This blog will mainly be about my experience with Interac(if everything goes well at least) but I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about my experience applying to JET as well. When you are looking at teaching English in Japan JET is pretty much your first stop. They are well known, funded by the government and they are pretty much the sweetest deal you could get when you make comparisons. These things tend to make JET the first choice and a few years ago when I was finishing my first degree it was certainly mine.
I was in my final year of my degree when I embarked upon applying for JET. I became aware of the program when they gave a presentation to my university’s anime club. You would think that wouldn’t be a big thing but that little presentation ended up shaping the next few years of my life. I had no idea what I wanted to do after university and the presentation allowed me to ask myself a very simple but important question. Would I like teaching? After thinking about it I decided I would and I made JET my goal for when I finished my degree.
The application process itself is a lengthy one. You start off by having to submit a lengthy online application as well as mailing off quite a bit of it to your country’s main JET office, at least that was the way it was when I applied. I remember the day I mailed off my application actually because it was November and it was freezing cold as I walked home from the Shopper’s where I’d mailed it off. Anyways, once it’s mailed off you are now into what makes up most of JET’s application process. Waiting. Lot’s and lots of waiting. Thankfully I was still busy with all of my courses at the time and so it was not as bad as it could have been. Eventually January will roll around and the obsessive email checking will begin. Having technology on us all the time is horrible when it comes to things like this because man do you actually check like all the time. At some point though you will receive that email and in my case it was a happy one, I’d made it to the interview stage. I received my email right before a class and I’m pretty sure I just sat there with a silly grin the whole damn time.
Once you have made it to the interview stage you have just under a month to prepare. In my case this meant studying possible questions like crazy and investing in a suit to wear for the interview. A fairly close friend of mine, who was a fellow teacher’s assistant for Japanese classes, had also managed to score an interview along with a friend of hers and so the weekend before our interviews we got together for a few hours to essentially grill ourselves on the interview questions. The one thing I never really put much time or thought into preparing for was the demo lesson part of the interview and it was that which I’m sure brought about my downfall in the end. That day of preparation was a really great experience though and if you are applying for JET then I would advise to find other people to get together and practice with because it really will help in the end. Practice with as many fellow JET hopefuls as you can before those interviews but once you or your friends have had your interview don’t talk about them until you are all done. Why? Well this is part of what happened to me. My friend had her interview the day before me. She had the same panel of people as I did(there were two or three different panels I believe) and she told us all about it. All of the questions, what she did for her demo lesson, all of it. When it came time for my interview this ended up screwing me over a little bit as all I could think of when it came to the demo lesson was what she had said and so I really did a terrible job. I remember being on the train home and thinking of all of these other, better things I could have done but hindsight is 20/20, yeah?
After the interview all there is is more, you guessed it, waiting. Sometime around early to mid April you will get your answer. There are three possibilities at this point: No, Shortlisted, and Alternate. I was put on the alternate list, as was my friend. If you are shortlisted then you are in, you are off to Japan come August. If you are on the wait list then you are only going if someone turns down JET. Some years a lot of alternates get upgraded to the shortlist, not my year. My friend was lucky enough to get upgraded fairly quickly but I never got that call.
That in a nutshell was my JET experience. I made it a lot farther than some do but I never quite got there. While JET is certainly something I would consider applying for again I am just not willing to wait so long for an answer. In comparison my experience with Interac so far has been nothing but speedy. If you managed to stick through this whole jumbled post than I commend you. I’m not all that good at organizing my thoughts sometimes but I’m trying.
Till Next Time!