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Students can "JET away" to Japan

by Jayme Haitsuka, Lifestyles editor

The JET Program almost sounds too good to be true: an all-expenses paid round-trip ticket, $30,000 salary, and lifelong memories of teaching English in Japan. The JET, or Japan Exchange and Teaching Program is open to any U.S. citizen under the age of 40 with a Bachelor’s degree. Run through all Japanese embassies and consulates nationwide, it has been a successful program since 1987; so far there have been 6,273 participants from 38 countries.

William Zanella, associate dean of International Programs, is the contact for this program at HPU. At an informative JET meeting, he encouraged students to apply, and stressed that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.

Graduates can apply for two positions: Coordinator for International Relations (CIR), or Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). The second position is the most popular, and does not require any Japanese speaking skills. In this position participants serve as a classroom resource for English teachers in Japan.

Graduates interested in applying for the CIR position must be completely fluent in Japanese and would work at various American embassies in Japan. There they host Japanese dignitaries, aid in the planning of community events, and serve as translators at special events.

“The main purpose of this program,” said Zanella, “is to get Japanese students interested in English.” He also emphasized that while this program is a great way to learn the language and experience Japan, participants are there to work and are expected to do so.

JET alumni Alana Anderson, now program director for The Japan-America Society of Hawai‘i, has fond memories of her JET experience.

“I liked being immersed in the culture,” said Anderson. “I was placed in a small town and was the only foreigner there, so I got to see the real Japan.”

Interested students should check out JET’s Web site at,, or see Dr. Zanella for more information. The application and all required documents are due Dec. 5, at the Washington D.C. Japanese Embassy. Late or incomplete application packets will be discarded.




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