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CrouchingMouse
July 30th, 2013, 04:41
Hopefully this is in the right subforum.

I'm planning to apply to JET this fall, now that I've got my bachelor's. I've thought about doing JET for a few years now, so I've occasionally lurked this forum (sorry), the official JET pages, and elsewhere on the Internet looking for advice and other people's experiences so I'd have some idea of what I would be getting into. It seems like a pretty good temporary gig, and I like what I've heard/seen.

However, my boyfriend has told me that he's pretty worried about my decision to apply because a friend of his - who knows multiple people who did JET sometime in the past - told him that he's heard horror stories about the program and generally bad things about it.

Personally, I'm not convinced. He has yet to tell me any details because he heard all this from a secondhand source, and the only horror stories I've heard of from JET were of people who went to Japan and realized they were miserable there because it just wasn't the right place for them, not necessarily because they got screwed over by JET. I'm friendly with a couple of people who are doing JET now and they seem to be having a good time and doing fairly well over there. Despite telling him about what I've read about the program from the official sources and firsthand accounts I've read, I can't seem to assuage his worry and he's still clinging to what his friend told him.

So I figured I could ask you guys. Does what he's heard have any merit? Are there that many horror stories about JET that I should be aware of? What are the worst things that have happened to you on the program? And if there's really nothing to worry about, what could I say to assure him that nothing terrible is going to happen to me over there?

tedcase
July 30th, 2013, 06:08
ESID.

hunterofpeace
July 30th, 2013, 07:09
Oh well that's helpful ted.

Yes, every situation is different but I think for the most part the JET Program is one of the better options for teaching in Japan. I've not heard of any truly horrible stories. Some people have controlling BOEs but I think a lot of what happens in your stay depends largely on you... your coping mechanisms and the way you handle challenges. Is it just JET he has a problem with? What about the other companies? If you've given him a lot of empirical evidence to assuage his fears and he still pressuring you against the decision then it's probably more of a case of him not wanting you to leave.

coop52
July 30th, 2013, 08:50
JET's not that bad, at worse you'll get a BOE that wants to control everything. They generally won't do shady shit, like not put you on the public health insurance or go months without paying you, like some of the other English teaching companies will. Personally, the worst thing that happened to me through my whole tenure on JET was kids would grab my boobs. If you can handle that, you should be ok.

Jiggit
July 30th, 2013, 09:22
There are horror stories. Some places really are a bit silly, one that comes to mind is a guy who didn't speak any Japanese came in to replace a guy who had been there for 5 years who originally wanted to be a CIR and spent the entire 5 years learning Japanese and teaching in Japanese apparently. So his schools all just expected this new guy to do the same. Also apparently the other people in his apartment complex made him come to a meeting in his first week and elected him "boss" of the building and tried to make him in charge of the trash. Lol.

On the other hand some people's horror stories are in a large part based on them being miserable sods/dumbfvcks. When I first arrived a girl who used to teach at my school told me "oh yeah I hated your school, you have to do everything completely yourself and no-one will ever help you at all". Turns out my school is pretty much one of the better ones you could hope for as an ALT, kids are really friendly, interested and good at English by Japanese standards, the teachers speak English well, and having creative control of lessons is actually more of a plus to anyone who gives a shit. Oh and about the girl who told me that - the kids at her schools apparently think she's terrible and boring and are happy she's leaving this year. Which is really something special considering how easy it is to impress/be liked by Japanese students as a foreigner/young female.

So yeah a lot of it is perspective and a lot of people who come to be ALTs really do need to be put down.

CrouchingMouse
July 30th, 2013, 11:52
Oh well that's helpful ted.

Yes, every situation is different but I think for the most part the JET Program is one of the better options for teaching in Japan. I've not heard of any truly horrible stories. Some people have controlling BOEs but I think a lot of what happens in your stay depends largely on you... your coping mechanisms and the way you handle challenges. Is it just JET he has a problem with? What about the other companies? If you've given him a lot of empirical evidence to assuage his fears and he still pressuring you against the decision then it's probably more of a case of him not wanting you to leave.

I feel like I could cope alright. I spent about 5 months in Japan last year on a study abroad program, so I have something of an idea of what it's like to live there. I speak...ok Japanese, and can read it fairly well. I'm not worried about getting stuck in the inaka, but if there was something more shady about JET then it would give me pause.

I did mention to him that JET is probably the better option compared to a lot of other ALT companies or random eikaiwas based on what I've heard, since it's sponsored by the government and all. It's true he's not thrilled about the prospect of me leaving, but he does understand that this is important to me and he's not the kind of person to guilt trip me like that. I'm going to try and get more details from his hearsay and see if I can get to the bottom of this.

Jiggit
July 30th, 2013, 12:03
It's true he's not thrilled about the prospect of me leaving, but he does understand that this is important to me and he's not the kind of person to guilt trip me like that.

What you're saying to him is that you're going to break up for a temp job. Of course he's going to do everything to try and prevent you going.

