William MacDonald wrote:
miami_coordinator wrote:While I'm never happy when someone says "ignore your local coordinator back home," it is true that situations do vary from person to person. When I first started out as a coordinator, I barely mentioned the recommendation that JETs bring about $2500 with them. However, I started advocating bringing (or having access to) about $2500-$3000 after I realized that a number of my new JETs actually did have to pay key money.
At least you're prepared to admit you were intially wrong Miami_coordinator, and adjusted the figure. There are many coordinators out there with their tatemae still stuck firmly in place insisting that 200 000yen is enough for anyone. This creates confusion since the person is being told one thing by the coordinator at home and a different thing by the PA in their new home prefecture. Then the person gets here and they hit serious problems because they trusted the wrong person.
Frankly the advice coordinators should be giving should be, "Plan on a minimum of 200 000yen, but your local Prefectural Advisor and successor will give you more accurate figures based on your indivual posting once that information becomes available.".
Oh, I'm definitely in favor of advocating bringing (or having access to) cash. The $2000 figure was accurate when I was a JET, but I don't think it is now, or, at least, it may not be accurate for all JETs. I boosted my money recommendations to $2,500-$3,000 after hearing from my JET who said that he needed $3,000 to secure a place. The first couple of months in a new location are always the most expensive, no matter where you move to. Moreover, JETs won't be getting their first paycheck until the end of their first month of work. On top of that, many are expecting to immediately set up transfer funds to pay off student loans. That certainly is doable, but I'd recommend JETs wait 2-3 months before setting that up (if they can) just to have a chance to stockpile a small savings cushion in Japan. That may mean having some funds left back home to cover those few months' payments.
I have heard a lot of JET alumni tell new JETs "oh, don't worry about the money thing; I didn't need it and you won't either." That may have been accurate for their situations, but there's no guarantee that a new JET will have that same experience. Even if a new JET is going to the exact same contracting organization as a JET alum who didn't have any housing expenses, Japan's economic situation is such that contracting organizations may not have available funds to help with start-up costs for their incoming JETs.