View Full Version : A few questions about a lack of experience...

November 3rd, 2011, 23:55
Hello there. :)

I have a few questions if you can all help me.

First of all, I have no formal education in regards to Japan, or anything Japanese related, short of a brief look at the bombing of Japan during WW2 during one of my modules last year. Secondly, I have no teaching experience at all, though I do volunteer as a sort of Student Ambassador at my University (I am a sort of go-between for staff and students). Will these things count against me too heavily on my application? It has been worrying me all week. http://www.jetprogramme.org/forums/images/smilies/icon_neutral.gif

Thanks for any help you can offer. http://www.jetprogramme.org/forums/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif

November 4th, 2011, 00:14
I don't think you need to worry too much about it. I'm kind of in the same boat as you in terms of formal experiences (I took Japanese in high school and that's pretty much it). I've been a bit worried about my chances because of this, but I've been talking about it with my fiance who is a JET in Sapporo, and he was telling me that a lot of his JET friends he has made in Hokkaido have similar backgrounds. One person had no teaching experience, no volunteer work with children, no knowledge of Japanese language, history, or culture, and his college degree is something technical like architecture or the like, but he still made it as a JET. So, I think there's a lot of different things they're evaluating when they look at our applications, so I don't think the things you mentioned are going to heavily hinder your chances of getting to the interview stage.

November 4th, 2011, 00:19
Thank you :) That has put my mind at ease. I mean, I have a limited knowledge of Japanese culture and history, but it is very limited.

From what I understand, they are much more interested in your Statement of Purpose and reference letters?

I also have a reasonable amount in the inter-cultural/international experiences section, which I am sure must be quite important? :)

November 4th, 2011, 00:28
No problem! (^_^) I have read the SoP and the reference letters do help a lot if other areas are weaker. And having lots of intercultural/ international experiences, even if they aren't Japanese examples, can help too I'm sure.

I'm especially worried for myself about my lack of knowledge on a lot of the Japanese culture and history because I am half-Japanese, so the fact that I know so little about what is preceived to be "my culture" might be looked at negatively by the JET reviewers... But, I was raised in America and my Japanese parent didn't really reinforce any Japanese roots when I was growing up, so it's beem hard for me to really connect with that side of my ethnicity. Anyway, I just figure I can't let all of these things stop me from trying, you know? I just have to hope that they my potential in other aspects of the application....

November 4th, 2011, 00:31
I don't think it will count AGAINST you. They give points for relevant experience but I doubt they take away for not having any. The things that lose you points for are not following directions or grammatical errors in your SOP.

Honestly, it's a bit too late to be worrying about it now. Even if it would count against you, there is not much you can change in the month until it's due. So relax and spin yourself the best you can. People have gotten in with no experience and no Japanese in the past. If you don't make it and you really want it... gather more experience and try again next year. It's what I am doing. Just make sure that you don't mention your lack of experience in your SOP. Make it as positive as you can without sounding arrogant and relate the experience that you DO have to your duties as an ALT. Worrying about something you can't change will get you nowhere and undermine your confidence.

November 4th, 2011, 00:32
I hope so. :)

I am sure that it will be ok. Surely, if you explain that in an interview if it is brought up, and make the effort to study Japanese culture and history, even if it is just a small amount before you are interviewed, they will be ok with it? As long as you can show you are making the effort to learn about it I am sure it will be fine.

I don't know this, but I can't imagine that they are looking for people with a huge knowledge of Japan and its culture, as it is supposed to be a cultural exchange programme? :)

November 4th, 2011, 00:45
It doesn't hurt to put it down. I'm pretty sure everyone starts at 0 points and everything that qualifies is an added point so it doesn't hurt to put everything you think will help you down. Its up to them to decide if they want to award you the point or not.

I have no teaching certifications, no formal Japanese experience, my degree is a computer science degree, and the only experience I have with children is some volunteer work I do. So, trust me, don't think this will count again you.

Just have a strong SOP.

November 4th, 2011, 16:22
Thank you both (hunterofpeace and Merkypie) for your replies. :)

My plan now is just to work on a strong SoP. Like you say, it is too late to do anything now.

I feel better I am the only one not lacking in experience; I was on the official forums and it seemed like everyone had experience, or a TEFL qualification...things like that.

Hope all your applications are going well. :)

November 5th, 2011, 00:24
No problem. I think that was my greatest realization about this application. Don't sweat the small stuff. Focus on what matters. Don't worry about what you can't change. Once I figured that out, I felt a lot better.

November 5th, 2011, 00:42
I feel a lot better now. I plan to spend the vast majority of this weekend working on my SoP, and then am hoping some very kind person on here will read it for me. :^_^:

November 5th, 2011, 03:34
I feel a lot better now. I plan to spend the vast majority of this weekend working on my SoP, and then am hoping some very kind person on here will read it for me. :^_^:

There are plenty of awesome people here who will read it over for you. Check out the first post in the SOP Help Thread.

November 5th, 2011, 03:39
There are plenty of awesome people here who will read it over for you. Check out the first post in the SOP Help Thread.

I shall. :) Thank you very much.

November 8th, 2011, 09:03
Remember, this isn't a job where you are selling your education and experience, this is a job where you are selling your soft-skills.

What are you good at? Why do you think you'll be awesome at the job? What do you hope to get out of it? What do you bring to it that no one else can?

Yes some teaching and Japanese can't really hurt you, but it's not a requirement... given a friend of mine is a business grad with 0 Japanese before coming here. Dunno if he volunteered but I doubt it.