I got an e-mail yesterday from the JET program notifying me of my acceptance onto the program.
For those who don’t know, the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program is a very competitive program that sends foreigners from over twenty countries to Japan for a one-year contract teaching English. It’s an initiative run by the Japanese government itself, and is not only the most well-known, but also the most competitive. And I got in.
I’m still kind of in shock about this because I thought this day would never come. I applied last year for the JET program but was rejected at the first stage of screening – the paper application phase. For a week or so, I became a shut-in, and then, when I applied to Interac (another program similar to JET, but a for-profit one rather than a government initiative) later that year and was also rejected, I became severely depressed and thought I’d never get to go to Japan. I even started to think that maybe my entire college degree was just a big waste of money – I had majored in Japanese in college, but found myself wondering why I had done that if I wasn’t ever going to get to use what I had learned.
But now I have been accepted onto JET. And now my life will get even crazier, what with all the documents and things I’ll need to submit to get my visa, and then packing, and everything else… So I thought I would maybe start a series of posts on my blog specifically related to the JET program, including my preparations, thoughts before leaving, and then during my time in Japan, so that I’ll have a written record and can look back and reflect on it.
My first step after getting this e-mail is submitting more documents – accepting my offer of employment, submitting a background check through the FBI, and getting a doctor’s appointment scheduled – JET won’t let me leave for Japan until they know my GP has approved it. Basically, I just need to get a checkup and make sure I don’t have some kind of incurable disease or something that would make it impossible for me to fulfill a one-year contract, get my doctor to sign the Certificate of Health (which is basically a fancier version of a permission slip) and submit that.
I still don’t know where in Japan I’m going to be sent, or what grade level(s) I’m going to teach. I don’t find that out until sometime in May. But for starters, the San Francisco JETs are having a get-together this weekend, and I might end up going to that.
My official departure date is July 29, so there’s still about four months until I leave. For the next four months, in addition to my regular posts about my reading challenge, I’ll occasionally be making posts about my preparations for JET and my thoughts and feelings as I get read to move to and live in a foreign country for the first time in my life. Wish me luck! 乙女