application call

JENESYS: Full Guide on How to Pass!

1:48:00 AMAdam Pascual



Tokyo, Japan -- Ah yes. The Land of the Rising Sun. Just like most of you guys, I presume, have looked up the entire cyberspace to get substantive information about the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths or more popularly known as “JENESYS”.  Unfortunately, there’s not much out there and most of the blog posts are from three years ago or written in another language.

Every year, Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) and ASEAN brings promising people to the land of the rising sun via youth government agencies of the 10 ASEAN states (plus Timor-Leste). The Philippines, where I’m proudly residing as a national, has the National Youth Commission to administer the applications.

Last Friday night, a friend of mine randomly posted an announcement from the National Youth Commission (NYC) on our group chat with regard to the call for application of the first batch (JENESYS 2015). Here's how to ace it!
Organize your life

Seriously, you need to systematically arrange the necessary documents and organize your timetable. I did my application 2 days before the deadline and it wasn't a smooth sail. Every year the National Youth Commission, who has the official communications with the Embassy of Japan, posts the necessary deliverables. Usually it depends on the theme of the JENESYS program.

Bear in mind the country-specific requirements. Some countries have a GPA ceiling of 2.5 and above (Fiji), face-to-face interviews (Indonesia/Vietnam), certificate of enrollment in a bachelors or masters (Malaysia) therefore you must follow the primary/secondary agency's specific requirement.

In this case, let us examine the typical documents needed in the Philippines --

Checklist (Philippines):
◎ NYC Application Form (with 2x2 photo)
◎ NYC Volunteers Form (for first-time applicants only)
◎ JENESYS Application Form
◎ Copy of official school registration form
◎ Copy of biodata (Passport)

Identify your "spike."

I find it odd for people being too "well-rounded." Volunteering for 700 hours, being a president in 5 organizations while learning arts and crafts at the mathematics club. Truth be told, there will always be people better than you, having 1000 more hours of volunteer work and a superstar in math decathlons.

You have to identify your "spike" and start from there. Choose one or two things that you're good at and become the best in it. Gather all of your relevant secretariat and volunteer works, key role to your organization (national/international) and academic awards.

NYC APPLICATION FORM

For the National Youth Commission International Program Application form, outline your educational background with the scholarship grants and academic awards you've received. It's important to show how you've excelled in both curricular and extra-curricular perspective.

Next is the youth-serving organization affiliations which must include the name of the organization, position, years of membership and finally the accomplishments of the organization which I believe is crucial. It took 2 extra pages for me to type the rich legacy of LPU UNESCO. Starting from 2012 up to 2015. Write the top 3 accomplishments of your organization (national or international), your secretariat work and administrative excellence backed up by statistics and figures.

The seminar/course attended gives you the opportunity to showcase your civic engagement specifically to youth empowerment. Use it wisely! Disregard if this is not included in your country's requirement.

NYC VOLUNTEERS' FORM (for first-time applicants only)

My volunteer experience was somehow, meh, but I remembered that I had too much going on with my college life. As a CIR student, we were involved in charity works and other form of volunteerism which made me fill up the form quickly. Include the name of the volunteer work, nature, type of involvement, date, duration and location. Disregard if this is not included in your country's requirement.

"In filling out the application forms, recall your achievements that are related to the theme of the program. Also, put all your efforts in making the essay. Sa tingin ko sobrang laking factor ng essay sa screening. (I think the essay is a huge factor in the screening process) - Lorelie Donn Manalo (JENESYS 2016 1st Batch Economics Philippines)

JENESYS APPLICATION FORM


This one is quite tricky (well maybe because it's in the excel format) This form basically reviews your health condition and food restrictions due to religion, customs, allergies or whatever reason you have. Fill in your expectation; deviate from the norm. (We all want to travel to Japan and to see Japanese stuff so think of another reason.)

ESSAY

JENESYS requires its applicants to create an essay. This can vary from theme to theme. In our case, we were tasked to talk about the “Youth’s Role in Japan-Philippine Relations”. Quite simple yet broad (which makes it difficult). Where do you actually start? Should you focus on the historic side or just list down what the youth could do? It’s the most grueling part of the application. 

Focus on the Philippine-Japan relations; how to strengthen the relationship and elaborate what you will do after the program. - Matthew Valdeavilla (JENESYS 2.0 Batch 2014 Philippines) 

But more importantly,  it was the most soul-searching part of the process. As a youth, you have to realize what you could do as someone with limited access to “powerful channels and tools”. In your own simple ways, how could you ultimately alter the ways of life; as far as Philippine-Japan relations are concerned. It is important to understand and integrate in the essay the geopolitical dimensions and regional/multilateral implications that generally bind youth relations despite idiosyncrasy and divergence.

