Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The JET Program: The Interview

I was freaking out on the day of the interview! I spent the entire morning getting ready and making sure that I looked perfect. The Consulate General of Japan in Miami is in Brickell, which is about a good 30-40 minute drive depending on Miami traffic. Fortunately, I had been to the Consulate many times and, since my boyfriend at one point worked at a restaurant near it, there was no problem for me to find parking. Once at the Consulate, I rode the express, Tower of Terror elevator and waited my turn with fellow JET interviewees. They were running a little behind schedule, which was no problem for me, so I chatted up the JETAA representative who was there to help. I want to say that on the outside I looked calm and collected, but on the inside I was freaking. Thank God/Oprah/Tom Cruise/and Baby Jesus for the material of the dress and clinical strength deodorant. 

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Before I knew it, I was called in for the interview. I sat in a chair facing three panelist. I was about to be grilled

Every question that was asked was expected and easy to answer. You'll need to know yourself, your application and your statement of purpose. I heard that there is usually a good cop/bad cop scenario in the interviews, but I didn't have that experience. I tried to be lighthearted and funny. For example, when they asked what I would like do in Japan, I told them I know Mt. Fuji is on everyone’s list, including mine, but that I read an article stating that they might have bungee jumping off of the Tokyo Sky Tree [see article here]. If so, I would be the first to sign up. They laughed at that, and I felt a bit more relaxed

They went through my application asking basic questions and then asked for a teaching demonstration on Halloween, my favorite holiday. I was to teach towards elementary children. I assume that I was supposed to use more Japanese, but I stuck with just basic English since I am teaching English after all. I began to draw on the board, but that didn't really seem to work, so I kicked aside the marker board and began to act out. I had the panalist repeat words after me and I gave out "candy" if they correctly said "trick or treat." I also gave a lot of praise because they'll attempt to mispronounce English words. As dumb as I felt, I'll admit I did a pretty great job. 

My teaching demo high was brought to a crashing low with the Japanese portion of the interview. My self-introduction was fairly easy. However, I also had to read a short paragraph. I sped through it but in my nervousness I did not pay attention to what I was reading. Afterwards, I sat outside and called my friend who had her interview earlier in the week and had lunch at a nearby restaurant. I did my best, but it was the toughest interview I had ever experienced. 

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