Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson

Long-haul Cabin Crew, Air New Zealand
Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Language

Ngāti Porou, Niuean

The Japanese language skills he developed at AUT have helped him tremendously in his career, says AUT alumnus Marcus Johnson.

“The Japanese language knowledge I learned at AUT has set a foundation for me, and taught me how to use Japanese in all kinds of different scenarios. It was a great introduction to learning the language. Being able to speak another person’s language also helps you learn their culture.”

The interactive learning environment was one of the highlights of his studies, says Marcus who has had an interest in Japanese since he was young.

“I had heard that AUT was the best place to study languages because of the small classes. I really enjoyed the classroom atmosphere AUT offered. Having small classes made learning a lot more personal and we often had chances to get one-on-one help from the academic staff.”

New people and experiences
One of the things he enjoyed most about his time at AUT was meeting new people, Marcus says.

“While I was at university, I worked for AUT as a tuakana mentor and a liaison for Japanese international students. This experience taught me how to interact and use my Japanese language skills with native speakers; something I’d never done before. I helped them set up bank accounts, phones etc. It definitely helped me think on the spot and use what I’d learnt in the real world.”

His advice for other students is simple – try your best.

“Persistence is key! Studying can be difficult at times but it’s only a few years compared to your whole life.”

Applying his skills
Since graduating in 2014 Marcus has had plenty of opportunities to put his language skills to good use, including spending several years in Japan where he worked as an assistant language teacher at the Mima City Board of Education.

“In this role, I taught English to around 500 kids. This included elementary school students and junior high school students, as well as teaching adults once a week. I really enjoyed working with the children. It was so rewarding when they remembered things about you or your country, and then went home and shared it with their families.”

Marcus returned in New Zealand in late 2018 and is now working as long-haul cabin crew at Air New Zealand.

“This role is a great opportunity for me to continue going to Japan and keep using my Japanese.”