Get to Know Our Officers - Featuring Our Networking Coordinator, Rurik Tywoniw!

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