Hello Hyogo-ites! By the time you read this, you will have uttered, “atsui ne” or “mushi atsui ne” at least once to anyone who will hear it. Well, ganbare – summer has only just started!
For those of you who are returning home this summer though, you will get to leave the oppressive heat and humidity. Unfortunately, it also means leaving behind a life that you have built over the past 12 months, or more. The upside to this is you will have formed friendships and take with you memories that will last a lifetime.
Aside from remembering to file for your pension refund when you get back, we would like to encourage you to join your local JET alumni chapter. Each chapter offers different social, cultural and professional events.
JETAAi (JET Alumni Association International) has 53,000+ alumni in 52 chapters spanning 17 countries. JETAA USA (JET Alumni Association of the United States of America) alone has 19 official chapters, not including sub-chapters. Through local chapter activities, former JETs are able to promote a broader and deeper understanding between Japan and their home country at the grassroots level by being engaged in various cultural and social activities.
As the Membership Development Chair of the New York chapter, I would like to extend an invitation to any JETs who are coming, or returning, to New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. Visit our website, www.jetaany.org, and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jetaany to see photos of past activities and information about upcoming events. You can also sign up for our newsletter by clicking “Join JETAANY” at the top of our homepage to keep abreast of any news, job postings, and upcoming events. We run an annual career forum for new returnees, a Welcome Back Reception, a meishi exchange for networking, and many more events including hikes, happy hours, a summer boat cruise, and 日本語だけ dinners throughout the year. We also keep up the traditions of hanami, bonnenkai, and shinnenkai.
Aside from the many events we have, the JET alumni community is also a great support group. One of the ways to lessen the blow of reverse culture shock on your return home is by joining your local JET alumni chapter. We are told “Every Situation Is Different,” but we all have a shared experience that may be hard to explain to our friends and family back home. Being a part of the alumni network allows you to make a smoother transition back into your post-JET life whether or not you have clear goals of where you’d like to be professionally. Staying connected to JET through your local chapter helps to build the program for generations to come. With your involvement, the JET Alumni network will only continue to grow stronger.
JETAA International: www.jetalumni.org
JETAA USA: www.jetaausa.com
By Ann Chow (Hyogo-ken, ALT, 2007-2009)
Ann Chow is the Membership Development Chair of JETAANY (JET Alumni Association of New York) and served as the Editor of the Hyogo Times in 2008-2009.