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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Interview

Since it’s almost time for the interview process I thought I would do a quick post on what I think was important for me.

Going in I thought I was going to have to defend the fact that I was going to bring my family.  I prepared to discuss how having my family would help me be a better JET and not take away from the experience, but I it wasn’t the case at all.  Both my interviewers in Toronto were pro family.  Now, this will not be the case for everyone but from asking around and talking to the other families I met on JET it seems that JET interviewers are increasingly, pro family.

Here are some of the things related to my family that happened in my interview:
  • They asked me if I planned to put my daughter in school and if so where, Japanese or English School
    • I said I wanted my daughter to learn Japanese and that we planned to put her in a public Japanese school ASAP. One of my interviewers told me she had gone to public school in Japan as a child and it was a great experience. She thought that going to a public kindergarten was a great thing for a child and would help her a lot.
  •  They told me they thought having a family in Japan could help me meet more people in the community away from my schools and then asked how I might do that. 
    • I told them that having children with you is a great way to meet people and break the ice.  It is an easy conversation starter and would put us in many more situations to meet other parents. (This is totally true, but that will have to come in a later post)
  • They asked me about going to orientation and the whole travel process to Japan.  They asked if I would bring my family or not, and what are plans were for getting everyone to Japan. 
    •  At the interview I told them I planned to have my family come a few weeks after me.  I wanted to get settled and established before they arrived so I could help them adjust.  I think this is what they wanted to hear and is the best, most official answer to give.  (I didn’t end up doing it that way but it worked for the interview)
So here it comes…my advice.
  1. Relax!!!
    • If you are married, have kids and are not fresh out of university. I can guarantee you have faced way worse than this interview. 
  2. Be Prepared.
    • This is a little obvious but I’m gonna say it anyway.                                               
    • Be prepared for all the regular things like “whats happening in Japan”, and “how would teach ~~~” but also be prepared to show how being older, married and having kids will enhance your time on JET.  It is a huge plus to the JET Programme to have a family willing to uproot their lives to go and share about their culture, SELL IT!
  3. Maturity and Poise.
    • Your older and wiser and been through a hell of a lot more than most of the other applicants.  Make sure your maturity and poise show through.
    • That being said its good to let your playful side show through if they ask you to teach something.  Your a parent, you know how to have fun with kids.

That’s it.  I don’t know if that is helpful at all but its all I got. 

Are there any topics you want me to cover? Let me know and I will try to hit on them in future posts.


  1. Thanks for starting this blog Dave. I’m trying to put some resources into print for incoming JETs, so I will be keeping a sharp eye on your posts.

    I think this advice for interviews is spot on. As for topic suggestions, right now I’m tackling vaccinations and getting a hold of a Mother and Child Health Hand Book. I’d also love to hear more about what family activities you’ve found in your area. Guide books don’t really cover this aspect of Japan, and most expat family resources are focused primarily on Tokyo and other large cities.

    I look forward to reading more.

  2. Hi,
    Like the interview advice. Applying to come on JET with my family too. Know you want to offer advice, but blogging about daily joys and challenges in Japan as a family would be quite interesting. Would you consider that?

  3. I love this blog, I am a Married mother of 2 and I am going to be applying but only after getting my degree, I work in reverse, I am 24. Do you think me being 28 will hurt my chances? My husband is going to stay home with the one in my belly right now and we figure my oldest would home school till he could understand better, he is 5 now and about to start Kindergarten, My youngest would have daycare a few days, to kinda pick up on everything along with meeting new kids!