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Thread: SoP orgy?

  1. #401
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    Hey all...

    I'm in Perth, WA and recently recieved my interview letter

    Here's the SoP that got me an interview, for those of you who may be interested.





    If successful in my application for an ALT position on the JET Program, it will be the second time I live in Japan, and will be an excellent opportunity to further the relationship I am developing with the Japanese people, culture and language. Since first hearing of the Jet program from the Japanese teacher at high school, I have known that it is something I want to be a part of. My year spent in Japan at Himeji Dokkyo University has only strengthened this desire.

    My goals, which I will outline below, are threefold; professional, academic, and personal. However, the qualities I bring to the program are abundant. Having already spent time in Japan, I am accustomed to the culture and people, and combined with my Japanese language abilities, this means I will have minimal trouble dealing with day-to-day life as an ALT. Further, having already spent a short while teaching English to children in Japan (please see application form), I can honestly say that it is something which I enjoy immensely. I love working with children, and a teaching role allows me to interact with them on a far deeper and more rewarding level than would be possible in any other career. This enthusiasm, combined with my passion for the English language, makes me perfectly suited to an ALT position. Having studied Japanese as a second language, I know the difficulties and frustrations faced by students, and with my patient nature I will be able to reassure students and motivate them to persevere. Also, my healthy sense of humour will no doubt be an asset. I am a very personable, approachable person and this will be highly advantageous in a classroom setting. I enjoyed my short time working alongside Japanese colleagues teaching English, and I am keen to work in a Japanese school environment.

    In terms of my professional goals, upon finishing my time on the Jet Program, I intend to return to Australia and study for a graduate diploma of education, aiming to teach Japanese in High schools. Teaching experience gained, as well as the opportunity to further study the Japanese language and culture, will help me to develop myself as a language teacher. Further, contacts and acquaintances made through the Jet program may be used at a later date to establish relationships between Japanese and Australian schools, perhaps something as small as penpals for students, or maybe a full student exchange program. Further, I have requested to be placed in Sayama City if at all possible. My former high school, Carey Baptist College, has an exchange relationship with Sayama High School (I can obtain the full Japanese name and address upon request), and if the opportunity to be placed at the school was available, it would be a fantastic chance to strengthen ties between the two schools. I do realise, however, how small the chances being placed at a specific school actually are.

    Academically, I look forward to the opportunity to be immersed in the Japanese language. I intend to sit the Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 2, and should I be able to extend my contract for a second or third year, I hope to sit level 1.

    On a personal level, I love Japan, its culture, language and people. I have many friends in Japan, specifically Osaka, and have requested to be placed near them. Should I not be placed near them, however, the opportunity to live in a new part of Japan means the opportunity to make more friends. Also, I speak a little Osaka-ben, so I would love the opportunity to continue learning and practicing it. My main personal reason for requesting placement in Sayama however is to be near my fiancé and partner of two and a half years. Obviously, I hope my being chosen as an ALT will allow me to be close to my fiancé, but it should not be thought that it is the main, or sole reason for my applying- I have wanted to participate in the Jet program for many years, before I even met my fiancé.

    Also, I hope to travel while in Japan- at opposite ends of Japan, both Okinawa and Hokkaido are places I would love to visit. I also intend to join a kendo or jujutsu club if possible. Despite living on a small scholarship, my year in Japan as a student was one of the best experiences of my life, so I can only imagine how much I would enjoy living in Japan on a decent salary. What's more, I gained a great deal from my exchange studies in Japan, and the ALT position will allow me to give something back to Japan.

    In closing, I bring enthusiasm, passion, patience and understanding to the ALT position, and in return I ask only for that which is already an integral part of the job: the chance to live in Japan, and the chance to fulfil my potential professionally, academically, and personally.

  2. #402
    Member Milkman_Dan's Avatar
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    Well, its safe to assume that it was your prior teaching experience that got you the interview. Sweet Jesus, that first paragraph alone is causing me to bleed from my eyes.

  3. #403
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    Bleed... from your eyes... you say? :?

