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JET Programme

04/28/04

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The JET Programme has got to be the best and easiest way to really live and work in Japan.  It is a federal government sponsored programme with the aims of putting foreigners in the rural areas of Japan.  Before the JET Programme, almost all foreigners who moved to Japan to teach English would end up in Tokyo, Osaka or other large cities.  I have teachers who can remember the first time that they saw a foreigner.  One of my teachers was 15 when he first saw a foreigner!  And he's only about 35 years old.

The JET Programme stands for Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.  It is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Management, and CLAIR, the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations.


"The JET Programme was started with the purpose of increasing mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the people of other nations. It aims to promote internationalisation in Japan's local communities by helping to improve foreign language education and developing international exchange at the community level."  - http://www.jetprogramme.org/

As such, there are really three parts to the job of being a JET.  The first is just to be in Japan.  By just living here, walking around, being seen, doing things like judo, or travelling in Japan we are exposing Japanese people to other/foreign people as well as exposing ourselves to Japanese culture.  Hopefully by us being here, we can both see that we're all pretty much the same.

The second part of the job is to enjoy your time here.  I think by doing all the things required in part one is enough to enjoy your stay here.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants all of us to love Japan, stay here for one to three years, then move back home and tell everyone about how wonderful Japan is.

The third part of our job is to teach English.  However, unlike other programmes, we aren't teaching English to business people.  Instead we are in public elementary, junior high, and high schools working alongside a Japanese teacher of English.  And as far as teaching English goes, a large part of the job is just to be a motivation to the students.  In the past, Japanese students just memorized English for high school and university entrance tests.  English was rarely spoken.  By us just being in the schools, and being friendly, students are going to want to talk to us are going to want to learn about us and to be friends.  It really brings English education beyond textbook learning and into real life.

So being an Assistant Language Teacher ALT in Japan is an excellent job.  It's lots of fun and is a great way to really getting to experience and understand Japan.  If you're interested go to http://www.ca.emb-japan.go.jp/ExchangeProgram/jetweb/index.html and find out more.

 

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This site was last updated 04/27/04