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Thread: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

  1. #21
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    From my point of view:

    Yes, they are "mandatory". I put it in quotations because the mafia is not going to show up at your doorstep and force you to go, but we do require it. Is there a lot of stuff that we talk about that is ridiculous? I am sure there is, but CLAIR requires us to instruct all departing JETs on certain topics so that when they arrive in Japan they cannot say "Oh I didn't know that!"

    I know most people don't remember everything that is said, but believe me that we coordinators put forth effort in trying to make these as instructive as possible without having them be too boring. Think about anything you have planned in your life for other people and they decide not to show up because they don't feel like it. It sucks. Gizmo is correct that if there is some reason you cannot make it, then you need to tell your coordinator as soon as possible. Do not wait till the last minute to let them know, that is unprofessional and disrespectful if you knew ahead of time.

    The PDOs are usually in the departure city the day before you travel to Japan, so travel costs are going to be the same, especially since flights from the US to Japan (I am unsure about flights from the UK and Au and Nz) leave in the morning.

    Please try to make it to the PDO if you can.

    That being said, if you are in Korea, eventually you are going to have to go to Guam anyway to process your visa before you get to Japan. Make sure to straighten that out with the coordinator there.

    P.S. If anyone has ideas about how they think PDOs can be better, please PM Me. (Dont clutter this thread with it, thx).

  2. #22
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    The PDO out of Vancouver was awesome. It was held at the Japanese consulate, we sat through a few nice speeches and then were given free booze and a nice lunch while we chatted with new and former JET's. How anyone could complain about that, I do not know.

  3. #23

    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    I kinda figured there'd be a few sleep-inducing talks during the orientation, haha. But still, I'm quite looking forward to it. Thanks for all the input, guys, I might give the embassy a ring tomorrow if I can fit it in around work.

  4. #24

    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    The biggest thing for it being mandatory, is that they give you your passport back at PDO on the day you leave/day before you leave.

  5. #25
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    The biggest thing for it being mandatory, is that they give you your passport back at PDO on the day you leave/day before you leave.
    Correct. Coordinators in the States at least, will return your passports and yakkan shomei either at the PDO or at the airport. In Miami, I hand out the insurance handbooks at the PDO, and the actual passports bright in early in the morning on Saturday.

    Most other coordinators do not go to the airport though, so they will hand back your documents at the PDO.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    For those already living in Japan who are NOT on a tourist visa you can have your visa changed while in country. My wife is doing that this year and has just finished working out the details with our PA.

    It sounds like she is going to skip the predeparture orientation but has been in contact with our coordinator to make it happen.

  7. #27
    Senior Member par92186's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by miamicoordinator View Post
    From my point of view:

    if there is some reason you cannot make it, then you need to tell your coordinator as soon as possible. Do not wait till the last minute to let them know, that is unprofessional and disrespectful if you knew ahead of time.
    Please try to make it to the PDO if you can.

    That being said, if you are in Korea, eventually you are going to have to go to Guam anyway to process your visa before you get to Japan. Make sure to straighten that out with the coordinator there.
    Thanks for the information MC! I am definitely not trying to skip the PDO, but strict finances and my current teaching schedule/contract obligations in Korea really prohibit me leaving during my contract period. My current Coordinator in Guam is on vacation, so I am going to definitely reach out to him asap to sort this issue out. I don't want to give an unprofessional impression, but again my teaching contract in Korea really prohibits me any ability to exit Korea during contracted teaching days.

    MC, do you know if it is possible to have my visa processed via mail? I was able to do that with my Korean visa before I came.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by par92186; May 22nd, 2014 at 10:44.
    Quote Originally Posted by BeckyJones
    you will soon learn... Imagine the worst people you knew in college. Now imagine them trying to continue their college life in another country, constantly talking shit about each other and their foreign country like it is shit... only to be the shittiest of the bunch.

    now imagine the people who don't fit into that, and are actually shittier.... that is ITIL.

  8. #28
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by par92186 View Post
    Thanks for the information MC! I am definitely not trying to skip the PDO, but strict finances and my current teaching schedule/contract obligations in Korea really prohibit me leaving during my contract period. My current Coordinator in Guam is on vacation, so I am going to definitely reach out to him asap to sort this issue out. I don't want to give an unprofessional impression, but again my teaching contract in Korea really prohibits me any ability to exit Korea during contracted teaching days.

    MC, do you know if it is possible to have my visa processed via mail? I was able to do that with my Korean visa before I came.
    Thanks!
    I will PM you the answer.

  9. #29
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    In Ottawa we were given back our passports the day before the flight at the embassy departure reception.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
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    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  10. #30
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    In my day you handed in your passport at PDO and you got it back at the airport the day you left.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  11. #31
    Senior Member par92186's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    In my day you handed in your passport at PDO and you got it back at the airport the day you left.
    For your PDO was it a day or two before the flight to Tokyo OT? I still don't have the dates for my PDO yet, but read over the online handbook and the PDO usually takes place a day or two before the new ALTs fly to Tokyo. Anyone have experience with this?
    Quote Originally Posted by BeckyJones
    you will soon learn... Imagine the worst people you knew in college. Now imagine them trying to continue their college life in another country, constantly talking shit about each other and their foreign country like it is shit... only to be the shittiest of the bunch.

    now imagine the people who don't fit into that, and are actually shittier.... that is ITIL.

