JET Program

www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/jet
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JET Program Reviews

Updated March 4, 2015
Updated March 4, 2015
145 Reviews
4.0
145 Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros
  • Good salary compared to the workload that you get (in 9 reviews)

  • Depending on your placement, can be a great way to hone your professional skills (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • The phrase that is drilled into us at orientation is "Every Situation Is Different (in 11 reviews)

  • Little chance for career advancement- once an ALT, always considered an ALT (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    JET ALT

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at JET Program

    Pros

    A great program. Easy way to make money and experience Japan. Good for the students because they get to experience foreigners.

    Cons

    Out of the job market in your respective country foe 1-5 years. Should plan on returning to grad school after JET.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  2.  

    Good for new grads

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)

    I worked at JET Program full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Decent compensation--especially if you're in rural areas, and not spending as much--for new grads, overseas experience, new culture, good work-life balance

    Cons

    Not much room for growth or advancement. After a learning curve of figuring out what's expected of you in the classroom, there's not much else to learn. This depends on your situation and placement, of course, but I was bored after a few months at my desk, and have a lot of friends who were bored as well. Hard to use ALT skills to transition back to U.S. market.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    GREATEST TIME OF MY LIFE

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at JET Program

    Pros

    Understanding Japanese culture coupling with meeting other international English speakers

    Cons

    Sometimes communication may be hard with teachers, but eventually you can pick it up, so it's not a big problem

    Recommends
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  5.  

    Applicant beware is more accurate than "Every Situation is Different"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Contractor - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
    Former Contractor - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)

    I worked at JET Program as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    (Let me preface this by saying I was in a very rural area for three years)Mostly every reviewer lists things that only pertain to their experience, but here are things that everybody should get out of the JET Program:

    -Develop Japanese language skills
    -Intercultural relationships (both making, creating, maintaining, exhibiting, and learning)
    - Health insurance
    - Pension refund (when you leave, you should get everything back that you paid into the Japan pension fund). Think of this as temporary IRA.
    - Exploring/traveling in Japan and other Asian countries
    -SOME b.o.e will subsidize SOME of your living expenses ( mostly rent, but could include car)
    -If you have a great interest in Japan, you can always apply to Japanese companies in your home country
    - In a time of a strong Yen, you will be making more in Japan than you would at home.
    - Contractual work hours are 35 hours per week. If you work on the weekend, you will have the next week day off.

    The above should apply to anyone that is accepted in a position with the JET Program. Because of "ESID," here are "pros" that only pertained to my three year stay in Japan:

    -relatively nice, partially subsidized apartment, within a 10 minute drive, or 30 minute bike ride.
    -Free car, I was given a car by my BOE for the entire stay.
    - Gas voucher (up to 38 liters) every month. Only had this for 2.5 years though.
    - relatively inexpensive items.
    - Nice scenery
    - Distance from other JETs on the island ( My experience with other JETs is that they are the most cliquey, immature bunch of people you have ever met.)

    As for the pros of the job, there was not much for me:

    - No one seemed to care what I did, or how I was used (which is mostly a con)
    - A lot of freetime (con)

    Cons

    I consider these to be cons of the position that ALL JETs will face:

    - Your location is a big factor. I was 2 hours from the big city, and I lived in a small farming community.
    - Contrary to most reviews, the salary is not that great. They have reorganized the program so that they pay you less the first year, so they can pay more each successive year. No one has seemed to take into account currency exchange rates. If you making Yen when it is strong, then you are paid very well, if you are making Yen when it is weak, then you have to adapt to that if you have financial obligations in your home country.
    - Depending on location, you may have a higher standard of living than other places.
    - Negative reception from your coworkers. Imagine how they feel, some foreigner working with them who does not have experience in teaching will be expected to be an equal.
    -Being trapped, or isolated, in a community. General boredom
    -Culture Shock.
    - For every one JET that you are on good terms with, there will be two or three that will hate you. JETs will be the bane of your exsitance.
    -Not receiving any communication or feedback from your BOE, unless it is negative.
    - There is NO room for advancement. You will not receive a bonus like other teachers, you will most likely be a human tape recorder.
    - Either stuck at one school, or spread out to multiple schools.
    -Actual English instruction/teaching leave a lot to be desired.
    - Doubt that you will have a positive relationship with one JTE.
    -A real concern about the English abilities of your JTEs
    -Lack of classroom discipline at times. You will have a few dreaded classes.

