SINCE 1987, THE JET PROGRAMME HAS INVITED THE WORLD TO JAPAN
Established in 1987, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme has brought young people from around the world to Japan as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and Sports Education Advisors (SEAs) in kindergartens, elementary, high schools, or as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) in local governments and boards of education. In addition to being on the most highly respected exchange programme of its type, it is also one of Japan's most successful cultural and diplomatic initiatives.
In 2017, there were 5,163 JETs, with 351 from Australia. As participants are invited to Japan as representatives of their countries, they are therefore expected to demonstrate a sense of responsibility in all their activities. Ideally, applicants should be adaptable, and demonstrate a positive interest in Japan and its culture. Application guidelines can be found at the Japanese embassy website.
TOP 3 MYTHS ABOUT APPLYING TO THE JET PROGRAMME
You must be able to speak Japanese or have a Japanese language qualification
Unless you're applying for the CIR role (Coordinator of International Relations), then you don't need to have Japanese language skills. Of course it would be handy but it's not a pre-requisite. And you can of course start studying the language while on JET!
You must have teaching qualifications to be successful
You don't need to have previous teaching experience. It doesn't hurt of course, but JET is much more than teaching English - it's an exchange programme where local communities learn about your country and the world. You'll also be team-teaching with a teacher, so you won't be doing it alone.
I'm too old to apply - I'm over 40!
This is a subject of debate - there used to be an age limit of 40 (or 45), but it's not strictly enforced. While JET was primarily created as a youth exchange programme, it is not uncommon to see older applicants being successful. In other words, you won't know until you try.
JET PROGRAMME ACTIVITIES
- JETs will attend a post-arrival orientation in Tokyo for 2 days when they arrive (either in April, July or August arrivals).
- There are skill development conferences for ALTs, CIRs and SEAs held at different times of the year.
- JETs who volunteer to be Prefectural Advisors (PAs) will attend conferences that train them in their additional responsibilities.
- For JETs in their final year, the After JET Conference provides information on possible career path after JET.
- Networking and Career fairs in Osaka and Tokyo.
- CLAIR also provides a JET Internship Programme.
- There are also Japanese language education packs that JETs can use to study and self-test throughout the year.
- Social clubs, activities and support by AJET.