  12. #32
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    My PDO was about 3 weeks before we flew
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  13. #33

    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by par92186 View Post
    For your PDO was it a day or two before the flight to Tokyo OT? I still don't have the dates for my PDO yet, but read over the online handbook and the PDO usually takes place a day or two before the new ALTs fly to Tokyo. Anyone have experience with this?
    My PDO was the day before and the morning before the flight out. It was held in a hotel next to the airport. I schedule went - drive to hotel in the morning, wait to check in with orientation, after orientation go to fancy JET dinner. Then go to AJET/JETAA afterparty down the road. Then return to hotel. There were two speeches (one from a former JET writer and some other dude) and then question time for the people still freaking out about OMFGIMMOVINGOVERSEAS / MUKADEWILLEATMEINMYSLEEP / ILLGETRADIATIONPOISONINGFROMLIVINGINKYUSHU.... Other than that is was just talking about TO itinerary and how they wouldn't save your ass if you have a mental breakdown in the first 48 hours in Japan/get arrested etc... Everything was paid for (hotel, crappy lunch, fancy dinner and even the 'afterparty'. AFAIK, at least one person did not show up for PDO (or even the airport) and a couple of people were VERY late.

    Sleep, wake up, shower, and dress for the flight and check out, pick up passport from coordinator. Take bus (5 minutes) to airport, stand in line for 1.5 hours to check in. Head to gate, board plane and fly to Narita. Go through immigration/customs. Send luggage ahead (you will want to do this with ALL your larger suitcases - only take one to orientation), board bus to Keio Plaza. Then sign in and get room assignment 3 strangers in a two single bed room (par for the course of business travel.) Go out shopping. Attend all mandatory TO events and a few workshops during the day, in the evening do whatever I felt like (went shopping etc.) Meet with CIR/Prefectural Supervisor and got on the train north.

  14. #34

    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    I just received an e-mail about a 'Pre-departure Seminar' that is happening in the middle of June. It is at the University and not the embassy. Is this the same thing as the PDO? It seems rather early to do it and does not mention anything about bringing our passports.

  15. #35
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coolmanio View Post
    I just received an e-mail about a 'Pre-departure Seminar' that is happening in the middle of June. It is at the University and not the embassy. Is this the same thing as the PDO? It seems rather early to do it and does not mention anything about bringing our passports.
    In June, we hold Q&A sessions, which are called seminars, or Alumni-led orientations in bigger consulates. Its just a meet and greet to discuss important things like packing, money, and meet your fellow participants. This is not the same as the Pre-Departure Orientation which happens the day before you leave.

  16. #36

    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by miamicoordinator View Post
    In June, we hold Q&A sessions, which are called seminars, or Alumni-led orientations in bigger consulates. Its just a meet and greet to discuss important things like packing, money, and meet your fellow participants. This is not the same as the Pre-Departure Orientation which happens the day before you leave.
    Ah, this makes sense. So I assume these are not mandatory?

    And to those who have been to them, are they worth attending?

  17. #37
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coolmanio View Post
    Ah, this makes sense. So I assume these are not mandatory?

    And to those who have been to them, are they worth attending?
    Mine is not mandatory (but I highly encourage it!) If you are interested in meeting the JETs from your area, or Consulate, then by all means, go and have a good time. It is normally more relaxed than the formal PDO.
    Whether or not it is worth it would depend on how much you enjoy interaction with other people. I know some prefer to be to themselves, and have no interest in getting to know anyone departing from the same city. If you would like to get to know some people before the PDO, then it is a good opportunity.

    Some of the JETs I sent last year became good friends through these events and still see each other frequently in Japan.

    There are many people who do not know about ITIL and do not get a chance to see all the threads about packing, and what to bring and not bring, so this is a good opportunity for those to get that information.

  18. #38

    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coolmanio View Post
    Ah, this makes sense. So I assume these are not mandatory?

    And to those who have been to them, are they worth attending?
    Went to mine - got ZERO information I didn't already know, but I'd lived in Japan for 9 months before that. We also went to a 'Japanese' restaurant afterwards, which was pretty meh (they lost the group reservation and the next open table was at least 2 hours away.) If you have questions, go - someone will give you an answer, it might be wrong, but ESID...

  19. #39
    Senior Member kenkennif's Avatar
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    Default Re: So, what's the deal with pre-departure orientation?

    Someone mentioned something above about needing to 'sort out accommodation' and I didn't see any reply on that for them - The London Orientation my year we had it at Uxbridge University campus and we were put up for free in the student halls. I'd never ridden the tube so far in my life before though and it was a right pain in the arse getting there.

    It was quite good to go though because it made it feel like the whole experience was actually really and actually happening to me for the first time - it was also a good chance to form a group of friends for Tokyo orientation so you could go out and enjoy a bit of the city with people you kind of already knew before hand - I also met some people from my prefecture which was great and we all went out to the pub together to get to know each other.

    Might be a bit of a hassle but it's not all that bad.
    Last edited by kenkennif; May 23rd, 2014 at 12:32.

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