Life on JET

JET Program Application: My One Piece of Advice

Are the 2016-2017 JET Program USA applications really due in less than a month already?!

That snuck up quickly. It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was pouring every ounce of myself into that application, agonizing over my statement of purpose.

All the stress and anxiety was worth it though, because I made it!

When I first started this blog, I promised I wouldn’t turn it into a JET info blog. There are plenty of amazing writers out there in the blogosphere who do a fine job of that already.

But I will say this…

If you’re thinking of applying, just do it. Don’t be too intimidated. Honestly, I almost didn’t apply because I had nothing to show on my transcripts for why I wanted to go to Japan. I never studied Japanese language or culture in school. I didn’t study abroad in Japan, or anywhere else actually. I was already teaching, but I could do that in any foreign country. The “why Japan?” question wrecked me for weeks. But I wanted to change my setting entirely. I wanted to be out of my comfort zone and living some place entirely new.

I remember staring at the part of the application where it asked if I studied Japanese, and I kept having to check None for every part. I remember thinking, what the hell am I doing applying for a position to teach in Japan of all places? I was so hard on myself. Too hard on myself.

I put everything I had into my statement of purpose, proverbially giving my heart to the Japanese Embassy in DC. I guess my passion and enthusiasm for being an ALT convinced them because I was invited for an interview in Boston.

At the end of my interview, one of the panelists asked me the dreaded question, “do you speak Japanese?” I said that I didn`t. She responded, “It`s okay that you don`t. But if you said that you did, I would have given you a test.”


So my one piece of advice is just be your true self. “To thine own self be true,”  as Polonius would say. But don`t take his advice because he was a total phony in Hamlet.

I digress.

U.S. Applicants, the deadline for the 2016 JET Program is November 13th. Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions. :)

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