JET Expenses

When I first heard about the JET Program, I believed that it was free; even when I applied for it this past fall, I believed it. However…it’s not actually so. There are indeed costs, as with any new job in a new location, so consider the following costs before jumping head first into this prospect thinking you won’t spend a dime. I saved up from my full time job in order to feel comfortable about going over, putting away money at every paycheck. Please note that this is what I personally paid (approximately) in America (Alaska specifically) in 2014/2015 and costs in other areas around America and the world will differ. This page is NOT here to dissuade or discourage you from applying to JET, but to inform you what you might face throughout your own process in the future. I outline the expenses for the Application Stage, Short List Stage, Pre Departure and Post Orientation Stage, Personal, and Apartment Set Up.

Application Stage:

-Mailing in application package (1 Day Delivery): $20
-Transcripts (I transferred after my first year so I had to get two different colleges to send me transcripts, as well as request a copy from my Study Abroad office in Oregon): $20
-Interview outfit (I already had a blazer from a previous job, but I needed a skirt and dress shirt): $45
-Transportation to Interview: $40 for a taxi cab from the airport and back (My airfare had been paid for by another party for a medical appointment I had earlier in the day before the interview)
-Passport (if you don’t have one yet): I’ve had one since high school, but for new 10 year passport I believe it’s $160

TOTAL: $125ish

Acceptance of Short List Status:

-4 passport photos (for Reply Form): $30
-Mailing in Official Reply Form: $5 (without tracking)
-Doctor’s Visit for Certificate of Health: $75
-2-Step TB test (X-ray was more expensive): $45
-Fingerprinting (for FBI background check): $35 for two copies
-FBI Background Check: $18
-IRS USA Residency Form: $85
-Mailing in FBI Check, IRS Form and CoH: $5+$5+$5+=$15

Total: $308

Pre-Departure Orientation and Tokyo Post Arrival Orientation:

-Mailing in Passport and Visa Application via FedEx: $25 w/tracking and signature
-Flight to Anchorage: 6,000 Alaska Airlines miles + $2
-Food at the airport: $20 (I bought snacks to take with me as a comfort for the first few days in Japan
-Food during Orientation: $100 (this is an over exaggeration, but it’s best to be prepared)
-Transport/Fun money during free time: $150 (I didn’t plan on going around during free time, it just happened haha)

Total: $297

Personal Expenses and Purchases:

-Luggage (two four wheel rolling suitcases): $160
-Work and casual shoes: $120
-Work clothing: $600-$700 (I bought things periodically from May to July)
-Boxes to ship later: Currently have two, $90-$170
-Souvenirs and gifts for supervisors: $60-$70
-Prizes for students: $50-$60
-Medicine: $100 (2 month supply)
-Misc items (spices/cold medicine etc.): $30

Total (with max values): $1,410

Apartment Set Up

A common term you hear in JET is ESID; Every Situation Is Different.  My costs for setting up my apartment were quite different from some of the other incoming Hama JETs I spoke with when I first found out, let alone JETs in other cities and prefectures. I know that if you compare the set up costs to what I paid and to what, say a Tokyo JET, paid it will be astronomically different.

I was not given or sold anything from my pred (he’s staying in Japan therefore keeping all his stuff), so I had to furnish my apartment in Hamamatsu on my own. I really don’t mind! I love making my living space my own 🙂 I highly suggest joining a group in your region or prefecture that deals with trading/selling used furniture and appliances. I was lucky to nab a few things before I actually head over so it will make the transition easier for me. My apartment was already furnished with a TV, fridge, washing machine, AC and microwave as well as a futon set rented out until January. I also bought a lot of this as time went on; this was not all bought at one time. I made a list of things I needed right away and went off that before getting some other things.

-Two gently used futons: $20 (2,000 yen)<–bought second hand
-Rice cooker: $30 (3,000 yen)<–bought second hand
-Toaster oven: $10 (1,000 yen)<–bought second hand
-Bed frame (already had a futon set): $140 (14,000 yen)
-Floor chair: $60 (6,000 yen)
-Table/Kotatsu: $15 (1500 yen) <–bought from neighbor
-TV stand: $120 (12,000 yen)
-Wooden bookshelf: $30 (3,000 yen)
-Metal and wooden bookshelf: $60 (6,000 yen)
-Kitchen caddy: $40 (4,000 yen)
-Fan: $50 (5,000 yen)
-Space Heater: $85 (8,500  yen)
-Storage stuff: $40 (4,000)

And there you have it! I hope this gives an idea of what to expect to spend both on the Program and while in Japan.

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