  4. #404
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    I dunno much about essay writing in all honest, I'm not an expert per se. However I would say you don't want to start an essay with "if".
    Quote Originally Posted by tenderRondo View Post
    I always wanted to play black flag football, but there were never enough minorities.

  5. #405
    Doesn't do O-ramas
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    Here's a rough draft of the crap I put together in 30 minutes (actual submission was cleaned up a little):

    With deep affinities for both Japanese culture as well as teaching, I feel that a position teaching in Japan would be an ideal opportunity to excel professionally as well as personally. Always interested in this post-graduate path, I decided during the summer of 2007 to take a trip to Japan to determine if Japan would be a proper fit. I opted to travel for five weeks to allot for the novelty of being in a foreign country to wear off to allow me to see Japan in a pragmatic, everyday way. In addition I traveled unguided to see if I could traverse the country alone with only my Japanese ability. By the end of five weeks I had determined that my independence had proven sufficient and that Japan would be an excellent fit for me.

    Having a long-standing interest in traditional Japanese culture, I also have completed coursework in addition to my engineering work; this coursework is inclusive of Japanese language, theater, literature/poetry, and geisha. I also have a great interest in Japanese gardens and as such I have volunteered at a local garden for two years, elaborating to guests various aspects of traditional garden design. The garden also has a teahouse, and I often led guests on tours of the teahouse explaining the hallowed art form of tea ceremony. I hope to parlay my cultural interests and accomplishments into an advanced degree in Japanese studies in the future, and I feel that relevant work experience in Japan teaching English would be an excellent complement to my success and growth.

    Interested in pursuing this career path, I also felt it would be prudent to gain teaching experience. Normally a graduate student position, I and select few other undergraduates were offered positions teaching general chemistry labs via personal recommendation to the head T/A from chemistry faculty. I taught two semesters and found that based on the growth and development I witnessed in my students, I really enjoyed teaching; often I was more excited to teach general chemistry lab than work in my own lab. Based on the letters of commendation I received both semesters from the head teaching assistant it seems my students also thoroughly enjoyed having me as an instructor. My teaching philosophy was simple-facilitate an environment in which every student feels welcome and comfortable. I believe that only when a student is comfortable will they ask questions, and only when they ask questions will they really learn things they otherwise may not. Therefore by making the students comfortable, they were more prone to ask me questions not only about the experiment or chemical concepts at hand, but also about other areas of chemistry they were curious about.

    I find that teaching in Japan would not only be an excellent avenue for me to improve and refine my teaching techniques, but would also facilitate further opportunity to pursue cultural interests; I would aspire to improve my Japanese ability through additional coursework when not teaching, and possibly pursue additional cultural interests or perhaps volunteer work. I think that with teaching experience and having traveled independently in Japan I am well prepared to embark on a challenging new career doing what I love-teaching students in a country where technology, rich culture, and deep tradition coexist peacefully. Thank you very much for your consideration.

    yay or nay

  6. #406
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    since i just found out i'm in for the interview, i started thinking about it and reread my SOP, felt pretty happy about it and thought i'd post it here. thoughts?

    only thing i'm not happy with is a single typo near the end, where there is no space between two words, plus a few long sentences i could have made more clear. but i'm posting here the exact thing i sent in, including those things.

    * * *

    Statement of Purpose

    When I was fifteen, I found a few haiku by Matsuo Basho in my world literature textbook. I was immediately struck by his eye for unique images, and set out to find out more. As soon as I learned about Basho’s travel journal, Oku no Hosomichi, I asked for a copy for Christmas and devoured it. Basho’s Japan was the first Japan I knew; and after a few years I set out on my own journey, rather like his, to see it for myself. Japan has been so good to me that I have continued my journey here well beyond my original study abroad plans, and now I hope to keep on going with the JET Program.

    Working as a CIR in Japan would most importantly be a way for me to pay back the warm welcome I received when I came to this country. People in the town of Hirakata did lovely things for one bewildered new study abroad student: jumped out of cars in the rain to offer me umbrellas, walked ten minutes out of their own way to show me mine when I was lost, gave me phone cards when they saw me trying to use a public phone. When I arrived in Japan, I knew nothing about it beyond English versions of its literature—but I wouldn’t trade those first astonished days for anything, because they showed me the best of human nature. No job could make me happier than one where I would have the chance to pay back the kindnesses I received at that time.

    During my second semester of study abroad, my life in Japan became more serious. No sooner had I learned enough Japanese to start reading the original texts of the works I had long loved than I realized I wanted to spend my life translating them. At that point I knew I was just beginning the process of getting to know Japan. Understanding the voice of the country’s literature and culture would mean meeting many, many of its people and listening to their voices.

    Since I have returned to Japan after graduation, working as a teacher of all ages and meeting people from all walks of life, I have been doing just that. With some of my students who are interested in making a friend as well as learning English, I have developed very personal connections that have become precious to me. And not only at work but also around my small town, I have made friends of many, many kinds this year,
    and each one makes my world bigger. The conversations I’ve had with so many people—whether my students, or the sagely tipsy grandmas at my local okonomiyaki place; or my street musician friends whom I met at the local train station…or people I have met in restaurants, bars, and ryokans all over western Japan while traveling with my best friend, whom I originally met at my home station—these conversations are by far the most important thing I can bring to the JET program. Nothing I can put on paper compares.

    I came to Japan with few preconceived notions; Basho said, “To know the pine, go to the pine,” and I went to Japan to know Japan. I believe my readiness for whatever and whoever I would meet has come across to the people I have met, and this has helped me to forge many strongand warm connections in the towns I have lived in. I trust I could continue to do the same as a CIR, and I ask for the chance to do so. Intercultural understanding would not only be my professional goal but my own personal goal, the way I try to live my life, the journey I am on.

  7. #407
    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    I think my SOP was pretty weak, and broke just about every rule this site recommends. I mention both manga and my poor dead grandfather who oh so loved the Japanese. Here it is. Enjoy.


    Growing up in a small town in Idaho, I had very little exposure to other races or culture. In an area that was 98% Caucasian, I was never able to directly interact with different cultures other than my own. Instead, I learned about such difference from my family. My mother’s family has enjoyed a unique relationship with Japan and the Japanese people. This relationship helped shape my views of cultural relationships.
    My grandfather was a veteran of World War II, having fought in the Pacific. Hearing the horror stories of his experiences painted the Japanese people in a harsh light. However his neighbor and close friend in Washington, Dr. Hiroshi Furukawa, was Japanese. Dr. Furukawa and his brothers had also fought during World War II. They were fighting in Europe while their family was put into a camp and their possessions were seized. Hearing the man who had nightmares about the war rage against the mistreatment of Japanese-Americans during the war was very confusing. Thus my interest in Japan began at a very young age.

    As an adult I am still fascinated by the Japanese people and their unique traditions. Working in a comic book shop, I sometimes stare at the wall of comics and see the differences in cultures in mundane things like comics. The American comics on the left stand dark and harsh, while the Japanese manga on the right are brightly colored and inviting. As is required by my work, I read everything that comes into the shop. While I enjoy reading everything, I can not help but be fascinated by the cultural differences presented by a common form of media. Seeing these differences every day has furthered my desire to explore the Japanese culture even more.
    I wish to join the JET Program in order to be immersed in Japanese culture. In my previous study abroad experiences I was always surrounded by the people from the group. For example, when studying abroad in Nagasaki, I lived in a dorm with American and Korean students, had classes with only Americans, and shared extracurricular activities with other American students. While we had the opportunity to meet and become friends with many Japanese people, it was not truly an immersion experience. I wish to participate in a regular Japanese classroom.

    I received my B.A. in international studies with an emphasis in Japanese relations. In getting this degree I had to study Japan in depth including history, literature, language, and society. However there are many things that simply can not be learned from books. In addition to my experience with Japan, I have spent some time as a teacher’s assistant as well. My duties as a graduate teaching assistant tend to run towards grading papers rater then conducting lessons, but I am in almost constant contact with the students, answering questions and helping them understand the class materials. I am also a very energetic person which I think would aid me as an ALT.
    My goals in applying for JET are to further my understanding of the Japanese culture as well as my teaching abilities. Because I hope to have a career in teaching the JET experience could greatly help me achieve my goal.

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