The Experience of a Lifetime – Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program

“Why do you wish to go to Japan and participate in the JET Program and why you are interested in the position for which you are applying (ALT or CIR)?”

There are an infinite amount of ways to change the lives of others. The ‘how’ of achieving this goal is, of course, steeped in subjectivity, but it is no secret that it can be done. In some way or fashion, everyone has experienced or will experience a life changing experience. Whether it be through the loving advice of highly valued colleague or through the discovery a particularly interesting piece of knowledge, life-changing moments can happen everyday. There is a profound beauty in these moments, but such beauty is amplified when you are the one facilitating this change. The chance to witness how you alone have made a difference in the life of someone you care about is not only life changing for the one you care for, but for yourself as well.  The joy of knowing that you have been instrumental in someone’s life is a monumental, ongoing experience that never ceases to give both you and the one you’ve poured into a sense of satisfaction. This joy is precisely what can be gained as an Assistant Language Teacher through the JET program. As such, it would be a privilege to go abroad to experience said joy of bringing foreign language into the grasp of eager young students in Japan. 

Classrooms around the world are filled with excited learners who long to be engaged. Many students are in need of teachers who will be able to understand them not only academically, but personally as well in order to create a fun, appealing learning environment. In discussing ‘how’ achieving a life change is possible, for many school-age children, feeling heard and understood in the classroom can be something that gives them that sense of monumental joy.  Assistant Language Teachers in the JET program are tasked with the rewarding job of teaching young Japanese children a foreign language. Although this task can certainly be daunting for a foreign national like myself, there are several ways, through the responsibilities of this position, that I believe I can use to facilitate the joy I was long to give to students. A great example of this is through the exchange of information that will happen between my students and I. In addition to giving my students an exciting environment through which to learn English, it is also personally important for me to create an outlet for the children to learn more about my home culture and for me to learn about theirs. In this way, students will walk away from class not only having learned new words to add to their repertoire, but a new perspective on life abroad and how to apply their understanding of foreign language into an internationalized world. Exchanges like these will allow students to understand that as their teacher, I am not solely interested in them grasping the foreign language I am teaching them. Instead, they will know that I am focusing on not only on their academic performance, but their knowledge of the globalized world we live in, and the importance of acceptance of those who are different from themselves. These types of interactions will certainly be life changing for them and are just one example of how the opportunity to serve as an Assistant Language Teacher will give me an opportunity to develop students’ minds and bring them closer to the joy of having a life altering experience through learning. The honor of being able to bring this type of experience to a learner’s life alone is enough to drive me towards an opportunity to join the JET program as an ALT. 


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