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Live And Teach In Japan - The Experience Of A Lifetime - Articles Surfing
You may not have considered it, but many people both young and old are heading off to teach English in Japan every day. It can be a life changing and very rewarding experience. Making the big move to Japan whether it be for a short working holiday, or if you plan to live in Japan for a longer duration, can sound daunting but you will get plenty of assistance from your school and employer-to-be.
There are a large number of conversational English schools in Japan and among the bigger and best known ones are Geos, ECC, Berlitz and Nova. Most people that go to teach in Japan start off by attending a local information session. After going through with the interview process your suitability for the role will be assessed. A sense of adventure and an enthusiastic spirit is as must. Actually, you don't even need any teaching experience and being too good at the Japanese language could also be to your detriment!
Those that teach English in Japan will soon pick up the Japanese language as they go along. If you are really keen to learn Japanese first you could try checking out the Pimsleur series of audio lessons which I thoroughly recommend. Learning to speak Japanese can seem an intimidating experience in the beginning, but if you study gradually you'll soon figure out the essentials needed to get by in daily life. By actually being in Japan, the Japanese immersion experience ensures that you are going to learn a great deal faster, rather than pounding away at the books trying to learn the kanji symbols and theory before you have anyone to practice speaking with.
Your school will arrange your airfare to Japan and when you arrive at the other end you will usually be greeted at the airport by an experienced staff member. After you go through a few weeks of training and staying in a hotel or share house, you will then be assigned to your school. But that could be anywhere from the middle of Tokyo to way out in the countryside. It's important not to get too fond of the idea of living in a big city because it's very likely you could be posted to a distant and small country town. But that's all part of the adventure!
As part of your posting you will most likely receive your own desk in a shared office. Japan is well known for maximising it usage of small spaces and you will find that your teachers' office is no exception! Here you will be required to prepare for your ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons and do any other paperwork that may be required such as evaluating students and marking tests. At the end of a hard day's teaching, it's traditional to go out eating and drinking with your new found Japan friends. Typically this is to a Japanese tavern called an izakaya and you may even get your own private room complete with those delightful wooden and paper shoji screens.
Your school's staff and other experienced teachers will explain all the necessary information to survive, including helping you get your own Japanese cell phone (keitai), arranging your accommodation, sorting out your bills and showing you the best places to eat and go grocery shopping in Japan. If you have any problems you can always call on them to help you out.
Should your country have good diplomatic relations with Japan, working holiday visas are easier to get and let you live in Japan for up to 18 months depending upon the arrangement. For a full work visa you will need a proper diploma or degree, however it can be in any discipline and does not have to be related to teaching. For more advice regarding visas I recommend you contact your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. Also the school you decide to go with will be able to help you with more specific information.
The experience of going to teach English in Japan is an absolutely amazing one that you will never forget. If you have been putting it off I recommend you just jump right into it and see where life takes you!
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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