"To successfully pass JENESYS, it requires that you become true to yourself. You have to express through writing what is it that you really really want and who really you are as a person. However, you have to be selective on which details you want to share to the screening board, (coz its not MMK that you have to tell everything about you and what are you passionate about). Don't forget to also ask your friends who passed the JENESYS about their experience and their style in writing the essay, they can surely help you and they can give you advices. Second, Don't make yourself a perfect person in your narrative, because if you do, you don't need this exchange program anymore. Express in your essay that you need this internship to learn more and become a better individual in the country you represent by joining the JENESYS. But, it also requires you to do some research and a lil bit of background checks about the program, Japan as a country and the thematic issue that the JENESYS will have per batch." - Raxiey Gumamera-Mendoza Adolfo (JENESYS 2012 - Disaster Management and Environmental Protection 3rd Batch Philippines) Lastly, be optimistic and believe in yourself. I still have the strong belief in the power of our mind to make things possible.

Copy of official school registration form

This one can be quite tricky or heaven-sent. Depending on your university, if this is easily downloadable on the internet, then good for you. If it's something that you have to process at the university registrar, such as a certificate of enrollment with a seal, request it as soon as possible. Disregard if this is not included in your country's requirement.

Copy of biodata (Passport)

Another heaven-sent requirement. (unless you don't have a passport...) Important: It must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your expected stay in Japan. 



COUNTRY-SPECIFIC APPLICATION

THAILAND -- In Thailand, JENESYS program is handled by the Department of Children and Youth. Check it at http://www.dcy.go.th (Selecetion and conditions dependsion JICE and the Department of Children and Youth) - Pimjam Udonboon (JENESYS 2015 - ASEAN 1st Batch Thailand)

VIETNAM --  "As far as I know, there are 2 'channels' of applying for JENESYS in Vietnam. One way is sending your application independently to the Nation Youth Union without being recommended by any local youth unions. The other way is you are recommended by your province/city's youth union, and the recommendation letter is attached into your application. In the second method, we submitted the required documents to the local youth union, then they will send it to the national one. The applicant doesn't send it directly to the nation youth union. However, the application form in both 'channels' is exactly the same.

After the applications has been thoroughly reviewed, there would be a shortlist for in-person interview. It takes place in either Hanoi or 
Hồ Chí Minh City. If the shortlisted applicant doesn't live in either two cities, he/she has to pay for the airfare and accommodation for the interview which is usually inconvenient. The interview is in English, and in my case, I was asked about my social experience, what values I learnt from it, and what I would do to promote Vietnamese culture to Japanese friends. The interview lasted for almost 20 minutes, as I remembered.

After our batch, the application process has been changed to online, and it includes an essay similar to the content of my previous interview. I am not quite sure about this change, though" - Nam Phuong (JENESYS 2015 - ASEAN 1st Batch Vietnam)

"Interview takes place aDoan Thanh Nien. No skype by the way. Interview is done in English, asking various stuff. Just don't lose your nerve when they say that you are not qualified because you are a grad in the beginning. Read the conditions carefully to be safe. Just don't let them mess up with your mind in the first part of the interview. Don't forget to smile, even if the question is hard and broad, or your weakness will be opposed. A nice goodbye, put the chair back to its place and calmly leave the room should be considered." - Toàn Khánh Nguyễn (JENESYS 2015 - ASEAN 1st Batch Vietnam)

Pray

Do you really think you could do it alone?




MORE ADVICE:

  • "Once you get accepted, read more about the history, culture, traditions, and social issues of the Philippines (or your country). Since you're going to represent the Philippines, you should know more about he country. Para din may mashare ka sa co-delegates mo from other countries. (So that you can also share something to your co-delegates from other countries) Though a lot of issues are coming out lately, you should still be proud that you're a Filipino. Another thing, learning few Japanese words will help a lot during your stay in Japan. Lastly, bring a good camera to capture the moments and an extra bag for your pasalubongs!" - Lorelie Donn Manalo (JENESYS 2016 1st Batch Economics Philippines)
  • "Well, if you ask me, I'd say you have to be confident rather than being intimidated just because it involves foreign languages and all (don't be overconfident though). Take it as a challenge, seize the opportunity since it could be a once in a lifetime experience. Some of us (Malaysian delegates) are members of Japanese club in our university and are taking Japanese for third language course so it was an advantage for us. No harm for those who doesn't know how to speak Japanese to try because it's never too late to learn. Besides, having a conversation with a real Japanese is the best way to learn and enjoy it at the same time." - Khairul Hadi (JENESYS 2015 - ASEAN 1st Batch Malaysia)
  • "Be confident to show your strength. When I applied for the JENESYS 2015 program, I just let my "Japan-love" and then passed it" - Xuân Hiếu (JENESYS2015 - ASEAN 1st Batch Vietnam)
  • "Magmaganda sa application forms! Mag effort mag isip ng mailalagay sa lahat ng fields for achievements, experiences, and skills. And sobrang gandahan niyo yung essay kasi sobrang critical niya sa screening" - Peter Avila (JENESYS 2015 - ASEAN 1st Batch Philippines)

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