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View Full Version : Postgraduate studies while on JET/ALT-ing in Japan



quis
April 12th, 2015, 18:35
I have been shortlisted for JET this year. While I am excited to spend time in Japan, I am also aware of the black hole it may create in my CV. So I am currently researching Masters and other postgraduate programs that can be completed online while ALTing in Japan so that when I return home I won't feel like I have 'wasted' my time overseas, i.e., have spent multiple years gallivanting around Japan.

The programs I am looking at are online Masters from Australian universities. There shouldn't be any upfront fees as I am eligible for FEE-HELP.

Questions:

Will I have time to commit to 10-20 hours of study per week in addition to my ALTing duties/time off to explore Japan? I know this is a massive ESID, but I have no idea what the actual workload for an ALT actually looks like. I wouldn't want my postgrad studies to negatively effect my commitment to my schools or even time off to explore Japan. A big consideration is that major assessment items would likely always be due in April, June, September and November.
Do BOEs 'allow' or 'permit' JETs to undertake study while on the JET Program? I know this will probably come down to the individual contracts with BOEs, but any insight would be appreciated.
Is this a completely dumb idea that I should drop?


I currently work full-time in Australia and I am doing a Graduate Diploma online part-time. I'm finding that this workload is manageable and that I can still do things for myself that are fun and not just work related.

Any insight into this would be appreciated, especially if you have actually done postgraduate studies while on JET!

mrcharisma
April 12th, 2015, 22:28
If you view JET as a "waste" and a "black hole" should you really even be coming? There's plenty of alternates waiting who will view it as anything but.

I have however heard of this happening, though not sure if it was at as intense a level as you plan. It will depend on your workload and amount of time off which is ESID. As a rule though I don't know many JETs who work beyond 6pm and most (but not all) are free during the majority of weekends. Most BOEs wouldn't be too keen to give you time off for assessments IMO but you might get lucky.

Zolrak 22
April 12th, 2015, 22:35
Yeah, I don't know about 20 hours, but 10-15 sound feasible in my head.

About 2 every day and then the rest on weekends?

You'd just have to manage your time better if you want to explore Japan as well.

quis
April 12th, 2015, 23:14
If you view JET as a "waste" and a "black hole" should you really even be coming? There's plenty of alternates waiting who will view it as anything but.

I think JET will be an incredible and invaluable experience - just not particularly career-wise. I'm planning on making the most of my time there and I am super excited to be on JET, but I'm not going to pretend that my life is going to end after I finish JET. I want to make sure that I'm thinking of what comes after JET and that I come home with something other than having had a blast.


I have however heard of this happening, though not sure if it was at as intense a level as you plan. It will depend on your workload and amount of time off which is ESID. As a rule though I don't know many JETs who work beyond 6pm and most (but not all) are free during the majority of weekends. Most BOEs wouldn't be too keen to give you time off for assessments IMO but you might get lucky.

The proposed workload would be half or even a quarter of the full time load so I hope it wouldn't be too intense. I wouldn't need any time off for assessment. But I guess this part is the most ESID and I'll just have to wait for placement information. If I get stuck working long hours and having to take home work, then that'll nix these plans.


Yeah, I don't know about 20 hours, but 10-15 sound feasible in my head.

About 2 every day and then the rest on weekends?

You'd just have to manage your time better if you want to explore Japan as well.

Okay, that does sound a little bit mad. It would be closer to the 10 hour mark than 20. Need to keep those weekends free so that I can eat my way around Japan.

mrcharisma
April 12th, 2015, 23:48
There's every chance you'll have enough spare time at your desk to study 10-15 hours a week. It's maybe a little dubious morality-wise but it happens a lot, especially in Junior High.

webstaa
April 13th, 2015, 09:01
1. ALTs work (are at work) around 35 hours a week. You probably won't be in a class 5 hours a day, so there is time to either do prep work, study, etc. For schools ESID. Your free time is what you make of it. If you want to spend a lot of time studying, that'll probably cut into your 'explore Japan' time. But there are a lot of ALTs who have very time consuming hobbies as well.

