Moving to a new country can be an exciting adventure.
But with the novel coronavirus wreaking havoc across the globe and resulting in travel restrictions and lockdowns, many would-be travellers have placed their overseas travel plans on hold.
This, however, was definitely not the case for Venesha Williams.
She decided to forge ahead with her Japan-bound plans to pursue her dream of experiencing a new culture, as well as a job as an assistant language teacher in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, Japan.
Hailing from the city of Montego Bay, Williams, who graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media and Communication, always wanted to pursue her dreams as a language teacher.
But, when that did not come to fruition, she accepted a job at a call centre in Montego Bay.
And while the call centre job paid her bills, she believes that she could have been making a more positive contribution to society, hence her decision to seek employment in the Asian country to teach.
“It is frightening what is happening with this coronavirus, however, it didn’t make any sense for me to stay in Jamaica after I had already quit my job. Right now, there are a lot of companies that have laid-off persons. Can you imagine if I had stayed? I would’ve been in that batch. I would be giving up a grand opportunity to live in a different country, learn a different language ,and teach for a programme that is still going on”, Williams told the Jamaica Observer West.
According to Williams, who landed in Japan on March 17, after departing from the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay a day earlier, the schools in Japan are currently on break and the country has taken every precaution to quarantine people who are coming in.
“The kids are out of school now as they are on spring break. School reopens in April. So far they’ve been very careful; they are testing our temperatures and giving us hand sanitisers and masks and advising us to be careful as possible. This is in addition to the mandatory full medical profile required upon entry”, explained Williams.
Williams received her opportunity to teach through Interac, which according to its website, is the largest private provider of professional foreign teachers to the Japanese Government.
She told the Observer West that prior to her departure for Japan a few relatives were worried in the wake of the pandemic, but her mother, who is a nurse in the United Kingdom, told her to “just follow the procedures and you will be fine.”
“Also Interac was not giving us the options for new dates or delays as they claimed that Japan is still safe.Interac advised us that we would have to reapply and the process could take up to a year, so I wasn’t risking all that I had put in so far,” she explained.
According to the World Health Organization, as of March 25, there were a total of 1,193 confirmedcases of the coronavirus in Japan, with 43 deaths. Of that amount, Kanagawa is said to have 84 confirmed cases of the virus. Japan has a population of over 126.5 million.
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