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News From AJET: February 2016

Ramblings of an almost ex JET

As we go through the coldest part of the year, so close, yet seemingly so far away from spring, I can’t help but reflect a little on my time on the JET programme. I am ending my 5th and final year. Time is a blur. Savour it, value it, make the best of it you can. Speaking of which, RIP David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Lemmy, you will be sorely missed.

I recently met a friend who joined the programme at the same time I did, but returned to the UK almost 3 years ago. It was kind of shocking to realize it was so long. I am not the same person I was when I joined.

Being a JET changes you; at least it certainly did for me. Those brave enough to step out of their comfort zone and head into another world will be challenged in many ways they could have never imagined. It also makes you understand and appreciate where you came from in a way you could not have without leaving it behind.

It can be hard, very hard, being an expat. One thing that sticks out to me, having been here as long as I have, is that friend turnover is a terrible, but inevitable thing. You meet great people from all over the world, form bonds and deep friendships, go on amazing trips, rafting down the white water in Shikoku, skiing down the mountains in Tajima and enjoying all night karaoke…sometimes just because you all missed your last train, but slowly those people leave to continue their lives in another place. Starting again, making new connections, issues with language and culture, it can be difficult.

Though with all of that said, those experiences, those people, make for an amazing, life changing time. It’s why I’m still here. It’s why I’ll still be here after JET. I’ve learnt so much and still have so much to learn (damn you日本語!)

I will end my ramblings here with one more experience, but one which you can participate in!

AJET Block 6 does Yuki Matsuri Feb 6th-10th. Don’t forget! Details are on the Block 6 Facebook Page.


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