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How can I GET on the Peace Boat?

January 8, 2013

1. How can I get on the Peace Boat?
READ ME!! Do you meet the qualifications?  Are you in favor of peace?  Do you maintain a peaceful existence?

2. Hey Chance,

Thanks a ton for offering to answer some of my questions about the application process. I heard about Peace Boat about a year ago and have become practically obsessed with the possibility of volunteering on it. I’m in my second year teaching in South Korea and have loads of experience back home as a social worker in the field of Children’s Mental Health. But these are unimportant details. I scoured over your blog and everything you mentioned about your time volunteering. So amazing. You mentioned the application process was pretty competitive. Were you in Japan for the interview or did you do it internationally? (I’ll be in Korea when I apply.) Do you have any additional tips on specifics of what they are looking for when it comes to candidates? What were your work hours like? Were you given some time to explore each destination, as well? Anyways, I really appreciate your feedback and any additional thoughts/ comments/ tips you might have as I attempt to get my mittens involved in this incredibly opportunity.

Sounds like we have very similar backgrounds. I too was teaching in Korea and interviewed from there. Another teacher on the boat also taught in Korea but decided to travel to Japan for the interview. I also have a background serving the mentally ill and used that to my advantage in the application. The Peace Boat was very important to me so I spent a lot of time making sure my application was as good as I could make it. I had my Korean co-teachers review my lesson plans.  I outlined my experience with mental illness and disabilities for my jishukikaku. The GET coordinators are looking for people who will enhance the trip. People with backgrounds or experience that relates to the ports.   As a GET teacher, you get to explore most of the ports on your own with the exception of 1 or 2.  The job itself was a lot of fun and you will absolutely fall in  love with your students. I too was obsessed when I learned about it so maybe direct that energy into the application.  The fact that it is split into 3 parts will allow you to emphasize your greatest contribution, whether it be extraordinary English teaching prowess (which would be emphasized in your résumé or sample teaching), being a creative force on the ship (creative video submission) or just fun to be around (as demonstrated in your interview).  The application was a lot of work but absolutely worth it. Good luck!

Hey Chance

Thanks again for the response and the tips. They were definitely helpful! So helpful in fact that I landed an interview for next week! I’ll be doing the interview on Skype and have prepared like crazy. Are there any tips you can give about the actual interview? I have pretty limited Japanese and am wondering if that is going to put me at a disadvantage? What other questions can I expect besides the usual interview questions? Thanks again for all of your help!
Congratulations! I would be ready to answer questions regarding your teaching philosophy.  I literally googled interview questions and studied 100’s of those quite thoroughly. The area I struggled with most was what I knew about Japan. I had never been and really did not know much about the country. Really embarrassing. Don’t worry about the language thing unless that is one of your selling points. I didn’t know a single word of Japanese. I was also asked to share a joke. Good Luck!

3. Hi Chance!

 Thank you so much. So yes, I am thinking of applying for the 79th voyage which leaves on April 1st. Right now I am teaching kindergarten in Tokyo and my contract is due to end on March 20th. So the timing would be perfect. I’m also from Belfast in Northern Ireland which is one of the stops on the voyage – might be a selling point. I did the JET Programme when I was 22 in Fukuoka for 1 year and did a 9-month world trip in 2007/08. In between that I was the senior writer for the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, writing TV/radio etc to entice people to visit the country. So as you can see my qualifications aren’t rooted in teaching. I know the voyage isn’t so much about the destinations but the experiences you have on board. You seem to have thoroughly enjoyed it, so would you recommend it? Specifically how did you find 1) seasickness and 2) having to share a cabin for 3 months (I’m a very light sleeper, it may drive me mad!) 3) what did you dislike about the journey? I know it’s a negative question, but better to know about the negatives than the positives! I realise I may not have a very good shot of getting on it, but I think I will apply. The only downside would be not knowing what to do once I get off the boat! I’d be risking my life living here in Tokyo by going on the voyage. Anyway, keep blogging!
It was just so wonderful.  I’ve been off the boat for a little under 2 months now and cannot seem to find anything to do with myself. l just hope the PB didn’t ruin all future experiences, as they feel pretty lackluster.  I guess that is the biggest drawback.  All other experiences pale in comparison. And the food really sucked! After 3 months, that boat food became nearly intolerable. Everything else about the boat was extraordinary and I’d definitely recommend throwing your hat in the ring. To answer your questions:
1) Seasickness was an issue for some. There are things you can do to manage it via medicine, which causes extreme exhaustion. Some people relied on pressure points but I’m not sure if it was successful.  I think you get used to it though.  Parts of the journey are full of rocking and pitching, other parts are smooth.

2)Sharing a cabin was not a problem.  Those in charge took great effort to match us up with roommates that were compatible.  Mine was a saint. She slept right under me and I barely knew she was in the room.  Honestly, this was a big concern for me as well, as I am a bit of a loner and  prefer massive quantities of space, but it just didn’t matter. She was quiet and respectful, as was I. 

