Alumni Stories: Josephine Kirkland (Global Studies Graduate, 2017)

About one month has passed since coming to Japan as a candidate for participation in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program as an ALT or Assistant Language Teacher. My placement is in Chiba Prefecture in the quaint, semi-rural city of Asahi, at a local junior high school. Participating in the distinguished JET Program after graduation had been my dream since entering the Japanese program at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. I am very grateful for this opportunity and attribute this success to the education I have received as an undergraduate at UWM.

I recently graduated (Spring 2017) receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts in Japanese, Global Studies along the Communications track, as well as an Asian Studies Certificate. I also received a certificate of completion of Nanzan University’s Center for Japanese Studies’ (CJS) Intensive Japanese Language Program in Nagoya, Japan and was chosen for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Scholarship, two consecutive years. I’m proud of the accomplishments this degree has provided and helped me achieve; needless to say, it has prepared me well for life abroad.

The Global Studies’ core teaches many things but above all  how to interpret the larger processes unfolding in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, highlighting the interdependence of political, cultural, economic, environmental, and technological processes which are at work in this era of globalization. This is done by combining technical and theoretical approaches as well as exposure to actual contexts in which the knowledge taught would be best applied directly.  Since the degree requires eight semesters of foreign language, at least 12 credits of study abroad, as well as an overseas internship, it really challenged me to participate in this real-life context alongside the acquisition of various theoretical insights. This was and still is, incredibly beneficial to me professionally and personally.

This degree has given me a bridge to the world and the vast opportunities it has to offer. It has also provided me an atlas for interpreting my place within the world and alongside others. I hope to utilize all I’ve learned at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee to keep moving forward professionally and academically, but also utilize my education as a tool for ambassadorship. I want to be the best example I can be for my home culture, town, and institutions, creating strong bridges all around the world between them.

I sincerely thank you UWM!


Josephine Kirkland
Global Studies- Communications (B.A.) | Japanese (B.A) Asian Studies Certificate
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee | Spring 2017