Alumni Spotlight – Christopher Kinney (COL 2011)

During my studies at Georgetown, I was often asked, “ What on earth are you going to do with a degree in Japanese?” I often wondered that myself. Growing up with a Japanese grandmother and relatives I couldn’t communicate with, my interest was sparked at an early age.

After graduating and moving to Japan to live and work, I can now confidently say the world is full of endless and wonderful possibilities. With very engaging teachers– some of whom have the best and funniest stories you will hear in your life– my Japanese studies at Georgetown, while innovative and fun, definitely prepared me for my life as a shakaijin ( working man) in a country with many customs different from the one I was accustomed.

My first attempt at a job in Japan didn’t yield any results as I bombed the final interview I drilled so well for in class, and ended up spending my first year out interning with the Japan America Society of Georgia. Working here kept my Japanese skills sharp, while allowing me to build a resume, make, business contacts, not to mention provide me with a few great friends who helped me keep on top of my Japanese. While at the Japan America Society of Georgia, I also assisted in setting up various large auction and charity events, not to mention educational events relating to Japan and Japanese culture. We also worked hand in hand with the Japanese consulate and their staff on a wide variety of projects.

A year after graduation, during the Boston career forum, I came across the sports retail company, Super Sports Xebio. This is when my studies and hard work paid off. While working in the online sales department, Xebio has allowed me to mix my love of Japanese and my passion for Track and Field to form a career. I am competing under the direction of the Japanese National coach, while gaining support to run from my company to travel throughout Japan and the U.S. competing. I am preparing to try out for Olympics. Whether I’ll be competing as a Japanese athlete yet or not is still in the works. I have also had the chance to work with and meet many professional athletes from other sports such as baseball and soccer, which has been an extremely fun and given me lifelong friends.

This past March I was fortunate enough to work with Nishi Sports as a model for their new track line. I have appeared in a few magazines and will be in a few more this coming summer.

Japanese may be a difficult language to master, but it is definitely fun growing and improving while working and experiencing the rich culture and great food Japan has to offer. Studying Japanese has been both fun and at times challenging, but studying Japanese at Georgetown was one of the best decisions I have ever made.