2. Under the terms of most BoE/CO contracts, you aren't supposed to earn/work a different job, or be enrolled in a school/take classes in Japan. Again ESID, but if you're doing a correspondence course, you may be able to get around that. Especially the 'take classes' bit, as I know a few ALTs who have gotten permission to join Japanese classes through a local college/university with the blessing of their BoE - but they were outside of working hours and paid for out of pocket. Same with English language teaching certification courses.

3. I don't think it's dumb. It might be a bit overwhelming, depending on the course load you'll have to take on while adjusting to life in Japan. Personally, I chose to do JET instead of going straight to grad school. Paid off a bit of my debt etc.

greyjoy
April 13th, 2015, 10:07
Ugh, please don't do this. This black hole on your cv is anything but. Presuming that you're in your mid twenties, and probably fresh from undergraduate studies, people fully expect young people to take a few years to explore the world and their options in life. Some employers may be on to the easy ride that JET provides, but it's certainly not going to look like more of a job if you manage to complete a masters degree while you supposedly were teaching full time.

I've bitched about this here before, but participating in the rat race philosophy of not falling behind your peers is just as stupid and destructive as the work 100 hours a week and never talk to your family mentality that exists in japan. You're not going to be unemployable if you go back to your home country at 25 and with just the same undergraduate degree that you had before. That's still ridiculously young.

I'm almost positive this would greatly diminish your experience in Japan. You will find yourself turning down invitations to get togethers or group trips to study, will while away perfectly beautiful afternoons writing papers, and generally not experience japan much more than if you stayed at home eating sushi and watching anime. You won't find yourself wandering around exploring new things. Instead, maybe you'll find yourself at the same old izakaya every Saturday night drinking shitty beer.
To say that esid, is to play odds that are very stacked against you. Not a lot of people would consider this to be a full time job workload. But there are so many ways that it could go wrong if you anticipate having so many hours of downtime at school

And not to channel Ini to strongly, as I'm literally replying to this on my phone waiting for my one class of the day, but it's also pretty insulting to the other teachers if you're getting paid to sit and earn a degree while they work 12 hours a day just to have some jerk off ninensei pull their pants down during a maths lesson.

Gizmotech
April 13th, 2015, 11:00
Uhh, Dude go for it.

I know two guys who did their masters through the Australian E-universities while on JET. Yes, they had to devote about 10-20 hours a week into their studies, but they often used their free time at work (one was in a small BoE, the other was in a really low work SHS environment) to do their studies. JET/BoEs cannot say you can't take the course, but they can say you can't study at work. I would be VERY surprised to hear of a BoE telling a JET they're not allowed to do further studies at work. (@webstaa, read the contract again... the standard contract has the anti-employment clause worded as enterprise, but nothing about study in it AT ALL. if yours does, it means some wanker alt before only did that at work and they wrote it specifically for them)

While others will say it will diminish your time here, I would argue that there is ALOT of downtime in this job, and if you manage your time correctly (which you would have to anyways to be effective) you can still participate and interact, explore Japan, and have a good time in this country. You won't be going to every ALT meeting/wankfest that happens, but you can still have an appropriate social life.

Now what you need to consider is this... if you go down this path you are committing to two years of education, as well as 2-3 years living in Japan. Everyone I know who has done distance education on JET has done it in years 2 and 3, after having... enjoyed? japan for a bit.

webstaa
April 14th, 2015, 09:32
@webstaa, read the contract again... the standard contract has the anti-employment clause worded as enterprise, but nothing about study in it AT ALL. if yours does, it means some wanker alt before only did that at work and they wrote it specifically for them)

It's not so much the work contract, but the Instructor visa (AFAIK) has restrictions on being enrolled in as well. And being a student is considered an occupation. Again, I'm no expert, but that was one thing explained to me by the Detroit consulate when I first inquired into JET.

