Hello World! JET Interview

Today I start the journey down the rabbit hole of online blogging. Who knows if this will last? Mainly created to document my JET Programme application. So let’s dive right on in…

Around October last year I made the decision to apply for the JET programme. And boy what a task that is. I’ve been told by a few different people that around 5 years ago if you applied for JET in New Zealand and made it to the interviews you were pretty much guaranteed to get to Japan. Nowadays that’s not the case, sadly.

The whole paper application isn’t that difficult, it’s just time consuming. So if you want to apply I suggest starting on it as soon as the Japanese Embassy releases the forms online as you are going to need to run around the country getting forms and copies of things repeatedly. So many copies, I still have the odd nightmare about not doing it right. Next (or perhaps beforehand) write/draft your Statement of Purpose. Why you, why Japan, what can you bring Japan? Etc. etc. etc., again pretty standard. Then bam. Hand that beast of a form in and then you wait. And wait. If memory serves the application was due on December 3rd 2013 and I got a letter saying I had an interview on the 20th January 2014.

Then you prep. And prep. AND PREP. Then you worry you prepped too much. Then you worry you haven’t prepped enough. Then the interview day came. In Wellington interviews were held from Feb 3 until Feb 5, three days’ worth. DON’T FORGET TO SUIT UP. GUYS AND GIRLS. This is a government job essentially and you will be representing your respective country so dress to impress. I felt over dressed in my skirt and blazer but the guy who was interviewing at the same time was dressed to the nines so I didn’t feel too badly.

(Also to you, Australian/Kiwi mysterious guy on Feb 3 in Wellington at 10 am, best of luck, you were super nice. Hope you make it in 🙂 Not that he’ll ever see this.)

The interview in its self isn’t that bad. Run of the mill interview. Unless you are me. Because I stress and when I stress I get anxious. Thoughts just disappear out of my head. So I felt my interview didn’t give my three interviewers a good version of myself. I forgot words, I paused, I told then two or three times I was nervous and might have shot myself in the foot multiple times. When I am nervous I make really bad jokes to lighten the mood and relieve a bit of tension, it’s a really bad habit. Not insensitive or anything just reaaaaallllly lame jokes. Nothing like saying something light-hearted and having the entire panel give you the blank stare. Sigh. Goodbye ego.

Back to the interview, there were three people on my panel and every though it was this morning I can’t remember their names. There were two Japanese Women and one Kiwi Women whose name might have been Nelly (?). All three were super lovely. They had what appeared to be my application that they were writing notes on top of. I did manage a sneak peak at the start of the interview and saw that on one of my applications were circled numbers. So maybe they score the applicants/applications on a number based system and only a people who score over a certain number get through to the interview round…who knows…that’s just me guessing. My interview lasted about 30 mins which was longer than it was supposed to be. I’m pretty sure it’s because I was waffling rather a lot, like I am now.

In no order here are some of the questions I got asked…

  • Where did you hear about Jet/what is you history with the Japanese Language?
  • How would you teach a class full of Japanese children that were shy?
  • How would you teach a class about colours? (Pretty sure I didn’t stuff this one up)
  • What things would you teach to an adult class of Japanese people?
  • How would you deal with people complimenting you on your chopstick skills/Japanese language ability?
  • What problems would you foresee you having if you went on JET?
  • I see you asked to be placed near your friend who is also applying, how will you feel if they are placed very far away/do not get in?
  • If you had a weekend planned, for example trip to Korea and your principal asked you to come in for a speech contest that one of your students was in, what would you do? (This one I hear is asked worldwide)
  •  If your Japanese Teacher of English only wanted to use you as a tape recorder, how would you deal with this? (I read a really good blog with an amazing answer to this here, definitely read it all, it will help a lot… http://hoosierhana.blogspot.co.nz/2010/04/jet-interview-questions-and-answers.html)

I also had to correct 6 sentences in English so they were grammatically correct and give reason for it; I was not prepared for this. I would advise anyone applying for the 2015-16 JET NZ intake to prepare for this. One of the sentences was “Does he have pencil?”, so it needs to be “Does he have a pencil?”. But you should know why, and I blanked very badly on these. Very badly. Though I think 2/6 were already correct to throw you off. It did work on me, it threw me off majorly.

Overall, I think maybe this year is not the year for me. But now I wait for two months and hope that I wasn’t as bad as I thought. Hopefully this can help some of you out there. Since so many people on the net helped me prepare, I’d give my two cents so hopefully you don’t get caught off guard and can show the panel the best you.

Good LUCK! ◕‿◕