The Faces of API AJET: NRs

Meet the National Representatives of API AJET

556656_10150902425105927_112273365_nAimee Wenyue Chen
JET Programme CIR/PA (2011)
Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Though this can have a myriad of meanings for people, I am a stringent believer in the word “community.” To this end, I have worked for clubs, groups, and institutions dedicated to bringing people together, in the simple belief that it only takes a very small effort to reach out and connect with someone in order to channel the power of people and bring about a big change.

Because communities are so easily dispersed or changed, I believe it is critical to have a firm foundation when creating a community meant to last. That is why API AJET is important—while those who identify as Asian/Pacific Islander may have an informal community through friends and acquaintances, it is meaningful to have an identifiable group with structural support like API AJET to help in creating a community network with a support system and leadership opportunities.

Fun Fact #1: I got my American citizenship only ONE month before I turned in my JET application!

Fun Fact #2: I HATE coffee but LOVE cafes! ◆

IMG_0880Albert David R. Valderrama
JET Programme ALT/PA (2010)
Ibaraki Prefecture (茨城県)
Fontana, California, U.S.A.

It was not so much as a “right thing” to start an API special interest group as it seemed a “wrong thing” not to start one. It was like the big pothole on the pavement needing to be filled, invisible since the road was laid out. In 2009 and 2010, some people filled the pothole with sand and planks of wood, but the heavy traffic of JETs and foreigners in general required a bigger fix in order for less and less people to get trapped in the gaps.

As more and more people are now making their voices heard about their experiences as API in Japan, it is becoming more and more evident that the API experience is indeed different, just as the experiences of every other demographic are unique.

Critical thinking stems from consciousness, and consciousness stems from critically thinking. Mayhaps API AJET can serve as a vehicle for promoting both.

Fun Fact #1: I had to take ESL classes my first year in the U.S.A.

Fun Fact#2: I once drove to Las Vegas only for bowling. ◆

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