of JETAA Chicago, or something that you are looking forward to being a part of?

I am looking forward to reigniting Japanese language events for JET alums!


For you, what sparks joy?


- Playing music

- Making and playing video games

- Growing plants

- Trivia

- Putting things together without the instructions



What is your favorite Japanese "thing" near where you live now (and/or in the Midwest)?

The Japan House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign!



Connect with Rurik via website, Twitch, or Instagram @the_rurik!


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We would like to welcome Constance Judd to the 2021-2022 JETAA Chicago Board as our Outreach Coordinator! Take a look below at Constance's officer profile to learn about her motivations, values and goals.

Our Outreach Coordinator, Constance Judd (she/her), was a JET in Kochi Prefecture from 2018-2020.


Tell us more about your JET experience.


I was an ALT placed in Shimanto Town in Kochi Prefecture. JET for me was a once-in-a-lifetime experience where I got the opportunity to explore who I was and build lifelong friendships and relationships with those around me. I truly enjoyed my time in Japan and not one day passes that I don’t think about that small town located in the mountains that stole my heart.



When did you join/how long have you been on the JETAA Board? What positions have you held?


This is my first year being the Outreach Coordinator and I am looking forward to many more!


What inspired you to step up as a leader and join the JETAA Chicago Board?

Throughout the past few months, I have been volunteering on and off for JETAA Chicago. After returning to the states mid-COVID, I decided to apply for the Outreach Coordinator position to help those, like me, who were feeling a loss of connection within the JET Community and the world as a whole.



Describe your officer duties and what you are looking forward to in regard to your responsibilities.


I mainly coordinate “The Survival Series” for outgoing JETs. While this is my first year coordinating such an initiative, I am looking forward to building a community among outgoing JETs and current alumni.



What could be a healthy and/or needed culture add to JETAA Chicago?


Going forward, understanding how novel and unprecedented these times are is extremely important for JETAA Chicago, especially when assisting JETs who are having difficulty in navigating pre-departure and post-departure uncertainties.



What is one goal you would like to accomplish as an officer of JETAA Chicago, or something that you are looking forward to being a part of?

A goal of mine is to broaden our current network. While we have an extensive alumni network within the Chicagoland Area, it would be great to see it expand to our neighboring subchapters and national chapters as well.



For you, what sparks joy?


- My cat Dotty

- Eating Good Food

- Playing Animal Crossing

- Sketching

- Reading



What is your favorite Japanese "thing" near where you live now (and/or in the Midwest)?

Living in Chicago, I was always excited to go to Mitsuwa Market. Hopefully, I’ll get to visit soon!



Connect with Constance via LinkedIn!




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Join us for an evening of Japanese language fun and conversation!



JETAA Chicago is pleased to announce our second Japanese Language Night! These events are intended to bring together JETAA members and supporters who want to stay engaged with Japanese language learning and use.


We’ll be continuing with the first Pecha Kucha night on Tuesday, June 15th from 6-7 pm CST! We welcome everyone to join in on the fun and practice their language skills. Breakout rooms will be opened to make space for small group discussions.


RSVP on Guestlist!


Unsure of your proficiency level? That’s okay! All levels of experience with Japanese are welcome!


*This event is for JET alumni and Friends of JET.


Questions? Email info@jetaachicago.com.

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JETAA CHICAGO

Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Alumni Association of Chicago
Connecting JET alumni in the Midwest - Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana