Name: Cristy Burne

Age: 34?

Current location: Perth, Western Australia

Placement school(s) and location in Hyogo/Japan while on JET: Kawanishi Midoridai High School, Kawanishi. I edited the Hyogo Times during my second year as an ALT.

Current occupation & jobs held since leaving the JET programme: Currently writing the Takeshita Demons series of adventure books for children, featuring Japanese yokai (traditional monsters and demons from Japanese mythology). Also worked as a Technical Editor for a Japanese patent law firm in Tsukuba, Ibaraki-ken; editor of CSIRO’s Scientriffic magazine (science for kids); and as editor-in-chief of International Science Grid This Week, published out of CERN in Switzerland (to name a few!).

Highlight of your JET experience: Working with my san-nen-sei to translate tales from Japanese mythology, then turning these stories into theatre scripts that they performed (in full costume and in English!) to a full-school assembly as part of the Bunka-sai.

How the JET programme has benefited you career-wise: My time with JET keeps sneaking back to benefit me: the editing job in Ibaraki (thanks to JET for my skills with Japanese language), the publishing contract in the UK (thanks to JET for my understanding of Japanese culture), work as a performer with the Questacon Science Circus (thanks to JET for my confidence in front of the classroom), and landing freelance travel writing gigs (thanks to JET for my Japanese travel experiences).

What transferable skills JET gives you: In addition to the skills outlined above, JET also gives you self-confidence, courage, an ability to flourish in the face of change, a good nose for sniffing out opportunities.

What advice you would give to current JETs for getting the most out of the JET experience in order to further their career afterwards: “You get out what you put in” is my #1 bit of advice; #2 is to think strategically about where you want to be in the future, and then to volunteer for and/or create opportunities that can help you to get there.

Tips for job hunting after JET: Don’t limit yourself to jobs that involve Japan or Japanese. Instead, go for something you love and you’ll find your Japanese experience comes in handy, probably unpredictably, and time and time again.