Interview with Betty Kates

Interested in the tourism and hospitality industry, but don't feel confident about handling clients' needs in English? We should be better prepared for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as it is just around the corner. Check out our course offerings in the English for Specific Purposes category and learn from one of our instructors who has a passion for both English Education and "Omotenashi."

Could you tell us about your background?

I was born in Darwin, Australia, but most of my childhood was spent in Singapore and London. After completing my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Modern Asian Studies in Brisbane, I spent my twenties working as a teacher in Taipei, and then working in hospitality in London where I was front of house supervisor for Brian Smith Catering at Channel Four's promotions building. Then, while completing my Master's Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) in Brisbane, I worked in various departments at the Sheraton Hotel. I came to Tokyo in 1999, and have taught at private high schools, conversational schools and international colleges. I started teaching at Temple University in 2014.

I have been teaching for over twenty one years and cannot imagine doing anything else! Teaching is one of my passions. It is so rewarding.

What courses do you teach?—How can these courses help students and in what field?

I currently teach four courses at Temple University. Three of them are general English courses for high beginners and lower intermediate students. The fourth course, English for Tourism and Hospitality, is aimed at pre-intermediate students.

The general English courses can help anyone who would like to improve their English skills for their current job, or those hoping for a promotion or to change jobs. They can also help anyone who is planning to go on to study English for Academic Purposes or study abroad, or would like to get the most out of their travels, or hopes to widen their circle of friends.

English for Tourism and Hospitality is great for anyone who is interested in travel, would like to better their English skills by studying a specific field, and either works in the hospitality industry, or is planning to do so.

Do you know of any success stories of students who took your course?

Several students have told me that they appreciate their achievements in class, and also the boost of confidence they have gained. They feel encouraged to meet new people and travel more independently.

Some students have gone on to study abroad in England and Australia, or have applied for and got promotions with their improved English skills, or felt confident enough to apply for positions at multinational companies where English is necessary.

Owners of Japanese Inns, and others in the tourism industry, who took the English for Tourism and Hospitality course felt more self-assured dealing with their guests, and better prepared for the increased number of international visitors to Tokyo.

What backgrounds do your students have?

All kinds of backgrounds! My students are people of all ages from various countries. They are university students, businesspeople, homemakers, retired people and business owners. They have different motivations for learning English, all have something to offer, and hope to broaden their horizons in some way.

Did you know?

Betty is a vegan, and loves traveling and learning about other cultures. She has been lucky enough to visit twenty-seven countries.