Canada’s latest group of adventure seekers has departed for Japan.

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On August 3, the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto hosted a gathering of 64 young adults who all had two things in common: a keen sense of adventure and a love of all things Japan.

It was the farewell party for the newest group of JETs who would be departing for Japan the very next day, embarking on a year-long trip that will forever change who they are and how they view the world.

JET stands for the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme—an exchange program sponsored by the Japanese government. JET brings university graduates from all over the world to come to Japan and work as assistant language teachers (ALTs) in schools, or as coordinators for international relations (CIRs) in local government offices.

Yannick, a recent grad who has briefly studied abroad in Japan before, says the most exciting thing about becoming a JET is learning from Japanese culture. He references the manners and respect Japanese show one another and the elderly in particular. Miguel, another departing JET, says he applied to the program because of an interest in Japanese pop culture ever since he was young. He’s most looking forward to soaking in a Japanese hot spring. And for Brandon, who has already spent a month in Japan on vacation, the first stop will be the popular Japanese curry restaurant CoCo Ichibanya. And if there’s anything that makes him nervous, it’s the inventive pizza toppings.“All my concerns are food related,” he says. Clarissa Jewell, co-chair of the JET Alumni Association, Toronto chapter, says the ideal JET is someone adaptable, adventurous and able to talk easily with others. Being able to think on your feet is also crucial to dealing with life’s daily challenges on the exchange, like getting around in a new country. And while JET offers a lot of support to its participants, getting involved with the local community is the surest way for JETs to get the most out of their experience. For anyone inspired to apply to the JET Programme, Yannick has this advice: “Put your heart into it. Don’t worry if you get rejected. I was rejected last year, but here I am.”

For more information visit jetprogramme. ca/about/jet-programme