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JET as single parent 2018/12/30 08:13
I am a single mom to a three year old. I have already applied and am awaiting hearing about an interview at the moment. I've heard a lot of good opinions from people about being families on the program, but not a whole lot from single moms. I am obviously pretty optimistic, but I also know there will be hardships as a single mom no matter where I am. I'm mostly worried about finances as I DON'T have the money other than credit to pay upfront costs due to currently being in school on loans etc. I'm not worried about discrimination to myself as being a single mom I get plenty of that here in the US. I'm worried about my son's education. Since he is only 3, will be 4 by the time we go, he is going to need to be in preschool in addition to childcare so I'm just curious about best options there. Any advice is appreciated.
by Renee O'Dea (guest)  

Re: JET as single parent 2018/12/31 12:02
Once you have been accepted and found out where you'll be placed is when you need to start the planning and questions, and I recommend finding a JET forum (like the ones on reddit) versus a forum more geared toward travelers, like this one. You're not going to find as many people with your same experience here.

That said, I can give some basic information. Starting October of 2019, preschool will become "free" for children 3 to 5 years old. I say "free" in parenthesis, because right now while the cost of hoikuen is based on income, the hoikuen my family is interested in for my daughter includes extra fees on top of that. However that depends on the hoikuen, and we'll see what changes when the bill actually goes into affect. For now, just note that the cost is based on income, and depending on the place you enroll in there might be fees or school lunch charged in addition. From when you arrive and start your work, to October, you may need to pay a few extra months. That you'll need to talk directly to your city hall about. As a single working mom you will be eligible for first consideration for hoikuen, so unless you're in a huge city like Tokyo where the demand is high, you probably don't need to worry about not getting a spot. You'll most likely have options to choose from. But again it's heavily based on where you'll be placed, which you wont know until June or so.

Also just as a note not directly related to your question about childcare, JET recommends setting aside at least $3000 for initial start up costs of moving to a new place. Some people don't spend anything, some people spend twice that, so that's just an average. I recommend saving now; credit cards are becoming more widely used in Japan, but there are still many places and situations where they are not taken at all, and if that's all you have you may run into some problems. Some BOEs will loan salary ahead of time, others are strict. You're going to want to plan to have as much cash on hand as possible. Just a heads up.
by Murny (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: JET as single parent 2018/12/31 13:26
Try here ,
as above poster said you'll get more relevant answer there.
by @.. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: JET as single parent 2018/12/31 16:37
If you cannot afford moving and startup costs. Dont consider it. Doing it on credit is a recipe for disaster. JET doesn't pay good enough to pay back huge debts.

Your start up and living expenses will be higher than quoted everywhere, as you are doing it for 2 persons.

As for kindergarden or preschool. Do some heavy research. This subject had been a huge issue for Japan for many years. And yes Abe had announced that it will be free for all from next year. But that doesn't mean as many places as many children want places will be available right away.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: JET as single parent 2018/12/31 23:05

Since you're in the USA, I would contact your local/state level JET Program and its alumni as well. You specifically want to contact alumni in the USA if that is where you are from to get a more apt picture because I suspect Japanese Pre-School costs are way lower than the costs in the USA. I would check to see if your current town or any place you have lived significant time has a sister city in Japan and see if it is an area you might want to live.

The salaries for most JETs are really not that bad, they're the same as a first year teacher. Nearly all the JETs I've known were able to save money and send it home on the program, and many of them still traveled about. It's not like saving money as a regular English teacher which is nigh near impossible. Medical insurance in Japan is so much cheaper than in the USA.

Start up costs really do vary though. My friend who was a JET in Kainan was happy with her apartment and slowly added elements to it, so her starting outlay was not as bad. My friend who was a JET in Tanabe (they started at the same time) was in a dive and spent quite a bit of money upfront moving and renting a new apartment in town. Based on a conversation with an American employee at my hotel in Kyoto this Summer, JETs are still using the apartment she found in Tanabe. Some JETs can just get by with a cheap bike, but others really need a car. My friend in Tanabe had a 2nd floor walk up and my friend in Kainan had a 5 or 6 floor walk up. It was not fun with suitcases.

Be aware, I've never heard of a JET being in Tokyo, Nagoya or Osaka proper and I only know of one JET who was ever in Kyoto proper. (She also had the smallest apartment of the JETs I knew....) The fact that JETs tend to be placed someplace more rural means you might not have as many Pre-school choices and I can't imagine there is one that is in English. On the bright side being somewhere outside the major cities really does cut down on costs. I've known JETs who were placed in: Aomori, Toyama, Mito, Kainan, Kyoto, Kameoka, Tanabe, Kumamoto, somewhere on Shikoku (we were not as close), and Saitama-ken. Most really loved it and several have stayed on in Japan.

Good luck! And if JET doesn't work out and you want to still teach in Japan, I would look into being a civilian teacher on a US military base. I knew a single mother who did that, though her son was much older (high school age) than yours. I would avoid a lot of the programs that have you teaching English in Japan outside of JET. They tend to have non-family friendly hours and schedules.
by rkold rate this post as useful

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