Congratulations, you are a JET! You are going to be living in Japan for a year or more! Are you already bursting with questions? Don't worry, it's completely normal. Many JETs have done what you are about to do, and we would like to make it easier for you.

As you prepare for your experience, please check out our Survival Guides, created with the knowledge and experience of your Alumni predecessors. From what to wear to how to clean tatami, we've collected all the information you'll need to help get you set up in your new home. 


Connect with other Outgoing JETs and Alumni mentors by attending one of our signature events. Our Alumni Mentors will be more than happy to give you advice!

Our initiatives focus on providing support to help educate and prepare new JETs for a smooth and smart transition to their lives in Japan and on the JET Programme.

Pre-Departure Prep

Questions to Ask your Predecessor or Supervisor

  • It is important to get all the information you can about your living and work situation to prepare for your transition. Lists abound all over the internet, so we've focused on the things we wish we had asked our preds before heading out!
What to Pack
  • From what to wear to home comforts, we've not only listed all the things we think you'll need to get started in your new adventure, but also the things we recommend either shipping or buying in Japan!

Home Life

Cellphones & Internet

  • Knowing your options before you go and having a plan in mind will make staying connected the least of your worries!
Cars & Driving
  • From buying a vehicle and obtaining insurance to maintenance and earning your lisence, we've prepared everything you need to know to make your own decisions.
  • Anything and everything related to filling your stomach! Shopping guides, allergen information, where to find your home favorites (or the closest approximation thereof), and even recipes to get you started in your new kitchen!
Home Maintenance
  • Using your Japanese appliances, caring for tatami, repelling creepy-crawlies, and other useful tips for keeping your home clean and mold/insect-free!
  • Finding stores that carry western-sized clothing, navigating Japanese Amazon, and other tips to make your shopping experience less stressful.

School Life

School Japanese

  • From reading the school calendar to navigating it's halls, sometimes each school seems to have its own lingo.
School Events
  • Any manga or anime fan will know that the school festival is a huge deal, but there are many other events throughout the Japanese school year as well. Find out what to expect and how it affects your routine as an ALT.
School Clubs
  • Club activities are a central focus for Japanese students, and also a great way for ALTs to get to know them.
ALT Duties
  • Saying "every situation is different" doesn't even begin to cover it, but we try to outline the various duties an ALT might have at different school levels.
Special Ed & Non-traditional Classes
  • Navigating special ed in English can be trying, let alone attempting it in a foreign language. But ALTs can make a difference in any situation.
Self-Intro lessons & Activities
  • The first thing you'll do with your new classes can also be the most stressful. JET Alumni share their tried and true slef-intro lessons and activities for all grade levels.
Teaching Resources & Links
  • Our favorite places to go for anything from lesson inspiration to classroom management ideas.

Extracurricular Activities

The Block System and AJET

  • Being a JET comes with a built-in community of other JETs who are more than happy to support you in a variety of ways. Take advantage of these groups not only to help overcome culture shock and isolation, but also to enjoy new and sometimes unexpected experiences!
Getting Involved in the Local Community
  • Community events, sports, and other ways to get involved and lead a rich life.
Learning Japanese
  • Do you have to learn Japanese to be on JET? Not at all. Does it help make things easier? Sure. Do many JETs challenge it somply because they're in the country? You bet. Whatever your reasons for studying, we've got a whole bunch of resources for you!
  • Japan is a country of many wonders. Short vacations can't really do it any justice. Being in the country makes it 1000 times easier and more convenient to get your fill of culture and experience! Not only that, but Japan is a great starting point for international travel as well.


Bank Accounts

  • Knowing your options before you go and having a plan in mind will make it easier to set up your accounts.
Paying Bills
  • Online bill pay is uncommon in Japan. Know how to pay your bills before you go!
Sending Money Home
  • There are a variety of options available. Which one is right for you?
  • The biggest financial headache, cleared up but your Alumni friends!

Mental Health & Self-Care

Mental Health Resources

  • Taking care of yourself is priority number one. Know your options for when you need help.
Support Groups
  • Everyone needs a little support sometimes.
Other Health Resources
  • Medical emergencies, interpreters, and other helpful resources.


National AJET

  • https://ajet.net/
  • http://www.clair.or.jp/e/index.html
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/protocol/index.html
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Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Alumni Association of Chicago
Connecting JET alumni in the Midwest - Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana