Since I became interested in Japanese culture in middle school I knew that I wanted to go to Japan one day. I just didn’t know how since I knew my family wouldn’t be able to go there on vacation. Now as an overzealous college student I’ve often looked for ways to go abroad during my time off and after college. These opportunities can be found all over the internet but rarely can the information be found all in one place. Therefore, I’m going to share what I’ve found in a series of blogs to make it easier for others interested in going to Japan. I will start with the most common and most relevant to college seniors and graduates: teaching English.
Teaching English in Japan
Pretty much anyone who’s considering teaching abroad in Japan has heard of JET. The JET Program is sponsored by the Japanese government. There are plenty of articles explaining the JET program far better than I could so I will only touch briefly on it. Since it is government sponsored it is the main way to work directly in Japanese schools. There are two types of positions: ALT& CIR. Most applying will be ALTs, Assistant Language Teachers, in which you are paired with a Japanese teacher of English in school from any level between elementary to high school. You can state your preference of where you would like to be live but you can be placed anywhere in Japan depending on where teachers are needed. Current compensation is 280,000 jpy/month. Housing costs will vary depending on where you are placed. Another bonus with JET is that your flight to Japan and back home are covered by the program (compared to Eikawas where you pay yourself).
More details on JET can be found on the official website.
The other way in which you can teach English in Japan is at an Eikaiwa; companies where English instruction is their business. Therefore you would be teaching lessons at the company’s location instead of in a Japanese school. This is the biggest difference between teaching for JET vs.Eikaiwa. In JET, you are an assistant teacher and are paired with a Japanese teacher which means your work can vary from simply helping the teacher during lesson, teaching some lessons, or having all the work on you. At Eikaiwas you are teacher. You are given the curriculum and teach lessons yourself. I’ve found that teaching abroad opportunities that are not JET are not spoken of as much. So here are a few of the bigger companies that are accommodating to English speakers:
AEON and Amity – Aeon and Amity are run by the same company. Aeon teaches all ages from infant to adult whereas Amity specializes in teaching children. Those interested can apply to both but are asked to say so on their application.
- Aeon housing cost: max 55,000 jpy/month
- Amity housing cost: 45,000 jpy/month
- compensation(both): 270,000 jpy/month
- compensation: between 230,000 and 250,000 jpy/month
- compensation: 252,000 jpy/month
ittti – teaches children from toddlers to adolescents.
- compensation: 240,000 jpy/month
- housing cost: average 55,000 jpy/month
There are many, many more Eikaiwas than those mentioned here and in the preparation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, there are plenty of opportunities to teach in Japan. I have not yet personally experienced teaching in Japan however I plan to upon graduating and I wanted to share what I have found in my preemptive job searching. If you would like to know more personal accounts from those who have worked through JET or one of these companies I suggest searching for personal blogs and company review sites like glassdoor.com. And don’t worry if you know very little or no Japanese at all. Although knowing some Japanese may help your daily life while living in Japan it is not required to work for JET and most Eikaiwas.
Just be wary when applying (i.e. make sure the company will sponsor a work visa, has a reputation for paying on time, and will provide or assist you with housing if you are nervous about finding your own) and happy job hunting!