Sunday, September 2, 2007
I lied
So I lied and said that 'Up Next' would be local orientation info, but I've recently noticed that it seems JET application time has come upon us again. I think at the beginning of my blog I said I'd share some application insight if I wasn't too lazy to. Seems I was too lazy, but I recall only really wanting to look at previous Statement of Purposes (SoPs) when I applied. So, to make up for my lack of 'this is how the application process went' post. Here is my statement of purpose (and if you're curious I was shortlisted). Please just know that it pains me to read this as I think it's rather poor, but then I usually never like what I've written, and it got me in, so I guess it can't be all that bad. Also check out the ITIL link as that's the forum I lurked at during my application process. Lots of helpful stuff.

My interest in learning about and experiencing Japan arose after taking several kendo classes at my local dojo. After fumbling through my first few practices, barely understanding the instructions provided by my sensei, I focused on learning the key Japanese terminology necessary to comprehend what was happening during practice and found the language fascinating. Wanting to learn more, I downloaded several beginner Japanese language instruction podcasts to help introduce myself to the language and I hope to study it more formally in the future. In the course of practicing kendo, I have also completed several reading assignments about Japan’s samurai history and the development of modern day kendo, which further cultivated my desire to learn more about the language and culture of Japan.

After exploring several Japan related websites, I eventually came across information about the JET Program while viewing the Consulate General of Japan in Denver site. I researched the program through a variety of online sources and also spoke with several Jet alumni about their experiences. All provided glowing reviews of the program and highly recommended that I apply. In addition to the positive reviews of previous participants, the program’s lengthy and prestigious history, as well as extensive alumni support network, greatly impressed me and convinced me that going to Japan through JET would provide a wonderful opportunity to participate in a unique form of cultural learning and exchange. I am particularly interested in a position as a JET ALT due to my enjoyment of, and experience with, both international travel and teaching.

I am not new to the concept of cultural exchange and have always enjoyed the challenge and excitement that comes with experiencing and adapting to another country’s customs and traditions. I spent my elementary school years living in England and, on the recommendation of my high school French teacher, participated in a summer language study and cultural exchange program in France through the International Baccalaureate Program. During my stay in France, I not only got to experience the French language and culture first hand but also lived, studied, and made friends with students from Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, England, Russia, and Australia. Having lived in foreign countries previously, I have experience adapting to other cultures and recognize the importance of being flexible and open minded when adjusting to new surroundings.

I also have teaching experience and enjoy helping others achieve success. During high school I was a French tutor and ran weekly group sessions that covered everything from vocabulary drills to listening exercises. I also volunteered at an elementary school, helping tutor students who struggled with reading and writing. In college, I was chosen as a TA for the General Psychology course and was in charge of a recitation class of 40 students. For my class, I prepared lesson plans, activities, PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, and also assisted in proctoring exams and preparing exam study materials. Overall, I feel reasonably confident in my ability to teach and I received positive feedback and high marks from many of my students on the end of term assessment form, with one of my highest marks being for cultural sensitivity. From my previous teaching positions I know that perseverance and a positive attitude can help overcome even the toughest of situations and that helping students achieve their goals, can be a very rewarding experience.

I look forward to helping teach Japanese students about my language and culture, as well as experiencing and learning more about Japan. I would love to be able to continue practicing kendo and also take advantage of any volunteer opportunities in my community. If accepted into the program, I will work hard to meet the needs of my students, co-workers, school, and Board of Education and develop positive relations with everyone I have the opportunity to meet.

*Buries head in shame* Did anyone actually read all of that? Does anyone even read my blog at all? Probably not.........

I will say one thing. CHECK THAT YOU WANT TO WORK WITH KIDS! Or whatever box would indicate something like that. Even if you don't like kids much, you will probably have a much better JET experience working in an elementary school rather than in a JHS or SHS. Or at the very least will love being able to visit elementary schools and take a break from JHS/SHS. Trust me!

And one more pearl of wisdom. Follow the directions on the application. Kind of a duh concept, but some people seem to have trouble with it. Like how the SoP says you need to explain this, this, and this. Well, then give them a paragraph about this, this, and this. Or if it says, staple this but paper clip this. Well, then, do it the way they say.

Next post will be back to normal. And good luck to anyone who is applying. From what I can tell, it's a great program!

Up Next (for real this time): Local Orientation

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posted by am at 8:00 AM | Permalink |


At September 2, 2007 at 5:14 PM, Blogger Unknown

hey amanda hope things are going good over in Japan for you... just droping by to say hi


At September 3, 2007 at 11:31 PM, Blogger TseUq

*I* read your blog!!!!!!!!!!! ^^ AND I read all of your application 8-) *gets gold star* YATTA! lol >.<

Well I hope you enjoyed my over-tired/over the top blog comment, Im gonna go reply to your email now...take care *is so jealous!*