Gizmotech
April 14th, 2015, 10:13
You're confusing two different things.

Being a student, in the country, at physical place,

and

Studying online.

Being a student is a job, and requires a special VISA if that is the purpose of your stay. In this case you are doing online education, in another country, which is no different than running a business outside of country. It's none of their business as your profit generating enterprises are not in Japan.

webstaa
April 14th, 2015, 14:42
You're confusing two different things.

Being a student, in the country, at physical place,

and

Studying online.

Being a student is a job, and requires a special VISA if that is the purpose of your stay. In this case you are doing online education, in another country, which is no different than running a business outside of country. It's none of their business as your profit generating enterprises are not in Japan.

And that would be why my original post says "in Japan." What you have going on back home isn't any of the CO or BoE's business unless it directly impacts your work. And even then, it's tenuous at best.

genkispirit
April 15th, 2015, 08:11
I have been shortlisted for JET this year. While I am excited to spend time in Japan, I am also aware of the black hole it may create in my CV. So I am currently researching Masters and other postgraduate programs that can be completed online while ALTing in Japan so that when I return home I won't feel like I have 'wasted' my time overseas, i.e., have spent multiple years gallivanting around Japan.

The programs I am looking at are online Masters from Australian universities. There shouldn't be any upfront fees as I am eligible for FEE-HELP.

Questions:

Will I have time to commit to 10-20 hours of study per week in addition to my ALTing duties/time off to explore Japan? I know this is a massive ESID, but I have no idea what the actual workload for an ALT actually looks like. I wouldn't want my postgrad studies to negatively effect my commitment to my schools or even time off to explore Japan. A big consideration is that major assessment items would likely always be due in April, June, September and November.
Do BOEs 'allow' or 'permit' JETs to undertake study while on the JET Program? I know this will probably come down to the individual contracts with BOEs, but any insight would be appreciated.
Is this a completely dumb idea that I should drop?


I currently work full-time in Australia and I am doing a Graduate Diploma online part-time. I'm finding that this workload is manageable and that I can still do things for myself that are fun and not just work related.

Any insight into this would be appreciated, especially if you have actually done postgraduate studies while on JET!

While I don't know much about Online Australian Universities, I would be a little wary of doing your Grad studies online at all, period. Self-directed study with face-to-face mentoring time is completely different than an entirely online course. As for going to school at the same time you're working. It's perfectly legal all you have to do is apply for an "other activities" permit. You have BE CAREFUL though, as JET may have certain contract stipulations that prevent ANY activity outside of the contract. They are sponsoring your MAIN visa permit, as such if you violate their contractual obligations they can revoke your visa permit.

greyjoy
April 15th, 2015, 09:24
There's really no point debating the legality of it. Gizmo or whoever is right that a student visa is for physical enrollment in a Japanese school. There's an infinitesimal chance of his activity even being discovered, much less reported for wrong doing.

But yeah, in addition to my other problems with this, the all online university route seems at best to be indicative of a notoriously inadequate education, and at worst, a complete waste of time and money. Presumably not every online university is a diploma mill on par with the university of Phoenix (who have so far granted numerous doctorates to several complete idiots who I'm acquainted with), but it still is unlikely to be looked upon more favorably than even an average school that you actually attend.

SailorZorro
April 15th, 2015, 14:11
I have wondered about the legality and the morality of this myself. Not so much so that time spent on JET would "mean something" since if you can't spin this then you need classes in cv writing, not a master's, but because they are both something I'd like to do.
As far as having a degree from an online institution, that doesn't bother me as many people work full-time jobs in the U.S. while taking online classes from both brick and mortar universities and online only institutions. Also, as someone who works in higher education (and has several other family members who do As well) I can assure you that University of Phoenix is legitimate and not just a diploma mill more than any other college is (for profit or not). I don't work for them, but I've had professors who've gotten degrees from there. If you evaluate the people around you, you'll find that unfortunately there are plenty of idiots with varying degrees. Just like they have jobs they are probably unqualified for. Its a sad fact of life.

