Shree Kurlekar of JETAANY.org (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program Alumni Association of New York) interviewed me for the latest issue of JQ Magazine.Â Download the PDF version of the magazine or read the article below after the jump.
The History of JETAANYâ€™s Webmaster
By Shree Kurlekar (Shiga-ken, 2005-07)
Originally published in the Summer 2009 issue of JQ Magazine
Since the fall of 2006, Lee-Sean Huang (Oita-ken, 2003-06) has served as the Webmaster for JETAANY, revamping our site and making it one of the best and most user friendly acrossÂ the global JET network.
Born in Taiwan, Lee-Sean spent most of his formativeÂ life in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona.Â At age 18, he fled to the East Coast to the south of Boston, attending the prestigious Harvard University. At Harvard, he studied abroad in multiple countries, a prelude to what was to come upon graduation. He spent time at the University of Barcelona, the Sorbonne in Paris and Lund University in Sweden.
Having taken Japanese all through college, Lee- Sean knew that he wanted to live in Japan, and, much like the majority of the JET population, with no clear idea of what he wanted to do in the â€œlong-term careerâ€ department, decided to apply to the JET Programme.
Lee-Sean spent three years on JET as an ALT in Oita-ken, Nakatsu-shi on Kyushu. The memories that still linger in his heart the strongest are of the onsen (mineral hot springs) and the monkeys. (Oh, and going to the Naked Man festival…)
Relocating to New York after his stint in Japan, Lee-Sean has been living almost exclusively in lower Manhattan. Though he ventures north and to the other boroughs regularly, he has only lived in Tribeca and the Financial District. However, this summer he left the city to take part in an internship at Creative Commons in San Francisco.
His official title there is â€œInternational Outreach Intern,â€ and heâ€™s currently working on a wiki-based community site called OpenEd that is currently in beta. It aims to be a portal site to promote open educational resources, which encompasses everything from lesson plans to worksheets to multimedia assets. Since the JET community already does a lot of sharing of this kind, he definitely recommends checking them out at http://opened.creativecommons.org/.
This internship is in conjunction with his current pursuit of a masterâ€™s degree in interactive telecommunications at New York University. Itâ€™s an interdisciplinary program that deals with the convergence of art, technology, design and how they interact with people and society.
Before committing himself to academia again, Lee-Sean used to work in the non-profit sector in tech and media, doing things like making Web sites and producing videos for non-profit organizations. When asked how his current career relates to his experience on the JET Programme, Lee-Sean was quick to point out that JET definitely helped him with his public speaking and presentation skills: â€œHey, if you can â€˜performâ€™ as an ESL teacher in front of a bunch of Japanese chuugakusei (junior-high school students), you can pretty much do anything in front of any audience.â€
Though he doesnâ€™t use it much now, Lee-Sean also credits JET with increasing his knowledge in Japanese and enriching his life with the cultural experience and knowledge he gained there. The most direct relation, however, was being able to write â€œinternational experienceâ€ on his applications to international non-profits and non-governmental organizations.
In the near future, Lee-Sean plans on finishing up his last year of grad school, which means the next year will be spent solidly on his thesis. He would also love to live abroad again sometime, maybe somewhere in Europe or Southeast Asia, with Thailand or Singapore as frontrunners. Heâ€™s open to lots of different possibilities after he graduates and is even considering a trip back to Nippon.
In the long term, Lee-Sean would love to grow his freelance work into some sort of sustainable full-time business doing consulting, strategy and media/Web production for non-profi ts and social causes, or do that and teach part-time somewhere.
He can see himself teaching media studies and production at a high school or college. He also wants to further develop his art and musical projects, including the band and multimedia production company he created with a friend: Hepnova Multimedia, which he describes as â€œa genre-defying music collective, multimedia production company and modern lifestyle brand.â€
In the precious spare time he does have, you might catch Lee-Sean on the waterfront in Battery Park City in warm weather. You might also see him at St. Markâ€™s for his Japan fixes, especially his favorite food: any kind of Asian noodles.
Visit Lee-Seanâ€™s homepage at http://leesean.net.