Practicum: Japan Center

Professional Experience Abroad and in Michigan



Sarah Resnick leading JCMU students through a tour in Nara

The last element of my master’s degree is a 6 month practicum with the Japan Center for Michigan Universities. This time was split into two key areas:


Part1: May 30th-August 7th

Lived and working in Hikone, Japan at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities.

Here I lived on site assisting the residential director, Benjamin McKracken with the daily tasks of running the center. Since I had experience living and working in Japan previously, I took a lead in events collaborated with the Shiga prefectural government to promote the sister-state relationship between Michigan and Shiga as well as to improve the personal relationships locals could form with our students.

I also assisted in the hiring process of three new English teaching faculty, focusing primarily in documenting interviews in such a way that the director Kate Simon could review the interviews herself. I also used my experience as a past English teacher to offer my opinion on the quality of teaching each applicant presented.


Sarah posing with the town mascot of Hikone, Hikonyan

The largest portion of my responsibilities here though were for the students. I created a career building workshop that equipped students with the know-how to use their study abroad experience in job interviews. In addition to this I conducted both personal and group advising meetings to discuss topics such as adjusting to Japan and reverse culture shock.

During the summer I reformatted, improved, and maintained the existing blog site for JCMU. Students could enjoy the pictures I had taken of them doing cultural activities or could look use the resources section to help them accomplish a task.

Part 2: August 18th-December 15th 2014

Living and working at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities home office, located in East Lansing at Michigan State University.

Sarah guiding students through a career building workshop.

Sarah guiding students through a career building workshop.

After returning from Japan, I currently work in the JCMU office assisting with all aspects of the programs. My primary functions include responding to student inquiries and walk-ins, advise students on funding and scholarship options, recruit students at study abroad fairs, assess and reformat the JCMU main website, update/edit website content, as well as take photos for marking and promotional materials.


Work Samples

Build Your Career Guide: I created this based on the numerous questions I was getting from student about how being abroad for the first time was making them re-assess what they wanted to do with their lives but had no idea how to proceed. This was accompanied with a presentation. 

Reverse Culture Shock Presentation: Because JCMU currently does not have a re-entry program, I took it upon myself to give a 15 minute presentation about what it is and how to go through it in a could make their experiences in Japan more meaningful.

INAZUMA Rock Festival Event Booklet: Due to JCMU’s close relationship with the government of Shiga Prefecture, I was asked to create activities and a guide for a booth that would be operated by JCMU in September 2014. While I was unable to attend myself, I created all the materials as well as the guide linked above for the tourism office and JCMU to utilize.

Japan Center for Michigan Universities Official Blog: When I first came to JCMU, I was asked to do something with their blog website. It was not created by professionals and was at best poorly put together. I reformatted the entire site to be easier to navigate, aligned with branding, and added 10 additional resources. All of the photos used as page headers were taken by me in an effort to spruce up the quality of the site.