Jared Sedlmayr lived in Baraboo, Wisconsin until middle school when his family relocated to Livingston, a small community near Platteville. He attended the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and earned his degree in international studies. What did he intend to do with this degree? “I wasn’t sure,” Jared shared. “I was in school and wanted to get a degree,” he added with a smile. But Jared always had an interest in foreign lands.
Since he was little, Jared said he had developed an interest in Japan. “Even as a little kid,” he said, “I watched shows from Japan and played video games.” The earliest game he remembered playing was Dragon Ball Z, a Japanese animated series. He said his mom told him he watched a Japanese movie once when he was only three years old. In any event, Jared developed an interest in Japan and took the opportunity to study abroad there during his undergraduate studies.
He spent two semesters in Japan learning the language, culture and history. Was it expensive there? He laughed and replied, “I doubled my student loans.” But it was worth it to Jared as he said he learned a lot and had a lot of fun there.
Was it what he expected it to be? “It wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, but it was better in some ways too,” he answered. “I didn’t have a romanticized idea of it.”
Jared stayed in a dorm for one semester and lived with a host family for another where he agreed he was much more immersed in the culture with his host family.
Was he glad he did it? “Yeah,” Jared replied. “I thought about going back to Japan to teach English.” And although he did return briefly for a visit with his friend who did go back and teach, Jared came back to the U.S. and stayed.
“A weird thing,” he added, “was that in the U.S. it is much less formal.” But he also shared that he missed that formality a bit when he returned home. He also missed driving while in Japan.
“I stayed in Nagasaki, Japan. The way the city was located, the traffic wasn’t too bad. I didn’t interact with (the traffic) too much. I walked. Me and my best friend did a lot of walking,” he added. Jared explained that his best friend had similar interests in Japan, so they had talked about studying abroad there and went together.
After Jared returned home, he worked in insurance with his mom, who is an agent. “I wasn’t terribly fond of it in the beginning,” Jared admitted. After seven years, he put his resume on Indeed and received a call from MCU just as he was about to accept a position in production. “It was April of 2021, when things were at a peak with Covid,” he said and was happy he didn’t have to take the other job.
Jared started in an inbound lender position, but said he likes working more on the back end of things now in processing. “I didn’t know much about MCU,” he said before he started at the organization. “I knew they existed. My brother got a loan through MCU.”
That said, Jared explained that when he was contacted about a job, he said MCU’s focus on helping people really appealed to him. “I believe in education and in helping people,” he shared. “The world would be a better place if we all just reach out and help other. Everyone deserves basic happiness, comfort and security. To work somewhere that focuses on the little guy appeals to me. The way the world has been for the past 10 years …” Jared continued. “The world needs more hope.”
Jared lives in the Holmen area. He and his fiancé Laura share a love of international travel; their two dogs, two cats and four aquariums; gardening, cooking, baking (especially bread) and watching scary movies together.