That time is near for UofL alumni Eric Jones, Caleb Perry, Emmanuel Tarr and Jordan Hall, who will be taking flight to Japan this fall to participate in the yearlong Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme. All four speak Japanese and are aiming to perfect their mastery of the language while abroad.

The main goal of the JET Programme is “to interact with local communities to promote internationalism at the local level.” The participants will be assigned to one of three paid positions—assistant language teacher, coordinator for international relations or sports exchange adviser—all of which require speaking Japanese daily.

“I want Japanese to be a necessary part of my everyday life to help me in my career goals of becoming an ESL teacher or a translator for the government,” said Jones, a native of Philpot, Ky.

The JET Programme, now in its 27th year, brings numerous cultures and backgrounds to Japan with 4,000 participants from 40 different countries.

For Jones, this will not only be his first time traveling out of the United States, but also the first time stepping foot on a plane.

“I’m completely new to world travel,” said Jones, “but it is something I have wanted since I was a kid.”

Louisville native Perry can relate to the long-term dream of his fellow participant. He is passionate about Japan and for the past 10 years has been planning to take part in the JET program.

This will be Perry’s second yearlong stay in Japan. In 2012, he received UofL’s Kansai Gaidai Scholarship Exchange. At that time he left as a scholar. But this time he leaves as a teacher.

“It is my sincere desire to use my position in the JET program to continue pursuing my dreams of educating youth in language and creative expression,” said Perry.