Leaving on a JET plane for Lower Hutt's sister city in Minoh, Japan

 L to R: Hannah Van Vliet, Malcolm Pimentel, Mayor Ray Wallace, Martin Wabnitz, April Sului, Thomas Palmer

L to R: Hannah Van Vliet, Malcolm Pimentel, Mayor Ray Wallace, Martin Wabnitz, April Sului, Thomas Palmer

Five young people from Lower Hutt will soon be heading to Minoh,  Japan to teach English on the JET (Japan Exchange Teaching) programme. Minoh in Osaka has been Lower Hutt’s Sister City for 21 years.

The new JETs: Hannah Van Vliet, Malcolm Pimentel, Martin Wabnitz, April Sului, Thomas Palmer, all met with Mayor Wallace to talk about their exciting opportunity to travel to Minoh, immerse themselves in Japanese culture, represent Lower Hutt and teach English as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) in Primary and Junior High Schools for a minimum of one year.  

 Tour of Hutt Minoh House in Normandale

Tour of Hutt Minoh House in Normandale

To apply for the JET programme, applicants must have completed a university degree in any subject before going through a rigorous international application process.

It has taken about nine months since applying to be finally selected.  The JET programme is supported by the Embassy of Japan in Wellington who coordinate all the NZ applications.  The final decision was made by the Japanese Council of Local And International Relations (CLAIR) in Tokyo, who recently advised the successful applicants of their new city for the next year.  

Thomas has already had some experience mentoring and tutoring students at university so assisting in classes will not be totally new to him. Malcolm is multilingual and has completed a degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Hannah has completed an honours degree in Japanese language and Martin has also studied Japanese so they have a head start on their colleagues who are learning the basics of Japanese language and culture prior to leaving at the end of the month. Only April has been to Japan before as she has a sister already on the JET programme.

 Talking about the importance of the sister city relationship with Mayor Ray Wallace.

Talking about the importance of the sister city relationship with Mayor Ray Wallace.

Mayor Wallace was pleased to meet these young Ambassadors who will not only teach English in Minoh schools but will interact with locals promoting their home town and strengthening the Lower Hutt-Minoh Sister City relationship.  

 Four of the new JETs taking part in the monthly Skype session with citizens of Minoh and Lower Hutt.

Four of the new JETs taking part in the monthly Skype session with citizens of Minoh and Lower Hutt.

Minoh City Mayor Kurata is thrilled to receive so many young people from Lower Hutt to live and teach in Minoh for the first time in over ten years, since a similar programme finished in 2006.  The new JETs will also be very involved with the Hutt Friendship Club, based in Minoh,  who Skype with their counterparts in Lower Hutt each month to discuss topics of mutual  interest.  It will be great to see local faces in Minoh and hear about their experiences. It is just another example of the growing intercultural engagement and continued internationalisation between our sister cities.

If you would like to find out more about the JET programme, see www.nz.emb-japan.go.jp/culture_education/JET.html 

And if you would like to find out more about Lower Hutt's sister city Minoh, you're in the right place!