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Growing up in Japan, alumna Satomi Kobayashi (MATFL ’97) always dreamt of traveling the world and volunteering for the good of others. Her practical side led her to the field of language teaching and the Monterey Institute. It turned out to be the perfect environment for both interests.

“While I was still a student at MIIS, I got an offer too hard to resist,” she shares, adding that the offer was for a teaching position at a local private high school that included covering her tuition. While teaching at the high school, she joined Operation Crossroads of Africa and spent her summer setting up youth groups in one of the most impoverished areas of Malawi. She was hooked. The following year, Satomi was off to Nepal to work in the Bhutanese refugee camps. In 2001, she took a sabbatical from teaching and worked for a year as a volunteer for two non-profit organizations in Tanzania.

At that point Satomi was at a crossroads in her life, and her career. “I wanted a family and I also had to think about a steady income,” she says of her decision to return to teaching and to Monterey. “It was not an easy decision, but I realized that most of the people working in the field were either single or not living in the same country or area as their family.” Satomi currently works for the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in the test management division.

“I am very happy with the choices that I made,” she remarks and adds that working at DLI is a little like MIIS in that she gets “to learn about other cultures through differences in customs, food, or from anecdotes and life stories.” Her hope is to retire early and use her income to continue her volunteer work, to fulfill her wishes to “do something good for the community, country, or the world!” She values greatly the balance she has with her family life and job at DLI and says that none of that would have been possible without MIIS.

For More Information

Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir