JET application ( Step 1): Deciding to apply, or not to
If you have considered, or are considering, applying to the JET program then you have most likely considered the fact that it is a looooong application process (about 8-9 months). Followed of course by: Is it worth the wait? What will I be doing in almost a year from this point? Will I still be interested? Will I be qualified enough for the position? and everything else that pops up in your mind as you consider applying.
As I went through the same process this time last year, many of my friends that are considering applying have asked that I write about the steps, thoughts, experiences, and perceived vs reality of my JET application. This is broken into a few different posts as there is a lot that goes into the deciding to apply, filling out application itself, as well as everything that comes after.
First things first… Deciding to apply, or not to:
- It is such a long Application process, is it worth the wait?
This is a very difficult question and one that you will really need to consider. A good way to do this is to consider what you are doing at the moment. Are you a soon to be graduating college student? A recent grad in search of a job? Someone that is already working full-time? Each situation brings different circumstances, but most of the time you can see where you are now and consider “If I apply now, will there be any negative effects? (most of the time the answer is no) And what do I get out of it if I do get accepted?
For me, I have had an interest in Japanese language and culture for some years now, I minored in Japanese in college and studied abroad in the Kansai area for a semester. That gave me a decent idea as to what I would be getting myself into on the Japanese language and culture side. From there I considered the fact that I had a full-time job in the USA, and could certainly stay there if I wanted to, but it was not what I was hoping to do, so I could benefit from the experience of living/ working in Japan, improve my Japanese, make an impact on the students I teach, and fulfill my dream of working in Japan. So for me, this was a definite “YES, I can benefit.”
- What will I be doing in almost a year from this point? Will I still be interested?
This is something that I struggled with a lot while deciding to apply. I was considering when I would be able to see my family and my friends? What about a significant other? I had just been offered dates to interview at other job locations, but those positions would take a few months to pan out, so would it even be worth the trouble of applying?
It is impossible to know what will happen in the future. You shouldn`t overly stress about that unknown, so I went with more of a “why not?” strategy here, as it never hurts to have multiple options. If it doesn`t work out, then you have option two or three. If it does, then that`s fantastic.
- Will I be qualified enough for the position? Japanese level for ALT, Japanese level for CIR? Do I need to be an English teacher? English Major? Linguistics expert?
You do not need to be an English teacher, fluent in Japanese, or a linguistics expert. But it would definitely help.
If you are applying for the ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) position, no Japanese language experience is necessary, but I would strongly recommend you be at least willing to put in serious time while here, as it will make a major difference in your daily life.
If you are applying for the CIR (Coordinator of International Relations) position, you need to be advanced in Japanese. Typically that means that you can, or have passed the JLPT N2 level exam (or the equivalent).
The JET Program(me) chooses from a wide range of applicants. I know of people who were accepted with me that have no teaching experience, and no Japanese language ability, but they were genuinely interested in teaching, assisting students, studying Japanese, and just enjoying life in another country.
In the end, If you are considering it, and think that you would enjoy a year plus of working in Japan assisting in teaching English as a foreign language, then I would recommend you apply. If there was something that you could not handle (culture, sometimes isolation, food restrictions, etc.) I would think long and hard about the decision as you could knock someone else out that really wants to go.
I will continue to post about each step as the days go on. As always, if I miss anything or if you have specific questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section below!
As a side note for those of you awesome peeps that decide to apply:
- Application deadlines are stressful and making time can be difficult. This year`s [2015 -2016] initial deadline for the online application is November 13, 2015. So if you are reading this relatively close to the post date, you should still have plenty of time, but you should start now. Here is the USA site (if you`re from another country, click this link in order to find your specific website and application information.
- Make sure you take a professional and clear passport photo and make 20 or so copies as you will be using it again and again! (Especially if you damage one, two…or half of them on the way to your interview during a torrential downpour…)
- Make sure you really like that picture!
Posted on September 25, 2015, in JET Program(me) and tagged 1, 2014, 2015, 2016, ALT, application, Assistant Language Teacher, CIR, college, Decide, english, Fukushima, goal, Japan, JET, JET program, programme, step 1. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.