3)  Dislikes: see above.

Good Luck!
4. Hi Chance, 
 I’m so happy I stumbled onto your blog!  I am an English teacher in Korea (been here 2.5 years now) and hoping to teach on the Peace Boat once my contract is up here in March.  I am starting to compile stuff for the application and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about the process.  I’m not sure of what level students to prepare a lesson for and what they’re looking for in terms of the lessons/interview etc (if I’m so lucky to get one).  If you have a moment, could you email me with a bit of info or tips for how to prepare for all of this?  Thank you very much!!  Enjoy the rest of your trip!

Hi- Good to hear from you. We just got off Peace Boat 2 days ago and I haven’t even left Yokohama yet. Today I prepare to hand over this amazing position as GET teacher to a new team.  VERY VERY SAD! The application process was long and difficult for me.  I applied from Korea.  It was very frustrating having to submit a part of the application and then wait to see if you made it through to the next round.  It required some endurance, which was probably intentional, but the effort was well worth it. The GET students were all adults and the lesson plans need to be task-based, versus PPP.  Your OPEN Class Lesson Plan submission leaves more room for flexibility. Be creative!!  Korea has such wickedly bright teachers, I would ask someone for help if you are confused about all that.  I don’t have a lot of suggestions for the application because I don’t know what other people submitted but I definitely recommend reading over the application requirements VERY carefully. (see above) I studied and outlined everything, as though it were a scientific journal. Good luck to you and please feel free to ask if you have any further, more specific questions.  To tell you the truth, I don’t know how I ended up on the boat. My interview sucked!  However, I guess they must look for certain character traits to create a well-rounded group.  Just be yourself!

5. Hello there Chance,

I’m determined to volunteer on the Peace Boat at the end this year and was wondering if I could please pick your brain about the application process? Was your application accepted the first time, or did you have to apply a few times before being accepted? Are there hidden costs involved? I know it would be hard work and I wouldn’t be getting paid, but it still seems like its too good to be true. I tick most of the criteria – I taught ESL in Japan for 18 months and volunteer for NGOs – is there a particular criteria they value over others? Anything else I should know?? Thank you so much for any help you can provide 🙂


I was fortunate that my application was accepted the first time but was also completely prepared to apply again.  There are different coordinators for each voyage and one could never really be sure what specifically each coordinator is seeking in a GET.  As a volunteer, the cost of your room and board are covered.  We were also given some coupons for food and beverage on the ship and money for a tour at one of the ports. The only unexpected costs that arose was for getting extra pages put into my passport at the last-minute. You need to have 5 available and I only had 4. Expediting that cost a fortune. Other costs that are clearly laid out for you during the application include transportation to and from Japan and lodging after orientation before the ship leaves Yokohama.   I would never call the Peace Boat ‘hard’ work.  We stayed busy but the work was fun.  It was such a great teaching experience having self-directed, genuinely motived students.  I always looked forward to my classes.  Other responsibilities that arise were also generally fun and enriched the experience on board the ship. Sounds like this might be a good fit for you.  Good luck! If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.


I’ve also included my sample lesson plan submission featured above. In reflecting back, I could have been more student centered but task-based lesson plans are a challenge with very low level students due to limited vocabulary. On the boat, I ended up teaching one of the higher level classes. Having never taught at that level, I discovered my own learning curve. My first few lessons were all over the place, but as the voyage progressed I began to understand that my students really just wanted an opportunity to speak in English. That was certainly easy enough to provide. Filling out post cards, ordering food from restaurants, asking for directions, and opinions about issues related to the voyage were all fun topics and suitable to accomodate a level-differenciated classroom.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Wanda Wynn permalink
    July 23, 2013 6:42 am

    Hi there,
    My husband and I just applied for volunteer positions as ESL teachers aboard the 81st voyage coming up in November. We are currently living in South Korea and teaching ESL. We are both older, I am 49 years old and he is 64. Do you think there is the slightest possiblity that we have a chance at being given an interview or selected as a teacher since we are older. We are both in great health, look younger than we are, have the teaching experience along with lots of volunteer experience. I feel confident that we look good on paper but am a little concerned that age may play a huge factor. Any thoughts?? Thanks.

    • July 23, 2013 7:19 am

      I have to assume that the Peace Boat GET coordinators do NOT discriminate against applicants based on age. I’m 34 and wasn’t even the oldest teacher. Just find a way to use your ‘life experience’ to your advantage. You probably have a lot to offer. I don’t think they choose applicants in pairs though. I knew a man who got selected and his wife did not. Good Luck!

  2. Wanda Wynn permalink
    April 23, 2014 4:07 am

    Hello again Chance,

    I have another questions. One year later…. what type of documents did you have to provided once you were accepted as a volunteer? I want to make sure I have every thing ahead of time should I get invited this year. By the way, my husband and I were invited for an interview last year but declined after we decided that this year would be better for us. Thanks for your previous post to my question.


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