Sunday, August 27, 2006

How to get International/Intercultural Experience

Another section of the JET Application asks for your international and/or intercultural experience. Let's face it, somepeople have more than others; either because they have been exchange students or their parents were stationed abroad for part of their careers. But it isn't necessary to have traveled to Japan to participate in JET. In fact if you have been in Japan for a total of 3 years in the last 8, you are ineligible to apply!

So where to start:

You want to take an inventory before you willy nilly fill out your application. What counts:
exchange programs
summer travel
international events (ethnic festivals)
international club membership (and participation)
living in another country (not exchange related i.e. your parent was in the military)

Don't forget these things:
volunteer projects with various ethnic groups
volunteer work with immigrants (legal and otherwise)
anthropology work with native peoples
marriage to someone from another country

Basically as a U.S. citizen/applicant you are allowed 1 additional page per question (for a select group of questions) so make the most of it.

In my opinion, it is better to put things down that might count (you must actually have done them - no make believe) and have the reviewers decide, rather than not put something down that totally would have counted. Your ticket to an interview could be decided by just a few activities!

Need help finding an international event?
Contact your international program director at your school for suggestions of clubs or international activities in your town. Check out other community resources for international events, too. If you join/participate between now and when you send off your application (I suggest no later than the beginning of Thanksgiving) then you can put this on your application. For those of you who will not apply this year, get crackin'. You have lots of time to get seriously involved with these projects/clubs/events.

If you need any help, contact me at

Friday, August 18, 2006

How to get Educational Experience

The application is divided into several parts. One part is about your educational experiences.

What counts as an educational experience? More than you think.

1) classes that you've taken in education
2) tutoring
3) coaching
4) student-teaching experience
5) actual teaching experiences

Don't have any teaching experiences yet? It's not too late. Here are some suggestions:

1) tutor internationals on campus - either talk to the International Student Advisor, or post an ad in the campus newspaper.
2) tutor immigrants through community programs
3) teach reading through a literacy program
4) coach a sport
5) get involved with scouting groups
6) teach a subject for community education projects (check out parks & rec for opportunities)
7) tutor a subject you know well (put an ad in a newspaper or get involved with a homeschool group)

There are other options too.

Still need more help?

Personal application consulting available at

Monday, August 14, 2006

It's not too late!

If you are planning to apply for the JET Program this fall, but you don't feel your International/Intercultural Experiences section of your application is not as well developed as it could be - don't despair! There's still time to get some things done to improve your application.

First, get involved with a community. Do an internet search for communities near yours that have sister-city relationships with Japan. Contact them about becoming a member and/or a volunteer. This will look great on your application.

Get involved with a Japan-related or International-related club/organization. Many cities have similar organizations. If you community has other culture clubs, get involved with those. Your international experience doesn't have to be realted to Japan only.

If you are a senior in college, you can still get involved on campus. Contact the Study Abroad director or International Education director to see how you can assist exchange students on your campus or join international student clubs.

It's not too late to get some experiences in. Applications come out in September, but are not due at the embassy until early December. Take advantage of these next 4 months to add some activities to your application.

Friday, August 11, 2006

JET Applications coming soon

The Japan Exchange & Teaching Program (JET) was the most amazing experience in my life. It's my opinion that every college graduate should at least seriously consider applying for this program.

The next round of applications come out around September and can either be downloaded from the Japanese embassy or you can contact your nearest consulate for a paper version. College Career Centers should have them too.

If you are planning to apply this year, you still have a few weeks to get some international/intercultural activities done for your application.

I'll be posting more about the JET program and the language in weeks to come.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

konnichi wa