JET Programme 2017- Local Orientation

by Yuri Yuhara

Yamanashi Prefecture Local Orientation 2017

Although this may not be news to many of our readers, several contributors to this blog are part of the JET Program, which is jointly overseen by Japanese government ministries with the goal of promoting the internationalization of Japan through foreign language teaching (i.e., mainly, but not exclusively, English) and international exchange vis-à-vis local government and sports. This goal is met by recruiting young people from around the world to work in Japan as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT), Coordinators for International Relations (CIR), or Sports Exchange Advisors (SEA).

For each position, and according to the country of origin of the participant, the requirements for employment, and the responsibilities in the workplace, change. However, putting these case-by-case differences aside, the program as a whole provides a unique and valuable experience both for professional and personal development, and it is an especially rewarding job for those interested in Japanese language and culture or international exchange.

This year, 25 new persons from various countries came to Yamanashi Prefecture as participants in the JET Program, myself included (CIR). Although the contract for Brazilian participants begins in April, the majority of JETs arrive in August, and so I, too, took part in the prefectural orientation held in Kofu City a couple of weeks ago. The orientation included a series of lectures to help us become accustomed to our new lives jobs in Yamanashi as well as a formal meeting with Yamanashi Vice-Governor Masegi Tamaki, Yamanashi Director of Education, and Yamanashi Director of Tourism Hikawa Noboru.

Topics ranged from day-to-day subjects (e.g., housing, cleaning, transportation, medical care, etc.) to work-specific subjects (e.g., class preparation, office relationships, etc.). We also went to one of Yamanashi's most beautiful temples for a workshop on Japanese etiquette as well as to the Disaster Prevention Center to learn about how to prepare for and what to do in case of natural disasters. These three full days were packed with information! But the best part had to be the social events; with a formal dinner the first day and an informal dinner the second day, this gave the JETs a chance to get to know one another as well as to speak more casually with those who had organized and put together the orientation.

Those who wish to obtain more information about the JET Program should contact their nearest Japanese Consulate and/or look over the JET Program website, which is available in both Japanese and English.

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