The program fosters
exchange between Japanese youth and young professionals from
the countries participating. Because of its two-part design,
JET has two kinds of opportunities for qualified graduates.
First, graduates can apply to work as an Assistant Language
Teacher (ALT) in public elementary and secondary schools.
in these positions are engaged in language instruction assisting
Japanese teachers of English. These participants must be interested
in the Japanese education system, particularly in the way Japanese
teach English, and interested in working with students.
Second, graduates can apply to work as a Coordinator for International
Relations (CIR) in selected local government offices in Japan.
Participants in these positions are engaged in internationalization
activities: they assist with programs and planning dealing with
cross-cultural awareness and understanding. These participants
must be motivated to participate in and initiate international
exchange activities in the local community to which they are
assigned, and they must have a functional command of the Japanese
Participants in the JET program reside in Japan for one year
and are expected to work an average of 35 hours a week. They
receive a $33,000 salary (after Japanese
income and resident taxes), a sufficient amount to cover living expenses in Japan.
According to the JET handbook, the JET program is a reputable
curriculum that seeks outstanding students through a competitive
application process. Applicants
are chosen as representatives of their countries and are responsible for all
their activities, especially those concerning the promotion of mutual understanding
between nations. Applicants should be under 40 years old, in good mental and
physical health, and have excellent English speaking skills.
The JET program began in 1987 and has hosted 6,226 participants
from more than 40 countries. Applications are due December
5 and can be obtained at www.us.emb-japan.go.jp,
by calling 1-800-INFO-JET, or by contacting the Hawai‘i Japanese consulate
Editor’s note: We have asked Jayme Haitsuka, a local HPU graduate who is
living and teaching in Japan, to send us dispatchs about her JET adventure. Watch
for them in these pages.