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Thread: Intro and JET questions

  1. #1
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    Default Intro and JET questions

    Hey everyone, I am new to the forum and was searching around for info on the JET program from current and former JET's. I was planning on applying for 2013 and was looking to get some advice on things to get set up in the meantime.
    Just some background, I have my degree, 30 yrs old and have been working full time for the last 7 yrs. (same job). Suffice to say I am burnt out. I want a change in my life now and I am finally financially stable enough to make it. I have been looking into teaching English in Japan since 2003 and had a job offer back then but due to a family illness had to pass it up.

    Anyways the reason I am posting this is to get an idea of what the job really entails and to hear some feedback on whether JET is worth it over the eikaiwa "schools" like Aeon, Berlitz, etc. I know JET pays the best and from what I see is the best option other than being placed in a rural area.
    I don't really care where I'm placed, I have been to Japan once before, and have traveled a bit. I know basic Japanese and trying to learn more so I don't go completely unprepared.
    I saw some posts from a couple of members that seemed like they hated their JET experience and wanted to hear why. I am just looking for non-biased, honest opinions from the people here.
    Also just curious if anyone stayed in Japan after they had finished the JET program with a permanent or different job (and how likely is it to do that).

    Forgot to ask, when you do the application for JET do you submit a resume with the application or is your work experience included in the application?

    Any advice that can be given is appreciated. Thanks everyone.
    Last edited by cerealzer0; October 26th, 2011 at 16:35.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    Go for it, nothing's stopping you. The only thing I would see a problem is that JET's a temporary thing. With your age and work history, how would you explain leaving a stable career for a temporary job? JET is not a career change, more like an interim to explore Japan and teach children that America isn't all about hamburgers and Beyonce and then come back to America to teach them that Japan isn't all about sushi and Pikachus.

    Choosing between an Eikaiwa and JET/Dispatch is all a matter of preference. Do you prefer working in a "Sylvan Learning Center" type of setting or do you want to work with children?

    As for the application. It's a beast. If you go to the official site you can look up what documents are required for the application. In short though, you don't submit a resume with your application. You have an Statement of Purpose essay to showcase your relevant skills and a section to list your work history.
    Last edited by Merkypie; October 26th, 2011 at 17:28.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eudox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merkypie View Post
    Japan isn't all about sushi and Pikachus.
    Lies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merkypie View Post
    Go for it, nothing's stopping you. The only thing I would see a problem is that JET's a temporary thing. With your age and work history, how would you explain leaving a stable career for a temporary job? JET is not a career change, more like an interim to explore Japan and teach children that America isn't all about hamburgers and Beyonce and then come back to America to teach them that Japan isn't all about sushi and Pikachus.
    Well without going into everything my current job takes a high stress on the body and I got injured recently so I wanted to change careers. I double majored and my second major was public relations so I wanted to broaden my experiences with the JET program and translate that into international relations (to help find another job later). I really like Japan and if the school I was at was cool then I would consider extending my stay but I understand its only temporary (unless I worked for someone else in Japan).

    Also though I may be 30, but I still get carded and people usually think I am 23 (baby face). I have read that age is sometimes an issue. Does anyone else here think that's true?
    Last edited by cerealzer0; October 26th, 2011 at 17:51.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merkypie View Post
    Japan isn't all about sushi and Pikachus.
    I had pikachu sashimi yesterday, liar!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    But what if we reverse the polarity of the quantum string theory? According to uncertainty principle there are infinite worlds out there, so it stands to reason schrodinger's cat is alive in one of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo87;
    U da real mvp.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Froren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    I'm almost 30 and it was never addressed.
    That's the best thing I ever saw!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    I had pikachu sashimi yesterday, liar!
    Quote Originally Posted by Eudox View Post
    Lies.



    Quote Originally Posted by cerealzer0 View Post
    Well without going into everything my current job takes a high stress on the body and I got injured recently so I wanted to change careers. I double majored and my second major was public relations so I wanted to broaden my experiences with the JET program and translate that into international relations (to help find another job later). I really like Japan and if the school I was at was cool then I would consider extending my stay but I understand its only temporary (unless I worked for someone else in Japan).

    If you want to make ALT a career, I probably would avoid telling JET that on the application. JET is not a career. Maybe twist it around to be like I want to go to Japan to experience something new and bring it back so I can spread the love to all my American friends.

    Then go back to Japan and find an awesome teaching gig somewhere else.

    There are dispatch ALT companies out there that don't have a cap on employment but they pay less and the conditions are less than attractive compared to JET. You only get 5 years on JET.

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    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    Merkypie: Ya I don't want an ALT career (at least I think I don't), like I said, the JET program would be a great opportunity to get some international experience that I could use for my marketing/public relations resume. Cause let's face it, if JET wants me to smile, kiss babies and be a tape recorder (as I have been reading), that's exactly what good public relations is.

    Froren: Thanks for posting that, makes me feel better about my chances about old people get in.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    Well, cerealzer0, definitely go for it. You have the qualifications, all you need to do is just fill out that app. Go for it

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merkypie View Post
    Japan isn't all about sushi and Pikachus.
    And yet... the Pikachu roll at Sekisui is delicious.

