Pre-Departure: Wellness in the lead up to JET

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Wellness in the lead-up to JET 

Preparation isn’t just packing and planning, of course. Mental and emotional preparation is key to cushioning the initial culture shock. We are not mental health experts, but we have the shared experience of leaving Ireland for Japan and we’d like to share a few tips that helped our transition to life in Japan. 


Manage Expectations 

Images of Japan in popular culture are widespread and varied. Like any country, each person’s preconceived notions about a culture, language and its people contribute greatly to culture shock. Japan is a country with a long history, rich traditions and unique cultural elements, but you could say the same thing about Ireland as well! Life in Japan is just as much about getting up, going to work and going to the supermarket on your way home.  

If you haven’t already, why not start watching some Japanese television? The NHK World app is free, and has English-language Japanese news coverage, documentaries and even some subtitled dramas available for on-demand cooking. There’s a focus on local interest stories to showcase areas for visitors coming from abroad, and it can be a good way to grasp Japanese localities as well as current affairs.  

Similarly, the Mainichi Shinbun has an online English version with coverage of Japanese news stories, as well as covering world news through a Japanese lens.  

If you want to research while also improving your Japanese, there’s plenty of options. NHK has their Yasashii Nihongo (Simple Japanese) News, covering the same stories they usually do, but in more simple Japanese. NHK also has full-on Japanese articles as well, of course, if you’d prefer something a bit more challenging. 


Treat Yourself 

In the runup to your departure, do all the things you like to do, especially if it’s something you can do more easily in Ireland. Maybe it’s spending time in the pub with your friends, or going to see your local team play. Whatever it is, take time for yourself before your big departure to your new home!  


Asking For Help 

The idea of moving country away from home can feel a bit daunting. We have all been there and one of the best things you can do when things feel overwhelming is to ask for help. Talk to a friend about how you are feeling, reach out to your supervisor or a fellow JET. We all want to see you succeed and do well during the programme, and more likely than not, someone else has been through a similar experience!


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