arisha: (vampire scrabble)
[personal profile] arisha
Oh man, super awkward story that I keep forgetting to tell!!!

So my JET interview featured three interviewers, as is the norm. A young woman who was the former JET, a young Japanese man but I forget where he worked, and an older man who only told me his name and that he was "from UBC." I never wrote about my interview due to fear of jinxing it and now that I have finally got around to it I am going to be lazy and only write about the awkward part hahaha.

So as you may remember, I volunteered in Peru for two months in 2010. This being my major international experience during the time I was applying for JET, it featured pretty heavily in my application, but my interviewers only brought it up when the guy from UBC asked about the organization I went with, saying, "I've heard of this organization. It's quite religious."

I don't know if this is true or not, but I'd read that JET interviewers will occasionally say something that's incorrect just to see how you respond. So I said, "As far as I know, it's not a religious organization." (Because truth be told, I wouldn't have gone with them if they were.)

He continued with, "No, I'm sure of it, they're really religious," and then followed with his question: "How much does religion motivate you in your interest in teaching in Japan?"

Being asked that question really felt like a complete disconnect in my brain. Religion features in my life about as little as it is possible for religion to feature in a person's life. This question is even more bizarre to me now that I can say that I have been asked to come to church more times while in Japan than I have ever been asked at home. Now, I knew that interviewers are not allowed to ask about your religion, but I didn't/still don't know the specific details of that and I didn't know what to do when it happened in an interview for a job I really wanted. I thought of telling them that religion didn't have anything to do with my interest in JET, but I was afraid they might not believe that or they might keep asking about it, and I really wanted to get away from this topic completely because it had nothing to do with me at all!! So I answered, "I'm not religious." Which is true and got them to drop it.

When I told my dad afterwards he was kind of horrified and all "They're not allowed to ask about that!!" and I was like I knooooow but I didn't know what to doooooooooo.

I saw my two male interviewers once more at the pre-departure meeting in Vancouver. The Japanese guy told me that he'd been hoping I would be accepted, which was super nice of him and actually still makes me happy when I think of it. When I saw guy-from-UBC, however, I guess I came to the conclusion that awkward assumptions are his thing. He asked where my placement was and when I told him he said, "Oh wow, I heard that area was really badly hit by the tsunami." I tried to tell him that my placement was nowhere near the water and that according to both my predecessor and her neighbour the town had been badly shaken by the earthquake but had quickly recovered. He interrupted and said, "I remember hearing about that area - it's in real bad shape."

So at that point I just nodded.
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July 2015

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