An interview with Cody C, a 2014-2016 Hyogo Prefecture JET ALT. Cody is a flight attendant with Delta Airlines.
Tell us a little bit about your current organization and your current position.
As a flight attendant, I travel from city to city taking care of customers. Our primary responsibilities are safety focused, but, of course, we also offer a multitude of hospitality services on board. These include a drink service, meal service, cocktails if you’re on your way to a vacation spot, and a general good mood while customers travel to their destinations.
How did you end up at your current position?
Being a part of the Jet Program was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Even though I was able to be a part of a hard working community and create a disciplined work ethic, I realized that my favorite parts of the job were interacting with new people every day, becoming a part of the community, and sharing our cultures through community activities and social gatherings. This is my polite way of saying that teaching and being in an office setting wasn’t for me.
Becoming a flight attendant made sense given my need to be active and interact with people from around the world!
What skills or experiences did you gain from the JET Program that helped you get to where you are now?
As a fresh graduate from my undergraduate program, I had little experience in a formal work space. Although I realized that being in a single location for 9+ hours a day wasn’t optimal for me, the sense of accomplishment I gained from JET was immense. I became more organized, learned to foster healthy work relationships, and became more disciplined when striving to create and complete tasks for myself. I would not have the strict work ethic that I have today if I did not join the program after college, and I am forever grateful.
What advice would you give to JET participants or future JET applicants when it comes to establishing a career after JET?
When your time during JET is coming to a close, I urge everyone to reflect on what you enjoyed and what you didn’t. Every single person I met during my stay in Japan held different strengths, and I am so proud to see them follow a path that matches what they enjoy and excel at. One of my best friends from my time in JET is heavily involved in tourism in Japan still, another decided that teaching is his true calling and now teaches back in the USA, and I decided that cultural exchange was the most important to me, and I am now in the airline industry. I believe we all truly reflected on our experiences and took action to make the most logical next step.
What was your most memorable JET experience?
There are so many wonderful memories that I would feel like I am dismissing any friends and experiences if I don’t give a shout out! I’ll focus my answer based on how my journey in JET led to where I am now.
Several friends and I were lucky enough to participate in a festival during Golden Week in Himeji. We dressed up in golden overcoats and joined what looked like a conga line circling a tower in the Himeji Castle park. People were singing, cheering, and having a great time. We were able to talk to so many people with our then-good-enough Japanese. It was a truly novel experience, and I am thankful for the fact that we were able to participate. This fueled our desires to become more involved in our communities and not stay in our apartments during our off days. I believe this mentality has stayed with me, which is why I am now in a job that allows me to visit new places and become a part of each community, little by little.