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Unread 01-06-2011, 09:08 PM   #1
FinalEVA
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The official studying / working / living in Japan thread (interested or experienced)

There are probably many that have had experiences with this and many who are interested so I thought this deserved it's own thread. Maybe this would be a good opportunity for interested people to find out stuff from people with experience.

Anyway, I studied abroad there for 6 months back in late 2008 / early 2009. It was really an amazing experience for me and I really want to go back and do an ALT program starting in fall 2012, when I complete my Masters degree. For those who have gone there, are there any good ones besides JET? I know JET is becoming increasingly competitive for Americans.

Anyway, discuss
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Unread 01-07-2011, 02:08 AM   #2
kiratsukai
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are there any good ones besides JET?

"Good" ones? If you mean a job that will provide you with 35,000$+ a year full-time employment, a 3-year visa, free job training seminars, national health insurance enrollment, housing-support and free tickets to and from your country: No.

JET is more or less the only legitimate program/agency dispatching ALTs which doesn't use loopholes in immigrant law and deceptive employment practices to deny their employees national insurance (required by Japanese law for all full-time employees), undercut pay and cut corners by putting multiple employees in single-occupancy apartments or requiring them to work out their own housing with little or no support.

The dispatch agencies and eikaiwa schools are more or less all being protested by one foreign-employment group or another for fraud or other abuses.

Many do not pay a competative wage sufficient to live in the cities where they ask you to operate unless you hold down a 2nd or 3rd job.

JET is a wonderful opportunity but is threatened by cost-cuts and a wave of popular criticism.

If you are an experienced individual who already holds a valid Japanese work visa, you may be able to be contracted directly to a school board and cut out the middleman altogether. The gig usually pays a bit less than JET but will provide you with insurance and a decent wage without a third party taking a cut.

There are also privately-run small-scale eikaiwa schools who will hire foreigners who are already in the country or recruit on a small scale through sites like gaijinpot. Some are good deals, some are worse deals than any agency could offer you... It's a lot of shooting in the dark and networking.

You should be 100% aware, however, that 99.9% of Japanese jobs for foreigners will only guarantee employment on a year-at-a-time contract basis and will offer virtually nothing in the way of job security or hope for advancement. Teaching English in Japan is certainly a job, but it isn't really a viable "career".
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Unread 01-07-2011, 06:00 AM   #3
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I studied near Osaka for a year, I'm really hoping to go back for my PhD (But not for a little while yet ^.^) - it was a really awesome experience and my language skills came on a LOT, but I was very glad I was studying and not teaching!

Anyone else here a Kansai-phile? (My old tutor still winces whenever I get excited and accidentally start slipping back into my accent )
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Unread 01-07-2011, 11:29 AM   #4
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@Kiratsukai - Thanks for the input as usual. This next semester / summer is when I will be going through my application process. Does having some experience in the Japanese language and having lived there help or hurt things? I've heard both sides. Some say they want people who are "virgin" to the Japanese culture and language.
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Unread 01-07-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brsis View Post
I studied near Osaka for a year, I'm really hoping to go back for my PhD (But not for a little while yet ^.^) - it was a really awesome experience and my language skills came on a LOT, but I was very glad I was studying and not teaching!
I studied near Osaka too! Amazing experience, if I could do it again I would without hesitation. What university did you go to?
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Unread 01-07-2011, 03:41 PM   #6
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I studied near Osaka too! Amazing experience, if I could do it again I would without hesitation. What university did you go to?
Kansai Gaikokugo Daigaku!

Three words (Well, more like five kanji): Nipponbashi. Also: Kyoto
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Unread 01-07-2011, 03:59 PM   #7
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Me too, Spring '09!
My favorite spots were definitely Umeda and Kyoto. We were really in an ideal location.
I also really miss the ramen shop near Hirakata station and Toriki.
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Unread 01-07-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FinalEvangelion View Post
@Kiratsukai - Thanks for the input as usual. This next semester / summer is when I will be going through my application process. Does having some experience in the Japanese language and having lived there help or hurt things? I've heard both sides. Some say they want people who are "virgin" to the Japanese culture and language.
Japanese language ability and travel experience are both a plus, I'd imagine... though a lot depends on what the individual school boards request in their ALTs. Some prefer blank slates. Others want applicants who can handle themselves without much help in a Japanese community or workplace.

Though either way, the pool of applicants without Japanese experience is much larger than the pool who has it. Chances are there is more demand for the language-experienced.

I've never heard of people being turned away for lack of interest or background in Japan. I was a Japanese Studies major who had lived in Japan for 2 years prior and had studied abroad in Tokyo and I made short-list no problem.

I'm told that recruiters focus on three things:
1) Teaching or tutoring experience, certifications/degrees, or any educational training
2) Travel experience, experience living abroad (anywhere in the world)
3) Sincerity of interest in either teaching English or Japan/Japanese.

If you can demonstrate at least two of the three in your application essay and interview you should be golden.
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Last edited by kiratsukai : 01-07-2011 at 07:48 PM.
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Unread 01-08-2011, 01:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiratsukai View Post

I'm told that recruiters focus on three things:
1) Teaching or tutoring experience, certifications/degrees, or any educational training
2) Travel experience, experience living abroad (anywhere in the world)
3) Sincerity of interest in either teaching English or Japan/Japanese.

If you can demonstrate at least two of the three in your application essay and interview you should be golden.
That's nice to know. I'm actually working on my college teaching certificate right now and I'm a TA at my school for the first part. I also did some official tutoring for English students while studying there. The second and third part are already taken care of as well.
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Shulk (Xenoblade Chronicles)
Link Zora Armor (LoZ: Twilight Princess)

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Unread 01-08-2011, 02:01 AM   #10
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ive lived in japan for about 5 years with 3 week visits off and on whenever i was let out for summer holiday, but this was only possible because my parents were millitary, and space a always worked for me.
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Unread 01-08-2011, 05:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genkimami View Post
Me too, Spring '09!
My favorite spots were definitely Umeda and Kyoto. We were really in an ideal location.
I also really miss the ramen shop near Hirakata station and Toriki.
Yaaaaay! I was Autumn '09 - Spring '10, so we just missed each other XD. I miss the classes so much... That, and having a MacD's on campus. Mmmm...

Toriki. I really liked that little gyoza place under the station. And the okonomiyaki restaurant behind Book Off. And the little cake shop next to one of the station exits. And... yeah, (almost) all the food was psychotically good.
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Unread 01-08-2011, 04:59 PM   #12
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I am teaching right now in Japan

pm me for some details!
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Unread 01-09-2011, 07:51 PM   #13
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I studied in Japan for two semesters from fall '07 to spring '08 (late August to late June). I recently visited again for an extended 5 week stay during fall of last year, which was fun, but was nothing compared to my amazing school year experience!

I've thought about working there, but I don't really want to go the teaching English route. I'd rather work in translation.

That said, I've heard great things about ECC as well. I have friends that have taught or are currently teaching both with JET and with ECC.

Quote:
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I am teaching right now in Japan

pm me for some details!
The thread is about sharing experiences and helping others out -- why keep it to PMs?
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Unread 01-14-2011, 08:03 PM   #14
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aww that was intended for the person who started the thread so I could give him a lot of details


I work for a company that has you teach in the public school system

The one thing I would say is that a lot of your teaching experience depends on who you work with. You might have teachers that make you do everything even though you don't get trained much or teachers that allow no freedom for you. I suppose a lot would depend on your area if you are picky about where you want to live. I was picky and I got what I wanted ; Kansai Japan.

I do not work for JET but I have many friends who do. I would say it is the best because
1.) job security: you literally have to like hit a kid to get fired from this job where as private companies are constantly having to recontract every year with cities. Some people of course take this privilege as an opprotunity to be horrible teachers but I would say most do not.
2.) JET pays for usually half of your rent every month which can save you a lot of money depending on where you live.

However, in some cases because some JETs have taken advantage of being able to show up to work hung over, late and unwilling to work and not getting fired for it JET is currently on a bit of a backlash. Many cities are looking into private companies because it it cheaper.

3.) JET pays better than a lot of private companies. My friends are easily making 700 dollars more a month than I am.

Sorry to skip back but due to the backlash. I believe you now have a 1/6 chance of getting into JET.

I applied to a lot of private companies
so there are eikaiwas to such as AEON where you go to a building and the students come to you. Depending on your hours you could be teaching nights and teaching adults who are trying to learn English after work. AEON also has a sister branch that only has you teach children. So you should consider what age group you are willing to teach. When I applied to AEON I was told I was probably going to be put up by Tokyo which I didn't want. So getting back to location take that into consideration.

I have some research on private companies I did when I was looking around and that would be for some one to pm me because that is a lot of stuff to send out.

So
consider
how long you want to teach ( I said probably 2 years)
where
ages for students
and whether you want to do eikaiwa or be in a public school system

tada!


ps! don't even mention anything about being into cosplay or anime when you apply they don't like that.
and if you are serious about teaching you need to be outgoing enough to laugh at yourself, make a fool out of yourself, and take criticism well!
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