About Me

purikuraHey guys!
My name is Morgan, and I’m going to be an ALT living  abroad in Japan via the Interac program. There are probably a bunch of different reasons as to why you found my blog… Maybe you’re interested in Japan (and want to live vicariously through me?), or maybe you’re thinking about/in the process of applying for Interac. Either way, I hope you’ll find this to be a treasure trove of useful guides and tips, as well as a way to see what the life of an ALT is really like! I’ve tried to organize this blog the best of my abilities, in the way that I like to see blogs organized.

Background Info
I’m Morgan. I’m currently 23 years old and living in Virginia. I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and went to college in New York. I’m a recent college grad (c/o 2014!) with a major in Information Technology & Systems and a minor in Global Studies. I applied for the JET Program to teach for the 2014-2015 school year and was accepted, but ultimately turned down that position (I can post about that later if you’re really curious about it… It’s not a very interesting story at all.) to work at a large telecommunications company doing something more related to my major.

I studied abroad at Akita International University from 2012-2013, my junior year of college. There, I participated in a bunch of different community programs through the school. That is what sparked my interest in teaching and made me decide that I wanted to return to Japan to work.

I’ve applied for the JET Program once again, to teach for the 2015-2016 school year. However, I’ve opted for Interac instead and this blog will be chronicling my adventures in Japan through Interac.

Other Media
I’m also an aspiring YouTube vlogger, which is why you’ll generally see an accompanying video with a post. Please go over there and subscribe! 🙂

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2 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Luke says:

    Hello Morgan,

    My names Luke from London, and I’m a aspiring wanna be English Teacher ideally in Japan and have applied for the JET programme, I’ve had my interview last week and I think it went well but we’ll wait and see come April.

    The reason I’m messaging you (and I’ll try to be as concise and brief as possible although I am known for my verboseness so apologies in advance lol!) is for two reasons: 1) is to thank you and 2) is for a personal inquiry request!

    Onto no. 1) I just wanted to say that out of the many many many MANNNNYYYY ALT blogs, vlogs, websites and various resources around and as you know there is a heck of a lot lol! I’ve come to find the more heartfelt personable blogs that show and convey the real genuine-ness of the ex-pat blogger/vlogger that’s living/writing about their experiences in said country of Japan to be the ones I naturally find myself gravitating towards.

    Your blog/videos have been one of joy and comfort to read and relate to. It has been informative, funny, and lovely but most of all I think in one word………insightful, insightful into the mindset and experiences of a westerner embarking upon the striking cultural odyssey that is Japan. I’m sure I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last in wanting to convey from the bottom of my digital heart much thanks for your efforts in the past, present and continued future with your open heart in sharing your emotions, feelings and perspectives for us all to share and experience with you! 

    Now my request no. 2) I’ve never lived abroad before and even though it has been a slowly burgeoning desire and dream over the coming years to embark upon doing it and experiencing something akin to an ‘adventure’ and ‘challenge’ all in one and with all the ups and inevitable downs that will bring, I still find myself having fears and the dreaded D word…………..DOUBT! With that being said I’ve constantly asked myself again and again if the JET programme is right for me with the emphasis and likelihood of placement in the countryside because like you I’m a city boy and city dwelling is what I’m accustomed to, but I persevered with my JET application because I’ve read of the many blogs that testify to the bloggers themselves being city people and loving the Japanese countryside insight and cultural immersion they gained by being placed somewhere they’d ever heard of or thought they’d adapt to in a million years. More importantly I’ve applied because of not wanting to have any regrets and saying the two worst words in the English language “What If?” that can weigh heavily when faced with a decision and chance to do something distinctive and have an experience, right you agree?

    So with all that being said, IF and it’s a big IF but IF I kept accepted onto JET but then later when I see the placement is somewhere that freaks me out my question to you is am I likely to be blacklisted to never re-apply again? Because you have seemingly done the impossible and reapplied twice the second time after you withdrew the first time. May I ask a personal question (forgive me and I understand if you don’t answer it)

    • What was your reason for withdrawing the first offer in 2014?

    • Secondly did you make mention of it in your 2015 statement or interview or did JET bring it up in your 2015 interview? If so what did you tell them as to your reasoning why you were back the following year applying?

    Basically in a nut shell you’re the only person I’ve come across online that withdrew from JET once and got offered a second time, even more so the following year no less. Which seemingly flies in the face of the whole supposed ‘blacklisting’ you if you withdraw.

