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Tunana
January 29th, 2015, 18:45
Hey everyone, scrub here who just registered. I've been preparing off and on (making sure I've taken a good hard look at why I want to go to Japan and why JET is the program for me) and I feel like I've managed to work a good amount of fluidity into my answers but there's been on thing that keeps niggling in the back of my mind.

I'm applying from America but, to be quite honest, I'm barely American at all. I grew up overseas in Africa and Europe (literally 21 out of my 22 years are not in the US) and conveyed as much in my SOP and application... So I guess in short: what do? I could pull any number of interesting stories, facts, whatever about either of those two regions out of my ass at any point but if I'm asked something like "What 3 things would you want to teach about America?" I'll draw a blank for the most part besides high-brow/academic-y things like a growing income inequality gap, intense media culture centred around celebritiism and sports, etc. I've been wracking my brain trying to think if the reason they picked me was just something random or if they picked me because they actually WANTED my breadth of international experience. What do you guys think?

word
January 29th, 2015, 18:59
Calm down.

Just be yourself; don't try to have prepared answers ready on tap. You'll be fine. Take care of yourself, don't overthink it, get plenty of sleep the night before the interview.

Edit: I don't mean to sound like a patronizing jerk, but I really think this is the advice you need to take. You are drastically overthinking this situation.

Tunana
January 29th, 2015, 19:07
I've steadily been trying to do this, haha. Your long-form post was actually really helpful in calming down as previously all I'd found when looking for advice were exhaustive lists of questions. Thanks :). I'll say that telling me that doesn't do much to assuage my nervousness though - I tend to be the kind of person that is a nervous wreck up until the morning of whatever I'm going to do... then somehow wake up feeling refreshed after just saying "Fuck it". Apologies for using this forum as an outlet for the pre-interview stress. That being said however, I am genuinely curious if you think just going for the whole "I might not be 100% pure American (I'm actually half South African) but I can show you the world, shining shimmering, splendid." vibe would be worth a shot. I'll be frank when I say I've got really no marketable skills outside being an ESL teacher in East Asia and screwing this up would suck.

Ini
January 29th, 2015, 19:07
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojyY-SC4t74

they didn't give you an interview just to hurl abuse at you and question your patriotism. (Well I hope they didn't, you can never tell with septics)
Talk up your international experience and give some frothy light answers that'll make the interviewers giggle and go moist over (Seriously, you would talk to 10 year olds about the growing income inequality gap????)

Tunana
January 29th, 2015, 19:14
Hey! Who says 10 year olds can't understand the problems associated with an increasing Gini Coefficient and the issues to be found therein?! :P But in all seriousness I have taken to heart a lot of your and word's advice after reading it elsewhere in the forum.

Jiggit
January 29th, 2015, 19:22
None of the things you are worrying about matter. They employ ALTs from all over the world, including South Africa. Just because you're applying in the US doesn't mean you have to be some kind of walking America encyclopedia. Talk about what you're familiar with and be confident in speaking honestly.

Tunana
January 29th, 2015, 20:01
Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that none of your fears matter and that your worries are foundless to relax - Thanks guys :) (Seriously ^^).

Zolrak 22
January 29th, 2015, 20:20
http://youtu.be/2PlgN0ta6E8

Everything's going to be fine, you won't fail the interview because of something like that.

Penguee
January 29th, 2015, 22:04
If you're really that worried about it, ask yourself that question out loud and see how you do. If you're really stressed record it. How well do you pull stuff out of your hat? If you think you do okay, then calm down and relax. If you think you suck at it, relax, try again, and just see how the words flow.

You're not going to magically get better if you feel you're lacking, but sometimes just voicing words themselves can help you reassure yourself. You'll do your best and that is all you can do. Stress now or stress later, you are going to do your best regardless.

starfish
January 30th, 2015, 03:33
I could pull any number of interesting stories, facts, whatever about either of those two regions out of my ass at any point but if I'm asked something like "What 3 things would you want to teach about America?" I'll draw a blank for the most part besides high-brow/academic-y things like a growing income inequality gap, intense media culture centred around celebritiism and sports, etc.

What did you put on your application as your hometown? You're most likely going to be asked about representing that, not the location you're applying from.

Also, keep that highbrow nonsense off the table. The Japanese deny the problems they've caused and don't want to hear about the rest of the world's problems either.

If you must, at least figure out a way to spin it. For all the "problems" you see in America, somebody here benefits from it. Talk about things from their perspective.

A growing income inequality gap? "America is a wonderful country in which people can become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams."
Celebritism? "America is a wonderful country whose biggest export is entertainment, giving even average people the ability to be world-renowned."
Racism/police shootings? "America's murder rate has been steadily decreasing since the 1970s. Despite the proliferation of guns, public safety is America's highest priority."
Even the "wars" can be justified. "America fights terrorism around the world so you don't have to."

mothy
January 30th, 2015, 10:19
What? The Japanese love to hear about the rest of the world's problems. It helps perpetuate the myth that Japan is the greatest country on earth.

Of course the interview isn't the right time to do so, as they're looking for something different than the typical Japanese.

JET ProgramCoordinator SF
January 31st, 2015, 09:47
One of our amazing candidates last year grew up in foreign country. He talked about how he would draw upon his experiences in Ukraine and America to give the kids a wider world perspective, and to show how there are people who moved from one country to another. I loved that he was eager to draw up on his unique cultural background. You sound like you also have a unique world perspective that you could share with your students. Embrace that. Yes, you are an American JET, so we always like to see the Red, White, and Blue waved around a bit, but just as important is that you show the kids what it means to be non-Japanese. This means promoting internationalization and cross-cultural communication with not just Japan and America but with all countries and each other.