Gizmotech
July 30th, 2013, 13:06
I have a JET horror story:
Once I actually had to do work... at work.


Ya... it was that bad.

Jiggit
July 30th, 2013, 13:09
I have a JET horror story:
Once I actually had to do work... at work.


Ya... it was that bad.

Mods please delete, no trolling outside of Lounge.

Ini
July 30th, 2013, 13:14
I had to live in kanto for 5 years..... the horror.....

Gizmotech
July 30th, 2013, 14:23
Well, I'm not actually sure what they mean by horror story to be honest. Like you said Jiggit, most of the "bad" stories often come from people being useless in general at life, as opposed to something that was proactively done to them.

zombiekelly
July 30th, 2013, 15:05
JET is better than what I've got. JET pays you more, you're in a better situation housing-wise (with a high probability you'll pick up all your essentials from your pred instead of fending for yourself), and you're not as disposable as you are with the other companies.

dialogue
July 31st, 2013, 09:12
My first supervisor hated all foreigners, didn't see the need for English, wondered why anyone in Japan would ever want to go outside of it, etc., and was pretty obnoxious, but I'd worked for asshole boss types before, so yeah, whatever. My predecessor caused some problems with the BoE that were transferred to me, but eh.

From March last year to March this year I was forced to work with a 'partner' (translator-y type) who hated: the town, the people in the town, translating, Irish people and Ireland, children, and so on and so forth. Everyone seemed to know she was a jerk. She liked lying a lot, and would constantly incorrectly translate things I said or things people said to me. I was in the happy limbo of understanding what folks said but unable to say much myself, so I watched this happen with a sort of bemused irritation. After that I lost my hesitation about speaking; in that regard it worked in my favor. Working with her was not fun, but with patience and subtle comments, the tide turned in my favor and her contract was not renewed.

That was the major problem I was subjected to but I'm extremely laid back so I wasn't really fazed, overall.

JET horror stories? Well this is a job. You need only ask yourself some very simple questions. Are you an adult, able to handle problems (and they will happen) with humor, patience, and maturity? Or are you an assclown? If you're weak-willed and lack convictions to carry out a task because 'wahh, boo hoo, Timmy teased me' then stay at home. If you have a spine and some wit, come on over.

mothy
August 1st, 2013, 04:31
What do you define as a "horror story?" Being crippled by a train sounds pretty horrible. Being killed by a massive killer wave could be classified as a horror story. As for working and living conditions it really depends on what you would define as horrific. In the end are you just asking if there's a chance you would dislike your JET experience? Yes. Yes there is a chance. The likelihood of that depends entirely upon what you find awful.

Pablo668
August 1st, 2013, 14:37
Perhaps be prepared for accomodation that you wouldn't put a greyhound in.
And having an empty apartment. And your BOE/School having no budget to help you along. And having to buy an air conditioner, washing machine, furniture et al....
And then being told that in the unlikely/likely event of another ALT being employed who happens to have a family, you will be moved out of your apartment into a smaller one because the one you are in is a 'family sized apartment'.

I have just got here, so I'm not at my best right now. I've been polite and as diplomatic as I can be, I've also thanked everyone for everything they've done so far, which is a lot.
So I mentioned to them that once some time has passed I want to find another apartment off my own back. I guess we'll see how that goes.

The teachers seem very nice, I've met some of the kids who are enthusiastic and very nice (they've even been to my city in Aus in exchange). So I'm feeling partially negative and a bit positive about it all too.

Not a great situation I'm in here, but it could be a whole heap worse.

In the end it's probably quite a common one so how you would deal with this could give you a good idea as to how you would go on JET.

therealwindycity
August 3rd, 2013, 02:50
I think that looking around on this forum will give you a sense of the kinds of issues that JETs generally deal with. Some of us do have controlling BOEs, and some people have less-than-helpful supervisors, but for the most part it's mostly minor annoyances and boredom. If I had to guess I'd assume the horror stories were either from non-JETs or your boyfriend just heard the worst of their complaints about Japan. I actually really like my placement, but when I come home the first thing my friends hear is my venting about the things that frustrate me, partly because I'm entitled and spoiled and also because culture shock comes out in weird ways.

patjs
August 7th, 2013, 12:48
It's only going to be a "horror" if you are the type of entitled, lazy twat that can't deal with a different culture and the stress that comes with moving to a new and foreign country AND a new job you are untrained for all at the same time.

Your biggest frustrations will likely come from incompetent/uncooperative JTEs, students and schools that don't care about English, or stuff with the BOE. BOE and supervisor complaints seem to be the most common stories on the negative side. However most fail to remember the fact that you are going to run into fuckheads and assholes in ANY country and in any workplace. What you deal with will just be magnified and the immature tend to heap all the blame on Japan and the Japanese.

The worst-case scenario in the unlikely event that you end up in some really awful accommodations or some kind of dangerous situation with a really bad supervisor is that you have to break contract and go home. Not exactly the end of the world.