Thursday, October 3, 2013

JET Application Timeline

This post provides a timeline of my experience applying for the Jet Program:

November 2, 2011: Met with my Japanese instructor (a former JET) to discuss a recommendation for next year’s JET round
I had initially been interested in applying for 2012, but I realized that I wanted to work one more year in the U.S., instead of rushing to meet the 2012 deadlines.

September, 2012: Began requesting transcripts from 4 schools

October 3, 2012: Met with my former boss (also a former JET) to get a letter of recommendation
This was pretty fortuitous, because my boss was really the perfect person to write a recommendation, and I don’t think I would have had the guts to ask him for one while he was still my boss. When he left my company I saw this as a perfect opportunity to seek a recommendation from him.

November 19, 2012: Overnighted my application to Washington D.C.
I meant to send it much earlier, but someone I didn’t get everything together until the last minute, so I paid a ton of money to overnight it and my application reached D.C. one day before the deadline.

January 29, 2013: Received notification that I have been selected to interview.
Honestly, at first this news did not please me. I was so nervous about the interview that I almost called it quits on the whole process. I had less than two weeks to prepare and really I just ended up preparing the night before.

February 14, 2013: Interviewed at the World Trade Center in Portland, OR
I will discuss my interview in another post. I was still employed at this time, but fortunately the interview location was a ten minute walk from my office, and my appointment was at 1:00 so I just “took a long lunch break.”

April 3, 2013: Received notification that I have been shortlisted
I was in Lahore, Pakistan when I read the email. Pakistan was such an intense experience that I had a hard time absorbing the news. I just couldn’t think about it until I returned to the U.S.. When I did, my partner and I had a long conversation about whether or not I should accept, and eventually, we decided that I should.

April 19: Mailed my response paperwork to the Consulate
The paperwork process really seemed insurmountable. Heath certificate, fingerprints, IRS form, background check. It was pretty complicated. I took a day off work and went to the doctor, the sheriff’s office (for fingerprints) and the post office all in one day. I also had to mail my passport in to get extra pages added.

May 17: Received my new and very bulky passport.

May 22:  Received notification of Placement: Kawamoto-cho, Shimane. My initial reaction was like, "Cool, Shimane!" because I had been there before and liked it. Plus, it's close to Hiroshima. Then I looked up Kawamoto. Population 3,800. Train only comes 5 times a day. 2 restaurants in town. And then I panicked. I was prepared to survive without a Starbucks, but no coffee, no western amenities, and no public transportation. Begin freak out. 

May 24: Receive my IRS form.

May 27: Finally come to terms with my new inaka life. Commence freak out.

June 10: First contact with predecessor! Our predecessors were told not to contact us until May 31st, but mine had to wait until the BOE received my Reply Form.

June 10: Background check received by JET

June 23: Welcome Orientation for Portland JETs, and passport submitted for visa. 

June 23: Submitted passport for visa. I just turned this in at the Welcome Orientation.
August 3: Flew to Tokyo for Orientation.

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