New JET Departure Reception in Florida 2011

It’s a little late, but we said goodbye to the Florida JETs a few months ago at a reception at the consul general’s residence in Miami.   This followed a training and question session and was a time to wish the JETs best of luck in their new job and adventure.

As the president of the Florida JET Alumni Association, I was asked to give a speech to let the JETs learn a little about JETAA and to send them off.

JET Orientation and Sendoff Speech

I’m really happy to be here as the new JETs begin their adventure.
First let me introduce myself.  My name is Bahia, and I was in Gunma prefecture as a JET from 2005 – 2007 and then I worked for the Gunma compulsory education division of the Gunma Board of Education from 2007-2008 before returning to the USA. In march I became the president of Florida JET Alumni Association.

I had an amazing experience while I was a JET and my plan of staying only one year in japan quickly turned to three  Even if you’ve traveled to Japan before, being in the school environment brings you even closer to the culture and gives you amazing experiences you can’t get in any other way.  Bonding with your students, teachers, and neighbors is really incredible.

You’ll have so many interesting experiences while in Japan that you’ll never forget – and you’ll want to talk about them.  Those who have been to Japan understand and that’s part of where JETAA comes in. After you return from Japan,  JETAA provides a network of people who know exactly how you feel and help you make a bridge between your life in Japan and life in America.

We understand your stories and moreover we want to hear them even years after getting back –
while your friends and family may be tired of hearing yet another Japan story. We also treasure the experiences we’ve had and as a result are driven to give back to the country that taught us so much.

Especially with the disaster that befell Japan in March, JETAA chapters around the world have sprung into action to help the country they consider their second home. Like us, a few months there many of you will already begin to see Japan as home and the things you experience there will stay with you forever.

I have two big pieces of advice.
1) Say “yes” as much as possible (within reason of course) ;) – If teachers or students ask you to attend tea ceremonies, hold English lunch times,  and participate in school sports days you won’t regret doing it.

2) Have a positive attitude – A good attitude is the most important thing you can bring with you to Japan, even more important than Japanese language or knowledge about the culture.  Be open minded, try to observe and follow examples, and be positive.

Good luck and have a great adventure. Kanpai!

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