JET vs AmeriCorps
April 21, 2011 1:37 PM Subscribe
JET (teaching English in Japan) vs AmeriCorps (cool community stuff in my city). Or, how do you decide between two paths that seem comparably engaging/difficult/unknown?
posted by elephantsvanish to Work & Money (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I know to a certain extent, I have to make this decision myself, by whatever personal moral/pragmatic/whatever rubric guides my life, and live with the successes and problems with that choice. Still, I'd like some help wrapping my head around a choice that somehow seems to shift every time I think about it.
I'm just about to graduate with an anthropology degree, a bunch of enthusiasm for community activism/service, and a great girlfriend in the city I live in. And I'm applying for an AmeriCorps job that (a) seems uncommonly well-run and intriguing, even amongst other AmeriCorps positions, and (b) means I could experience my college's city as a graduated adult contributing meaningfully to this community. It's a great match for me, I love the idea of AmeriCorps' mission and would feel much pride and fulfillment serving my community.
On the other hand, I was just accepted into the JET program. I was lucky enough to study in Tokyo a year ago, and while difficult and overwhelming, found it to be a pretty great time. The idea of deepening my experience of Japan and being involved in others' lives in a meanignful way definitely appeals to me. I don't love the idea of just teaching English, but I think JET is more than that; I also embrace the challenges of rural life, a potentially difficult (and potentially quite interesting) school context, etc. Pragmatically, it would be great to return to my city after a year with some solid work experience, a sense of independence/self-direction, a better idea of how I feel about teaching, and some savings. I could also go to a new city with some money and experience and make a fresh start there. But this would be incredibly trying on my relationship, and I'm unsure if I would experience the same sense of serving my community that I likely would here. But who knows?
Not only am I trying to assess the specifics of each opportunity and what each one brings, but I'm also trying to come up with new ways to meaningfully approach making a difficult decision such as this one. (To a certain degree, this is also quite premature, as I haven't yet been offered the AmeriCorps job!) My relationship is newer, but very important to me; though my partner will be studying abroad for some of that time, so the challenge of distance/etc is something we'd face no matter what. I would like to be financially independent as soon as possible, and both pathways would help with that, though AmeriCorps would put me in a much tighter situation financially.
I also have a sense that if I don't do JET right now, I'll never do it. I'll get involved in community type things and want to stay in my city or in America in general for a few years, etc. While I'm not a Japanophile and don't need my life to revolve around East Asia, it would be nice to see through certain possibilities (such as getting a phD in cultural anthropology).
Thoughts? Thank you, and sorry for the special snowflake vibe.