The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme Alumni Association, or “JETAA”, is a not-for-profit volunteer organization dedicated to fostering a community of former participants of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (“JET”) and facilitating their transition back to Canada, all the while perpetuating and furthering the goals of cultural exchange and understanding of the JET Programme.
Based in Montréal, in the province of Québec, our Q/A chapter (previously known as “JETAA Montreal” since its inception in 1990) is intended for former JET participants currently living in Québec and the Atlantic provinces, regardless of their pre-JET point of departure.
How does JETAA relate to JET?
One of the purposes of the JET Programme is to internationalize Japan through better mutual understanding and acceptance of cultures at grassroots levels, by employing throughout the whole country Assistant Language Teachers (ALT’s) in public schools, Coordinators of International Relations (CIR’s) in local government bodies, and less commonly, Sports Exchange Advisors (SEA’s) in sporting facilities. Currently for the 2011-2012 year, there are 4,330 participants from 39 countries, which makes the JET Programme the largest global exchange programme.
The role of JETAA is to carry on this purpose once participants are done with JET, by sharing their experiences and by promoting Japan. It official mission is thus to maintain and reinforce the bridge that ties Japan to the 50+ participant countries of the JET Programme. JETAA also allows former JETs to keep in contact and to maintain an open window on the Japan that we never leave. With over 50,000 alumni since 1987, it is the largest global exchange alumni association.
In line with JETAA International’s mission at the local level, Q/A chapter’s purposes are fourfold:
- To provide a network for our members, both veterans and new returnees, via regular social, community and career events:
- find old friends and connect with new ones, reminisce about our times on JET, all in the spirit of keeping our links with and memories of Japan alive;
- discuss career opportunities, Japan-related or otherwise, between veterans providing tips and guidance on post-JET professional adjustment and development, and new returnees who can provide fresh insight on the current trends in Japan.
- To support the efforts of the JET Desk at the Consulate-General of Japan in Montreal, in the promotion, recruitment and preparation of new participants of the JET Programme from the Q/A region:
- assist at promo events and interviews as required by the JET Desk;
- conduct a comprehensive Pre-Departure Orientation for selected candidates;
- provide continuous guidance and support via forums and informal workshops in the period between Orientation and Departure and even beyond.
- To take on the role of “cultural ambassador” to bridge the cultures of Canada and Japan, by promoting mutual understanding and building strong ties of friendship between the two nations:
- introduce and promote Japanese culture to Q/A locals, via school visits, demos in community centres, and exposure at cultural events and venues;
- liaise with other local Japan-related organizations in their efforts to engage the community;
- organize activities characteristic of Canada or the Q/A region for our local Japanese friends, to facilitate their integration or enhance their understanding and appreciation of Canada.
- To actively engage with Japan and lend our support:
- organize exchanges with communities in Japan, especially those with sister-city relationships;
- enhance tourism in the areas affected by the March 11, 2011 Great Eastern Japan Disaster.