Tuesday, July 28, 2015

JET: ESID - Fact or Fantasy?

If you've researched the JET programme at all, you surely would have come across the infamous acronym ESID. It's become something of an unoficial motto of the programme: Every Situation is Different.

While kind of cute and funny at first, ESID can quickly become a point of frustration amongst both current JETs and hopeful JET participants. "What will my apartment be like?" "ESID." "Do I have to take nenkyuu for summer holidays?" "ESID." "What is this in my kyuushoku?" "ESID." Straight up answers are hard enough to come across in Japan, and finding information about the JET programme proves to be no exception. I'm not going to pretend like the vagarities didn't irritate me too. Even after I came to Japan and got used to my life here, sometimes I found myself comparing aspects of my situation to others, and wondering "is this fair?" But then the whole Frozen mania thing set in here, and Japan's not-so-subtle method of musical brainwashing encouraged me to let it go.

Or, you know, this version, which I sometimes prefer.
But is it as extreme as people make out? If ESID, can you be sure of anything when coming into the JET programme?

In my experience, sure, ESID - but you can easily find reliable, general information. ESID tends to portray the JET programme as more of a big, vague, mysterious jumble, instead of giving clear yet generalised answers. People in the same prefecture usually have similar experiences, and people in the inaka all over Japan can often easily relate to each other, as can those from more urban placements. Research both specific and general situations, reach out to others, and demand answers if necessary. Don't settle for ESID.

Here's 5 websites every prospective or incoming JET should check out for more information!

- The JET Programme official website (duh!)

- Facebook groups. Search for your prefecture or block + the words "JET", "AJET" or try "incoming JETs 2015" and so on. Aside from those kinds of facebook groups, there are plenty of other groups such as JET Ladies, Stonewall Japan, VegJET,  and country-specific JET groups, like Kiwi JETs.

- Your prefectural JET homepages, which you should be able to find through a quick google search. Some Tochigi JETs have been putting awesome effort into the Tochigi JET homepage lately!

The Unofficial JET Programme Guide has great advice, especially on the application process. There's also a list of JET blogs on there, which can lead you to more helpful info (like this blog)!

I Think I'm Lost. Since the official JET programme forums closed down a year or two ago, I Think I'm Lost has really done a good job filling the gap. You can easily search old threads or start a new conversation with current, past, and future JETs.

What's more, if you do have a burning question about JET, ask me! One of my main goals with the Origami Kiwi blog is to help prospective JETs, so I'm happy to hear from anyone, anytime! I'll do my very best to help you, and if I can't, I'll try to put you in touch with someone who can. So feel free to leave questions in the comments of this post, any other post on the blog, or email me at: theorigamikiwi@gmail.com

- Annabelle


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I've been a high school English language teacher on the JET Programme since August 2013. Read about my experiences, advice on being accepted into the JET Programme, and travel tips around Japan on my blog:


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