    • Any insight you can give me to the whole process of withdrawing both times and what you said and in particular what you may have or have not said or acknowledged about your 2014 withdrawal when applying in 2015 would help inform me greatly as to how much I should accept my JET placement if I’m successful and how much hope I should give to potentially living to apply again another day!

    This is all dependant on just my general gut feeling on the day of reading a potential placement listing!

    I hope I made sense in this rather garbled email and thank you for reading this and once again many many thanks for you continued efforts and insights you give to all us aspiring wanna be English teachers! I hope you know you’re valued in every word you write!

    Yours Sincerely,

    Luke Scott

    Like

    • Hello Nihon! says:

      Hey Luke! Thanks for commenting. I’ll try to help the best that I can… If I forget to answer something, please ask again because it’s kind of late but I want to answer this ASAP because time is of the essence when applying/making application decisions 😛

      Firstly, I want to thank YOU for taking the time to write that! It really means a lot to me to know that my nonsensical ramblings have been of some assistance! I admit, I haven’t really been posting as much because I feel like what I put out kind of gets lost in the sea of other ALT stuff, but I’m so glad to see that it has helped!

      I’m going to address the countryside thing first… My first experience in Japan was in a college exchange in the rural area of Akita prefecture. I had doubts at first because I was supposed to on exchange at a school in Tokyo, but it ended up not working out that semester. I decided that my love for Japan and want to actually GO completely eclipsed the fact that I was headed to an area I had never even heard of before. Anyway, long story short, I loved it so much I ended up staying the entire year in the countryside instead of transferring to the university in Tokyo. So, I have to say that you really never know…

      BUT, I do know that a lot of what made my experience so great was the fact that I made a lot of good friends at that school so I never felt bored/lonely/homesick. That is going to be a lot more difficult working as an ALT, where some of your closest JET coworkers may be hours away… It sounds like you already have a great attitude going in, so I think that you’ll be able to find a spot in your community — the locals in the countryside are a lot more hospitable than their city dweller counterparts, and they WILL take care of you. I hope that can quell some of your concerns about a potential countryside placement.

      For the most part, though, placement wasn’t on my mind when I withdrew in 2014. Honestly, I wasn’t that confident with my JET interview, and so I was putting in applications everywhere. By the time I interviewed with JET, I had already done 3-4 interviews for jobs in my actual major (IT) and I was waiting to hear back from everyone. Basically, I took the first job I heard back from, which wasn’t JET, but in my field of study instead. (Though I got my acceptance to JET not even a week later, so it was really close!) I decided to keep my original job offer because I knew I didn’t want to teach forever, and I figured one year in my field of study would be beneficial when I decided to eventually leave Japan. I had heard about the blacklisting thing, so I made sure to send my apologies about declining the next day because I heard you only get blacklisted if you turn them down after placement. I figured the more time I gave them, the more likely I’d still be in their good graces haha

      I actually did mention it in both my statement of purpose and in my interview (though I think they actually brought it up in the interview, not me…). In my statement of purpose, I just briefly mentioned it in the last paragraph. I actually managed to find my essay, and I closed with: “Though I had to turn down my acceptance into the JET Program last year, I can’t stop thinking about my decision and what could’ve been if I had accepted. However, this reinforced what I knew all along: I want to teach and help others. I know that working with JET will help me reach this goal, and I would be able to help perpetuate JET’s mission as well.”

      In my interview, they asked me why I turned them down last year, and I answered honestly and told them I wanted to take a job in my field of study, then I realized I didn’t like it and I was applying again. (They asked what job it was, I answered an IT job, and they told me JET wouldn’t pay nearly that much and if I was okay with the pay cut lol)

      I always heard the blacklisting rumors being ~after~ you receive placement and turn them down. I operated under that knowledge, and turned them down well in advance out of fear of that. My second round, though, I found out my placement (Fukuoka) and decided to back out because I wanted to be on the main island of Honshu and I just went with Interac instead… And here I am, now in Yokohama. I’m not sure what would happen if I tried applying again, and I honestly don’t want to go through the process again lol D:

      I really hope this answered some of your questions. Like I said, feel free to message again if you have any other questions/if I didn’t explain myself well enough. Or, if you have a LINE account you can message me there (and probably get a faster response, to be honest)!

      Like

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