Interview with John James – Student Support Representative

Interview with John James – Student Support Representative




How did you get started traveling?

I joined the US Air Force directly after high school. During my service, I lived and worked in over sixty countries. Travel changed my life. Then when I came to Phuket, Thailand, I instantly fell in love with the island lifestyle and kept returning to visit my new friends.

John in Basic Training

Serving in Afganistan

McChord AFB, Washington

How did you start making educational films?

While working in Kuwait, I was unexpectedly ordered to produce a short film for a US military contractor, and this began my career as a filmmaker. In Phuket, Thailand, I was lucky enough to meet Hollywood Director Edward E. Vaughan, and he was kind enough to mentor me in photography and film production through a number of projects in Thailand and Hong Kong.

How did you come to be working with Education Abroad Asia?

Traveling the world has enabled me to meet people from many different cultures and traditions, each of them offering their own unique insights. One of the most outstanding individuals I met is the social science and environmental researcher, Dr. Steven Andrew Martin.

Steven has more experience in study abroad than possibly anyone else on the planet, having completed nine international undergraduate programs, two Master’s degrees and a PhD. After working with Steven creating video productions at Education Abroad Asia, I decided to work full-time as their student support representative.

John with the Phuket Film Club

What are the advantages to US students of education abroad?

There is no better experience than studying abroad, especially for students from the United States of America. Real leadership requires the ability to build teams of people from diverse backgrounds, with different religions, different languages, different cultural norms and expectations. There is no better way to gain these skills than to live and study abroad. When you have the chance to go to another country, have no fear, just go. 

As the great American novelist, Mark Twain, pointed out, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

Why should students from the US visit Phuket, Thailand, in particular?

Thailand’s unique Buddhist-majority culture is endlessly fascinating. The food is amazing too! Thailand’s world-class hospitality, thriving tourism industry, outstanding health care system, and affordable higher education makes this the perfect destination for US study abroad students.

I hope this interview can help young people to understand why I am committed to supporting students here at home in Seattle, Washington, and elsewhere in the United States.