JET Program Reviews | Glassdoor

JET Program Reviews

Updated October 10, 2017
287 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

4.1
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
CEO
0 Ratings

287 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
  • You get to experience Japanese culture first hand, build relationships and establish friendships within whatever community you are placed (in 24 reviews)

  • A great way to spend some time after college (in 23 reviews)

Cons
  • Every situation is different" so it's hard to know what to expect (in 39 reviews)

  • It's a short term experience so there's no room for advancement (in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Amazing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    Pros

    Unparalleled opportunity to live and work in Japan, comparatively high salary and support from employers (though every situation is different!)

    Cons

    Every working and living situation is different, depending on your situation it can be hard to reach satisfactory results with regards to conflict.


  2. "Great Experience, Highly Recommended"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    You get to live and work in Japan. Students are great, teachers are also usually great, and you have a lot of opportunities to improve your Japanese language skills. My experience was 10x better than I imagined going in, so I can't recommend this program enough.

    Cons

    The program can be difficult for some, especially those who can't speak Japanese. There is also a lot of unstructured time involved, and occasionally teachers can be stubborn.

    Advice to Management

    More structure for ALTs to allow them to contribute more to their school communities might be useful.

  3. "CIR"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends

    I worked at JET Program full-time

    Pros

    - variety in work
    - good vacation days

    Cons

    - not permanent
    - don't get to choose the placement


  4. "Your Ticket to See Japan - They'll Even Pay For It"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Freelance Writer in Murrieta, CA
    Former Employee - Freelance Writer in Murrieta, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    The people are amazing. Teaching is fulfilling. You'll love what you do.

    Cons

    Uh... natural disasters suck? In-laws can be a pain. Communication is hard.

    Advice to Management

    Facilitate better communication between teachers, co-teachers, and school management. The teachers are rarely trying to mess up, but they are all guided differently because every school is different. Simple guidebooks aren't enough. Active mediators are needed to make everyone more efficient.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Good Pay, Lottery Placement"

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

    I have been working at JET Program full-time

    Pros

    Pay and benefits are the best you'll get as an entry level ALT

    Cons

    You have no say in your placement


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Teaching English in Rural Japan"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Former Employee - Assistant Language Teacher
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at JET Program (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I should note that I was placed in a rural location to teach Elementary students. I'm not sure how highly specific this case is.

    Extremely low administrative burden - I was free to basically create my own curriculum and lessons. This changed toward the end of my tenure, but chances are the changes won't hold (I'd be surprised, anyway). Workload is very low compared to teaching in general - mostly because you don't have paperwork.

    Related to the above - far fewer responsibilities than the standard teacher in any country, which means you get to do more of the "fun" stuff of teaching without worrying about opportunity costs - teaching/learning with students, getting to know people through a central pillar of the community and being a part of that community, etc. Looking back, I had absolutely no classroom management skills, yet students were completely rapt in my classes; I think this was simply because they knew I also played soccer/swam/went hiking/took dance lessons/whatever with them. (And they were super-kind rural kids.)

    Speaking of which, you have your irregular groups, but classroom management was almost non-existent in my experience, simply because rules and procedures were so ingrained in my students. This can be a bad thing, but it's generally productive for lessons.

    Finally, if you're considering teaching as a career, I it's a good way to see if you like/"get" what the basic tenets of teaching. Then you have to weigh that with the basic negatives...

    Cons

    This should be obvious, but if you're someone that struggles in isolation or need family nearby, Japan will be very hard on you.

    Highly variable experiences. With how comparatively universal Japanese education is, it's surprising how English curriculum implementation can run the entire spectrum. Some people have an extremely difficult time in the program due to extreme administrative oversight that drains every last drop of creativity out of them, teachers being hard-headed, social isolation, and whatnot, while others get an abnormal level of freedom and flexibility, with everything in-between. You might get put in a situation where you're highly uncomfortable, which might be - for you - being forced to teach from a script or being forced to teach with little support.

    Contract renewals are fairly blind to culture shock (most everything in Japan is, for that matter); you're essentially asked to re-contract at a point in the year where you're most likely to make a poor decision.

    Dealing with finances over international borders can be a huge pain... haha.

    The microaggressions here are real, folks. I'm Asian-American and speak Japanese fluently, and constantly got mistaken for a Japanese person. And people STILL got asked if the US has sushi, if I eat sushi or rice (RICE?), or can use chopsticks, etc. I generally laugh in the face of these things, but they do wear on you after years of the same stuff from most everyone you meet.

    Advice to Management

    More of leadership should be expats. Too many inconveniences exist in the program - even after decades of activity - that any normal person who had lived abroad for a year would recognize to be an easily solved problem from the administrative side, yet anyone who would recognize the stuff is unable to break through the bureaucracy to fix it.


  7. "ALT"

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

    Pros

    Changed my life and perspective of the world.

    Cons

    Limited contract. I was a "unicorn."

    Advice to Management

    Extension the limit.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Coordinator for International Relations"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Coordinator for International Relations
    Former Employee - Coordinator for International Relations
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    A great opportunity to immerse oneself into a non-English speaking county and experience a rich and diverse culture and history. As a Coordinator of International Relations (CIR), develop a lot of experience in translation and interpretation (formal and informal), developing international relations, and networking. An annual mid-year conference, training, and a CLAIR-sponsored translation and interpretation course is available for language development as a few forms of program support.

    Cons

    Depending on placement (location and office), bureaucracy and workload may quickly become difficult to manage and balance; at the mid-year conference, it is common to meet CIRs who work 3+ hours overtime (uncompensated by contract). Though CIRs are expected to have a strong command of the Japanese language (JLPT 2 or 1), they are not professional translators yet may come to be treated only as such.


  9. "ALT"

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

    I worked at JET Program full-time

    Pros

    Excellent way to broaden international experience. Smooth transition into education.

    Cons

    Experience varies greatly from placement to placement.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great Experience, Not a Career"

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

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

    Pros

    If you're interested in Japanese culture/language, it is a great way to get paid to visit Japan. Some schools provide great support (some don't). It's one of the highest paying ESL jobs in Japan and provides great health insurance, pension, benefits, and a large support system.

    Cons

    It's a job, not a career (unless you are hoping to live and teach in Japan afterwards). While there are salary increases every year, there is no room for advancement up the ranks. Depending on what you hope to do when you return to your home country, some future employers will see your time abroad in a negative light. You can not choose where you live and many teachers seem unhappy with their assignments. Depending on your assignment, you may be more of a "human tape recorder" and less of a "teacher."

    Advice to Management

    The Japanese government needs to come up with a system to use the ALTs who wish to stay in Japan. So much experience is wasted because people are bored with their position, underemployed, or forced home after 5 years. Teachers in schools need to use their ALTs more effectively, and the program needs to weed out the applicants hoping to party abroad.


Showing 287 of 329 reviews
Reset Filters