Graduation takes a lot of work. Some students will leave their undergraduate universities, apply to graduate schools and sign up for GREs, MCATs or LSATs — three of the most popular tests required for professions like medicine and law. Others enter the workforce directly after applying for jobs or internships. And some do neither. All are viable options in today’s society.
I will be applying to the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program, also known as the JET program, for 2017. I will be applying for an assistant language teacher position, which will entail helping English teachers in Japanese schools with lesson plans, grading and homework, among other duties.
This particular job has a lot of required documents, and yet, I can’t say that they were unexpected. They want college transcripts, an application essay and two letters of recommendation, all pretty standard stuff.
But I’m writing this article not because it’s extremely difficult to get these materials, but because it takes a lot more preparation and forethought while abroad.
You first need to make sure that you have people back home who are aware of your specific job interests. You need a reliable person who is aware of your goals and is capable of helping you get information to and from the right places. In addition, it is best to have someone nearby or at at your university to secure the correct documents needed for the application.
While this next step may seem obvious, I cannot stress how essential it is, especially while abroad: start the application early. On a study abroad program, you are in all likelihood going to be busy with class, an internship or two and trying to have fun in a new environment. Not to mention you may feel really exhausted trying to keep up with everything going on around you.
Starting early will allow you to make any calls necessary to arrange document pick-up or to make sure someone else can pick something up for you while you’re abroad.
Next, make a checklist of the required documents. This is a really helpful way to stay organized and guarantee that you are not missing any deadlines during this arduous process. Finally, do not forget to file for graduation and the degrees that you worked so hard for in college.
I’ve managed to finish almost everything in my application process with a month to spare, but I still have quite a bit to do. I have to ensure that all my documents get to the consulate in Washington D.C. by mid-November. After I print out my answers from the online application, I get the pleasure of sending my physical application to my apartment in Davis where my housemate will then send that packet off to D.C.
I can’t say that the process will be fun, but I believe that with strong communication, applying for a job while studying abroad is definitely possible and should not deter anyone from going abroad their final year of school.
Just be sure that you communicate well with people back home and keep track of time.
Written by: Michael Clogston — firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.