The Auckland JET Alumni Association (Auckland JETAA) was founded in 1998 as an organisation for past and current members of the Japan Government JET Programme. It is run by an executive committee and currently has about 400 members in its database. As one of several JET Alumni associations in New Zealand, Auckland JETAA covers the top half of the North Island.
Auckland JETAA’s primary purpose is to promote the JET programme and to help boost awareness of Japan in the greater Auckland region. Auckland JETAA works closely with the local Japanese Consulate to help select and prepare new JET participants for their time in Japan. We also have long standing relationships with the Japan Society (nihonjinkai), the New Zealand Japan Society of Auckland (NZJS), the Auckland City Council and other Japan related organisations in Auckland and throughout New Zealand.
We hold monthly committee meetings, social events and are always looking for ways to promote the New Zealand-Japan relationship.
Please take the time to look through our website for more information about who we are, what we do, and links to social media sites. Information on the JET programme can be found here.
Meet the team.
President & Webmaster - Dewi Phan
2018 - 2021 (Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture)
Experience on JET: Kagoshima is known as the Nepal of Japan and was voted the place with the friendliest people and I can tell you both facts are correct! It is humid and hot there in the Summer with a mix of fresh ash from the active Volcano. The people are the nicest people around and will help a random stranger on the road even without being able to communicate. I loved my students and schools and I was lucky to have been to 5 junior high school and visited 3 elementary schools. It's hard work in communicating and managing the teachers to talk to you about classes but its all about boundaries and communication channels (I used LINE and visited them when I was at School). For me: the friends I made and students I taught and teachers I worked with made this experience and I don't regret even though I experienced every low you could have in Japan (mental, physical, social and medical situations).
My advice for DEPARTING JETs: Go with minimal expectation and lots of researched knowledge so you don't get blindsided by things. Just expect a job, schools and a place to stay. Everything else is a bonus. ^_^
Vice-President - Ian Wu
2015 - 2017 (Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture)
Experience on JET: I was situated literally at the base of Mount Fuji, and worked at just the one Senior High School for my 2 years.
My advice for DEPARTING JETs: Get a motorised vehicle of some sort if you are in anything that isn’t a metropolis! Even if you are lucky everything is in walking distance, it will give you so much more independence in what you can see and do.
Secretary - Jeannine Boutin Flegel
2016 - 2018 (Kobe City, Hyōgo Prefecture)
Experience on JET: I was placed in Kobe city and worked at one JHS and two ES. I lived in a suburb outside of the city centre was so appreciative of the local community group that welcomed the JETs in the area. I loved getting to celebrate seasonal events and participate in community projects in my suburb.
My advice FOR Japan: Attitude is key! Leave your expectations at home; be flexible and ready to make the most of whatever your placement offers you (every situation really is different)! Reach out for help when you need it - to someone in your school, BOE or the wider JET community. And keep a blazer at school in case you have a formal event with no notice!
Treasurer – Horace Yeung
2016 – 2017 (Tochigi Prefecture, Otawara)
Experience on JET:
My advice for DEPARTING JETs:
Departing JETs Liason - Helen Trinh
2015 - 2017 (Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture)
Experience on JET: Takayama City is off the beaten track, nestled in the Japanese Alps and has as much history and tradition as Kyoto. I was lucky enough to work only at 1 elementary school and 1 junior high school for the duration of my time in Takayama, so I had really solid relationships with the teachers I worked with and got to know the students pretty well due to my stable schedule. I was one of about 15 ALTs in the city and actually shared my junior high school with another American ALT. I’ve made lifelong friendships with fellow ALTs and the teachers and staff I worked with and am still in touch with some of the students I was fortunate enough to teach. Overall, my experience was quite positive with its own unique challenges and opportunities but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. My only regret is not eating more haha!
My advice for DEPARTING JETs: Save up and take as much money as you can to make your start up easier and be brutally honest and realistic with what you ACTUALLY need to pack in your suitcase. If you think you’ve culled enough, you haven’t, do it again. Because one day, you’re going to have to bring everything and more back….
Country Representative & Social Media Manager (Instagram) - Kendra Sim
2015 - 2017 (Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture)
Experience on JET: If you want cheap fugu (pufferfish), this is the place to go! Located at the bottom tip of Honshu, you can literally see Kyushu from the wharf! Shinzo Abe's hometown too. Bless his soul.
My advice for DEPARTING JETs: Go with an open mind with no expectations. There will be a lot of personal growth and everything that you experience will be life changing.
Social Media Manager (Facebook) - Kimberley Rothville
2010 - 2014 (Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture)
Experience on JET: I taught at about 15 different elementary schools over the years I was on JET, from tiny little 1 student mountain schools that took more than an hour to get to, to huge urban schools with around 1000 students. I had some amazing experiences (well, a tonne of amazing experiences) and plenty of amazing colleagues who helped me out along the way. I met some of my closest friends while on JET too.
My advice for DEPARTING JETs: You will never be able to account for every scenario you might face on JET, so just take everything as it comes JET will challenge you in unpredictable ways, but you'll also have so many highlights and memories that will last forever. - My advice for returning JETs is that reverse-culture shock is real, so be kind to yourself as you try to settle back in. Give yourself space, and don't expect to hit the ground running from the moment you land