    Back to the topic at hand... I would advise you to go for it too. You can always keep your current job while you apply. If you don't make it, all it will cost you is blood, sweat, and tears. And whatever UPS charges to mail that hefty packet...

    On a related note, a JET friend of mine advised me to NOT talk about wanting to return to the US and teach but rather to make my SOP all about Japan. Thoughts?
    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    Since when does awareness of surrounding make an ALT better? Chances are if they didn't have a clue and got lost in the forest and eaten by bears on the way to work, the school would be better off and the ALT would in turn be a better ALT.

  11. #11
    Does not approve HeartNana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerealzer0 View Post
    I saw some posts from a couple of members that seemed like they hated their JET experience and wanted to hear why. I am just looking for non-biased, honest opinions from the people here.
    Those are the people who either had a bad school/crappy teacher that made their life suck, crappy board of education combined with a crappy placement or something.
    OR
    They were someone who would have hated it no matter where they went unless they were in downtown tokyo or something.

    So it doesn't always have to do with "The JET program" but rather "that specific placement sucks".

  12. #12

    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    I say why wait for next year apply this year, if you don't get it you have the added experience for next year and the bonus of showing them that you really want it enough to apply again.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by RomulusLupin View Post
    I think your friend is wrong. JET is about cultural ambassadors on both sides; ideally, they want to invest in candidates who are going to take their Japan experiences and do something with them in their home countries (or wherever they go next).

    This is only partially true. The JET Program is run by several different ministries who each have different goals for the program. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants everyone to come to Japan for a few years, absorb the culture and then return home and spread their love/knowledge of Japan. However, The ministry of education (MEXT) doesn't care about that. They would love for you to come to Japan, become a great English teacher and spend as long as possible raising the standard of English education. So yes, some elements in CLAIR don't want you sticking around after JET, but I think others would love to have exerienced teachers stay in Japan.

    But talking about your plans after JET before you even get in seems silly. There are plenty of people who sign up for JET with intentions of spending their entire life in Japan and who leave after one or two years, and there are others who do JET as just a way to spend some time aboard before they 'settle down' and end up spending decades here. JET and Japan are unpredicable and formative and the best attitude is to leave yourself open to any possibility after JET, in my opinion.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    I don't think it matters if you stay in Japan forever and ever or not. Once you're in Japan, you're in Japan and you can do whatever you want.

    I think for application purposes it does matter, especially since they ask two times about what your goals are gonna be after your stint in JET is over. They emphasize exchange so much throughout the application it would seem stupid to talk about what you're going to do once you get to Japan and how you'll never gonna leave.
    Last edited by Merkypie; October 28th, 2011 at 21:29. Reason: that last comment was a tad bit too mean :V

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theory View Post
    But talking about your plans after JET before you even get in seems silly. There are plenty of people who sign up for JET with intentions of spending their entire life in Japan and who leave after one or two years, and there are others who do JET as just a way to spend some time aboard before they 'settle down' and end up spending decades here. JET and Japan are unpredicable and formative and the best attitude is to leave yourself open to any possibility after JET, in my opinion.
    No it's not silly at all. If you have an idea of where you want to head in life then mention it. If anything it shows that you have thought about your future and have a direction in your life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murasaki Ookami View Post
    I say why wait for next year apply this year, if you don't get it you have the added experience for next year and the bonus of showing them that you really want it enough to apply again.
    I would love to apply this year but I am in the army national guard and got injured while I was in Afghanistan so I have to wait to find out if I will be medically discharged or wait till my contract is up. I am hoping to have everything all set for the 2013 application, worst case scenario I have to wait till 2015 when my contract ends.
    If I do have to stay in the US till 2015 then I will get my MBA or a masters in something and still do the JET program for international experience after. Either way I am stuck here for a little.

    Also I just wanted to say thanks to everyone, you guys have been a great source of info and help. Some of the forums you see online are filled with @$$holes and trolls that don't want to help anyone.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    Most of us have had questions. Some of us still do. I know I still have a sh*tload. Even the veterans were probably a nervous wreck at one point. Each of us has been glad for the advice given to us in times of need. We try to give back if we can. Hopefully I will make it in this year and be able to offer something of more substance.
    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    Since when does awareness of surrounding make an ALT better? Chances are if they didn't have a clue and got lost in the forest and eaten by bears on the way to work, the school would be better off and the ALT would in turn be a better ALT.

  18. #18
    Senior Member asilverthread's Avatar
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    Default Re: Intro and JET questions

    When will you know if you'll be discharged? And if so when will you be discharged?

    It never hurts to apply and then back out. As long as back out before you are given a placement if shortlisted, it won't hurt when reapplying next year. Granted you can always contact the consulates if you really need more information.

    It seems like a shame to wait a year, or in some cases wait several. I've known others in similar situations. It can be pain to wait while everything gets sorted out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asilverthread View Post
    When will you know if you'll be discharged? And if so when will you be discharged?
    I don't really have any idea, it usually takes a year or so to get medically discharged from an active duty injury. I still have to go to treatment and all the rest the stuff before they consider it. Then once they re-evaluate me they make the decision so it could be a long time (as in far into the 2012 almost 2013 year).

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