Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

See the World, for Free!

More specifically, see Japan. The JET Program, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, places young people from foreign (foreign to Japan) countries in government or education positions in Japan. JET participants live in Japan for a year.

As to the claim that one can travel to Japan for free, I made that up. However, the JET Program does offer an alternative to paying one’s way. Generally, as I see it, when one is traveling, a person is not earning money, but one is spending money (more money than I would spend sitting at home unemployed). Unlike when one travels at one’s own expense, JET participants are paid. The individual who brought the JET Program to my attention claimed that participants end up saving a considerable of money, because there are few places to spend it in the villages where the participants reside. Compensation is approximately 3,600,000 yen per year, after taxes, which is about $32,300 US. Round trip airfare is provided. However, it is also necessary to calculate in mandatory health insurance, employment insurance, pension fund costs, and accident insurance, at around 40,000 yen per month, or about $360 US. In addition, accommodations run from 30,000 yen to 60,000 yen, $270 US to $540 US, per month. This leaves about $23,000 US. These estimates do not take into account expenses for food. JET participants do enjoy fifteen days of Japanese national holidays, plus 12 to 20 days of paid leave. I do not know about the claim of becoming wealthy while participating in the JET program, but it probably affords a unique experience without the costs traditionally associated with travel.

I have not yet contacted the Embassy or Consulate General nearest me to obtain information or to apply for the JET Program. Since employment has not been forthcoming for me, I think it is something I might investigate. I probably should not be making the JET Program more widely known, in the event that other applicants take the limited number of places.

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