    In addition to the above, I had to deal with:

    - The perception that no one cared about the ALT
    - Not being able to recommend plans for curriculum.
    - Becoming a tape recorder/grader.
    - Being spread out among many schools.
    - Communication issues with JTEs .
    - Being 2 hours away from any interesting places, and being slave to the transportation system.
    - No support from PA, JETs, Expats.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    This is more of advice to the applicant, I doubt that management would read this. Only consider the JET program if : You really love Japan, you want to travel Asia, you want to learn Japanese, IF you want to work in a Japanese company, or you want to live in Japan. This job offers no future, unless you will work in the ESL system in Japan, or you return to your home country and work for a Japanese company. If you do get accepted, I recommend staying at least two years, if you stay only one, it will be a waste of time. Japan can be fun at times, you can go sightseeing, mingle with girls in bars, and meet some interesting people, but it may not be worth it, it depends on what you want to do with your future.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    Luck of the draw

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at JET Program

    Pros

    interesting, opportunity to travel, international experience

    Cons

    Support is varied, may not be enough in some locations
    There can be a lot of downtime

  7.  

    Assistant Language Teacher

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at JET Program full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    -working abroad, Japan
    -working with students
    -practicing Japanese
    -making own lesson plans
    -teamwork

    Cons

    -no promotion
    -not much work in the first year
    -miscommunications and teamwork

  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    JET Program

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)

    I worked at JET Program full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    This has probably been one of the greatest experiences of my life and I would highly recommend it to anyone. You have the opportunity to learn a lot about Japanese culture as well as managing a classroom and developing communication skills. I never thought I would enjoy teaching but loved seeing my students grow and improve. Every school has a different environment but most schools give a lot of leeway in terms of what an ALT can do in their lessons and at the school in general.

    Cons

    You will have a lot of free time where you are not teaching. It is important to try to fill that time with work relevant to the JET program and your school. You must be a proactive person and seek opportunities for growth and development.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have more professional and relevant workshops run by people outside of the JET program.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9.  

    It was a great position, but little to no growth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at JET Program

    Pros

    A great gap year or two if you want to travel the world, and get to learn a new language. Fun making new friends, lots of opportunities to travel, 20 days paid vacation.

    Cons

    Always treated as an outsider, no growth, Japanese bureaucracy, sometimes you have difficult schools and students, if you have difficult teachers that don't take advice- then you may feel that you're not making a difference.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good pay and benefits, but living in Japan leaves much to be desired.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at JET Program

    Pros

    This job pays great, and the work hours are very manageable. When you work with good teachers and kids that want to learn, the experience can border on amazing.

    Cons

    I found that many of my ALT colleagues had bad experiences mixing with Japanese society, and working within Japanese office environments. Japanese colleagues in junior high schools often shunned and ostracised ALTs. Many of the schools had severe discipline problems. Teachers at schools often clung to outdated teaching techniques.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    MEXT needs to focus on training school personnel on the importance of foreign relations, and the need for greater internationalization of the Japanese education system.

  11.  

    Good Experience

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)

    I worked at JET Program full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    They send you to Japan and pay for the ticket there and back and the network of foreigners working in the program is great. You really work in a Japanese school in small towns, so it's great for teaching experience, learning Japanese, and studying the culture.

    Cons

    It can be very isolating, and you don't get to choose your placement. ESID is also the JET culture, meaning "Every Situation is Different"--that can be very unhelpful if your school is bad, coworkers unhelpful or worse.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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