JET Programme

Waiting & Anticipating

And JET, in a low voice, declared – nay, for a better word, inaudibly whispered: “We shall make you wait. And not only will you wait, but we will also give you enough time to experience anxiety, stress, self-doubt and ultimately bestow upon you the greatest test of patience ever encountered in your life. For this waiting will take place for a full 8 months (perhaps even more… it depends on how we feel about you). And just when you thought it was safe to stop waiting – we will surprise you with another, um… surprise of more waiting! And then you will wait some more. For we are the decisive powers that be (as far as working in Japan as an assistant English teacher goes), and you shall therefore wait in antici……….pation!”

Now that I have scared off all potential JET applicants. Moving on.

Okay, I exaggerate, but this ‘waiting’ one does on the programme deserves a special post of its own.

From my experience so far, the JET Programme does seem formidable at extending the whole application and selection process over a couple of months. But it is understandable as the programme (internationally well-known in its own right) has 40 participating countries, meaning that thousands of people apply each year and every application form needs to be scrutinised by your home country’s Japanese embassy. Additionally, if successful and you are accepted onto the programme, another leg of waiting ensues as placement needs to be decided, amongst other things.

At the time of writing this, I am still eagerly, yet patiently mind you, waiting to hear from my contracting organisation/BOE in Hiroshima. With 5 weeks to go before leaving for Japan, I have yet to receive contact from the BOE, supervisor, and predecessor (the ALT who I will be replacing). In addition, I still have no clue as to where I will be living in the prefecture and how many schools I will be teaching at. I know that I’ll find out all in good time, but the anticipation and excitement of the big move to Japan is beginning to take centre stage, with composure and patience inching towards the wings.

Oh, and just to add in that I am not the only one who is having to deal with this feeling of anticipation and waiting for first contact. A fellow South African and JET participant, Kelly, who will also be living in Hiroshima (bonus!), has already delved into the subject of waiting on her blog. It is like this process of waiting and testing our patience is like an official requirement for all new JET’s.

But I digress, not all BOE’s are the same though, as a few of the other new JET’s have already received quite a bit of information from their BOE’s and predecessors. Once you have been accepted onto the programme, you are passed over from JET into the hands of your contracting organisation (BOE), and it is entirely up to them as to when they decide to contact you.

So while I’m here, I thought I would briefly mention the time-line of the application process for JET:

Note: The dates below reflect only my personal experience and how the Japanese Embassy in South Africa proceeded with the applications for 2013/2014. Dates do vary depending on which embassy you apply through in the world.

  • September 2013: Application forms become available online
  • 31st November 2013: Due date for the embassy receiving the application form and supporting documents
  • Mid-January 2014: Notification of interview
  • Two weeks later: Interview held at consulate
  • 1st April 2014: Notification of short-list status (accepted into JET)
  • 22 May 2014: Placement information received
  • Early June 2014: Q&A session at Cape Town consulate
  • Any time from mid-May to end-July 2014: Contact from BOE, supervisor and predecessor
  • 25th July 2014: Pre-departure orientation in Pretoria
  • 26th July 2014: Depart for Japan
  • 27th – 30th July 2014: Tokyo orientation
  • 30th July 2014: Depart for Hiroshima

I keep chanting to myself “patience is a virtue”, but then I saw this e-card (click here) and thought that is a far better mantra 😉

This post is dedicated to all the new JET’s out there who, like me, have yet to hear from their BOE’s, supervisors and predecessors. Hang in there, any day now! 🙂
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