Do you enjoy the challenge of working with others? Are you excited by the idea of being immersed in a foreign culture? Have you ever wanted to visit Japan?
If you answer yes to any or all of these questions then the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme may be for you.
Each year this initiative of the Government of Japan recruits university graduates from nearly 40 countries around the world to spend a year (or more) living and working in Japanese communities. Since its inception in 1987, the JET Programme has arranged for the placement of over 50,000 participants throughout the Japanese islands, from the tropical archipelago of Okinawa to the snowy tips of Hokkaido.
JET Programme participants are employed by local Contracting Organizations (C/O) primarily as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT) working in the Japanese public school system to help deliver the English language curriculum. Participants with significant Japanese language ability may be employed as Coordinators for International Relations (CIR), whose primary duties are to support international exchange and cooperation at the local level.
JET Programme participants receive a guaranteed gross annual salary of 3,600,000 JPN yen, which is quite sufficient for living comfortably in Japan, even with the mandatory deductions for national health, employment and pension insurance totalling approximately 450,000 a year, some of which is refundable. Participants are flown to Japan and, upon the successful completion of their contracts, receive airfare to return home. As an added bonus, Canadian participants pay no Canadian taxes on JET income. Additionally, all participants have access to a comprehensive support network, including Japanese language training.
Successful applicants to the JET Programme are matched with Contracting Organizations (public schools, school boards and government offices) who then become their employers for the duration of their contract. Contracts are one year in length and may be renewed up to four times with the agreement of both the participant and the employer. Participants are assisted in finding housing and may, at the discretion of the C/O, receive rental subsidies. Generally speaking, contracts stipulate a 35-40 hour/five-day week and include a number of paid vacation and sick-leave days.
In order to apply, it is necessary to have completed, or be in the final year of completing, a Bachelors degree (in any subject) and, as this is considered a youth program, to be under 40 years of age. Other specific eligibility requirements are listed on the JET Canada website.
While there are many options for teaching English in Japan, the JET Programme’s emphasis on cultural immersion and public service makes it not just a job, but a unique opportunity to:
- expand your life experience
- acquire valuable work and people skills
- be a positive role model for youth
- enhance your intercultural proficiency
- explore Japanese culture and society in depth
- promote international understanding at a grass-roots level
- build a network of friends and contacts from around the world
- become familiar with themes in Asian culture
- learn Japanese in an immersive environment
- challenge yourself and grow as a person!
The JET Programme is not for everybody. The challenges of adapting to a very different work and cultural environment can be significant. But if you are an adventurous, adaptable, and responsible individual with a strong desire to explore Japan and to contribute positively to language education and cross-cultural understanding, then JET would like to hear from you.
The JET Programme recruits each year in the fall. Please visit the JET Canada website: www.jetprogramme.ca in order to find out more about the program and the application process for Canadian citizens.
JET Coordinator – Embassy of Japan, Ottawa.