Welcome to the JET Programme UK Website
The Official Website for UK Applicants

JET Impressions

What led you to apply to the JET Programme?

Having spent the best part of four years in a chemistry lab, I was acutely aware that I needed other skills to make me attractive to prospective employers. I felt that the JET Programme would provide those skills.

Did you feel that your degree specialisation in any way aided your application?

Not really, I didn't feel that my degree was relevant to my application.

What were your apprehensions going into the JET experience? Was the training and advice you received prior to beginning work useful in allaying these fears?

When I was told that I would be placed in a small, rural town, I was worried that my lack of Japanese would be a problem. However, the advice from ex-JETs was definitely useful in allaying my fears (and those of my family!).

Could you describe briefly your placement and work situation while in Japan?

I was placed in a small rural town about two hours north of Tokyo. The town had very few other English speakers, which was ideal as it gave me a chance to learn about a new language and culture.

My JET year was spent teaching in four Junior High Schools, which was great fun; I couldn't believe how friendly the teachers and students were.

How easy was it to settle in Japan? How was the Programme's support network? Did you encounter any problems?

It was fairly easy to settle into life in Japan: most people were extremely friendly and the JET community was very welcoming. At times I felt a little isolated but I believe that this helped me to pick up the language quicker.

Did you feel that you were representing the UK while in Japan, and what was the reaction of people to you?

I did feel that I was representing the UK, and this was a good precursor to life in the Foreign Office. I think there is a healthy respect for Brits in Japan.

What were the challenges, and what were the rewards in your job?

The greatest benefit of the JET Programme was working with Japanese children. I was lucky enough to work in four excellent schools in which the children were so much fun. Never was there a dull moment in the classrooms!

Do you think that JETs are able to have a positive impact on their communities and schools? (How did your understanding of a JET's role change over the course of your year on the Programme?)

I think JETs can have a huge impact on their communities especially if they are willing to become a part of it. At first, I thought my only role was to simply teach English, but I gradually learned that it was almost as important for the children to just interact with someone from a different background.

What skills do you feel you gained from the JET experience and how have they helped you in your current career?

The JET Programme provides unique skills that any prospective employer would love to see on a CV: working overseas, learning a hard language and adapting to new situations, to name a few. These skills were vital in securing me a job in the FastStream of the diplomatic service.

Could you speak a little about your current employment?

The work of the Foreign Office is incredibly exciting. You have a real chance to influence foreign policy and a unique opportunity to travel to world. I spent the first part of this year working as the political officer in Basra, Iraq, which was fascinating. At the moment, I am working in the political section of the British High Commission in Uganda monitoring regional issues.

Do you continue to maintain a connection to Japan and the friends you made on JET?

I try and maintain as close a relationship as I can with Japan. I went back to Japan for a holiday last year to visit friends, and also helped the Japanese Self-Defence Force during my time in Iraq.

I have already made some friends at the Japanese Embassy in Uganda and I hope to have an okonomiyaki-party at my house soon!

What piece of advice would give to those contemplating taking part in the Programme?

I honestly don't know anyone that has regretted going to Japan. It is such a great culture and you will learn so much.