Backtrack #8: Another Home For Me (Joshua Aresty, Matsuyama ALT 2009-2011)

Joshar

What’s your name, when and where was your placement, and where are you from originally?

My name is Joshua Aresty.  I’m from Boston, Massachussetts in the United States.  I was placed at Hojo high school in Ehime Japan from 2009 to 2011.  I went with my wife Tara Trent who was stationed at Matsuyama West middle and high school in Matsuyama.

How did you find out about JET, and what led you to apply?

In Boston I worked at the MIT language learning and resource center for some years and studied Japanese as part of my work. My Japanese professors recommended the Jet Programme to me.

What did you hope to achieve on JET, and did that change during your time here?

When I went on Jet I didn’t have a very clear objective; it just seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up since my wife and I were open to going together. How many chances do you have in life to go on an adventure for years with your loved ones?

What is your lasting impression of the work you did on JET and the communities you were part of?

Matsuyama became another home for me. I miss it as much as I miss my hometown in America. The Japanese countryside is a warm and peaceful place to live. My work on JET was since of the most rewarding work I have ever done because it is so different from the rest of my career. 

Where did JET lead you?

JET gave me countless opportunities to practice leadership. I had the opportunity to teach, the opportunity to learn about another culture, and the opportunity to choose things to invest in with my time.  I founded the Matsuyama toastmasters club, which became a legacy that will stick with me forever.  

Right now, some incoming JETs have been delayed by more than a year, and are in the difficult position of choosing to indefinitely wait for Japan to open up or to give up on coming here. Do you have any comments or advice for them during this time?

Going to Japan was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  It’s worth the wait, if you can still do it!

If you had been in their position, do you think you would have gone on JET if you’d been in limbo for a year?

I would like to say yes.  If I had been waiting I’m not sure what I would have been thinking, since I wouldn’t have had the experience yet. Looking back, it was such a worthwhile experience that I would recommend taking the opportunity to anyone who is considering it, regardless of having waited or not. 

Josha

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