BifCarbet
April 15th, 2015, 14:20
If you evaluate the people around you, you'll find that unfortunately there are plenty of idiots with varying degrees. Just like they have jobs they are probably unqualified for. Its a sad fact of life.

So true. One of the dumbest, most awkward people I've ever met got a full academic scholarship to Harvard. I wouldn't trust him to park my car.

quis
April 16th, 2015, 19:43
Thanks for all of the responses!


Ugh, please don't do this. This black hole on your cv is anything but. Presuming that you're in your mid twenties, and probably fresh from undergraduate studies, people fully expect young people to take a few years to explore the world and their options in life. Some employers may be on to the easy ride that JET provides, but it's certainly not going to look like more of a job if you manage to complete a masters degree while you supposedly were teaching full time.

I've bitched about this here before, but participating in the rat race philosophy of not falling behind your peers is just as stupid and destructive as the work 100 hours a week and never talk to your family mentality that exists in japan. You're not going to be unemployable if you go back to your home country at 25 and with just the same undergraduate degree that you had before. That's still ridiculously young.


I'm old. It’s possible that I may be 30 years old or older when I return to Australia. The kinds of qualifications for the jobs I want in the future require a minimum of a Masters degree and fluency in two (usually three) languages. Basically, I’m an old bastard.


Now what you need to consider is this... if you go down this path you are committing to two years of education, as well as 2-3 years living in Japan. Everyone I know who has done distance education on JET has done it in years 2 and 3, after having... enjoyed? japan for a bit.

This is what I am planning on! Who knows, what if I hate JET and leave after the first year? Or maybe I love it so much that I don’t want to study any more.


While I don't know much about Online Australian Universities, I would be a little wary of doing your Grad studies online at all, period. Self-directed study with face-to-face mentoring time is completely different than an entirely online course.

I am usually pretty wary of online certifications too but the programs I am looking at are offered by two universities that are ranked in the top five universities for law in Australia. These are coursework degrees that usually have mandatory Skype sessions with coordinators.

I’ll be looking specifically into visa conditions and legislation over the weekend to see if I can find any more information.

Gizmotech
April 16th, 2015, 20:58
This is what I am planning on! Who knows, what if I hate JET and leave after the first year? Or maybe I love it so much that I don’t want to study any more.



[COLOR=#232323]I am usually pretty wary of online certifications too but the programs I am looking at are offered by two universities that are ranked in the top five universities for law in Australia. These are coursework degrees that usually have mandatory Skype sessions with coordinators.

this is a healthy way of looking at it. Remember that lots of people end up hating japan when they come over, for various reasons. Lots of people love japan and don't ever leave, yet again for various reasons. Making an inflexible plan around post grad studies via online learning in Japan is a bad idea at the outset. Do it once you get here

As for online education, in Australia/nz I wouldn't be worried about it. You guys have one of he strongest distance learning programs in the world and I have seen the type of coursework that is required by them second hand. If it wa the states I would be more... Apprehensive, but your system is pretty good.

As for visa issues, I have described them pretty clearly before. Your staying visa will have no effect on a distance education program. No special consideration required. If you want to attend in country then you will need either a student visa or.special consideration which will both be prohibited by your employment contract under their terms and conditions regarding secondary income/enterprise.

Also forum taboo... Just because you can use the font/color buttons doesn't mean you should. Damn that took a long time to edit your quote.

quis
April 16th, 2015, 22:16
I don't know how that happened! I didn't add any colours; it went mental when I tried to fix all of my quote boxes. Curse my need to cite things.

CUPS
April 18th, 2015, 10:52
Thanks for all of the responses!

I’ll be looking specifically into visa conditions and legislation over the weekend to see if I can find any more information.

Argh. There is no problem with doing an online distance course and being on Jet. None. Nada. Zilch. Save your time investigating visa conditions and legislation because there is nothing there. Seriously. It's fine. Do it.