California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) graduates Cameron Lombardo and Christopher Rohar have been selected as Yokkaichi English Fellows (YEF) and will begin teaching English in Long Beach’s Sister City of Yokkaichi, Japan, in August.
The two were selected by the Yokkaichi City Board of Education to serve as assistant language teachers at the elementary and junior high school level for two years.
Lombardo earned a bachelor of arts degree in Japanese and a minor in anthropology from CSULB this year. The Huntington Beach resident attended Tenri University in Nara, Japan, for six months during the fall 2010 semester. While in Japan, he worked as the English Club coordinator for a middle and high school in Nara.
Also, Lombardo has worked in the Learning Assistance Center at CSULB as an English as a Second Language (ESL) specialist, helping international students and ESL students prepare for the California State University writing proficiency exam.
“I am extremely interested in internationalism and want to promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and Japan,” Lombardo said. “I feel that programs like YEF are designed to accomplish this goal. Also, I am delighted that I’ll be working in Long Beach’s sister city of Yokkaichi and sharing my own cultural heritage with my students and colleagues.”
Rohar’s degrees from CSULB include a bachelor of arts in Japanese and a bachelor of science in international business, both in 2010. The Rancho Palos Verdes resident also studied at Osaka Gakuin University in Osaka, Japan, in 2007-08.
At CSULB Rohar was vice president of the Chinese/Japanese Calligraphy Club. He speaks Spanish and since high school has informally helped ESL students with their academic work.
“Helping bring about greater cross cultural understanding is something in which I take great joy,” Rohar noted. “This has also helped me to understand the needs and frustrations of English language learners. Coming from a multilingual background, I am familiar with the trouble that learning a new language can bring.”
“Teaching in the schools requires team teaching with Japanese teachers in English,” explained Jeanne Karatsu, a board member of the Long Beach-Yokkaichi Sister City Association that does the initial screening of the applicants. “The two goals of the program are to assist in integrating oral language skills into the classroom and to make the study of English more lively and relevant. The Yokkaichi students score very high on the English tests, which the Yokkaichi Board of Education attributes to the YEF program.”
The YEF experience also includes working as tutors, judges or commentators for speech contests and serving as translators or English speakers as needed The program began in 1986.
Yokkaichi, located about 20 miles from Nagoya in central Japan, is a major port and industrial complex that is also known for its production of fine tea and exquisite pottery.