Moving to Japan to TEFL and Teach English

Moving to Japan to teach English is a dream for a lot of people. Japan is a beautiful country with a rich culture, delicious food, and friendly people. However, moving to Japan can also be a daunting experience, particularly if you have never lived overseas before. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to prepare to move to Japan as an English teacher.

Step 1: Research the Job Market

The first step in preparing to move to Japan as an English teacher is to research the job market. While there is a demand for English teachers in Japan, the competition for jobs can be fierce. It’s important to research the different types of jobs available, as well as the requirements and qualifications necessary for each position.

Some of the most common types of English teaching jobs in Japan include:

– Assistant Language Teacher (ALT): ALTs work in public schools throughout Japan and assist with teaching English classes. Most ALT positions require a bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience, or a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL.

– English Conversation Teacher: English conversation teachers work at private language schools or eikaiwas, teaching English conversation to students of all ages. These positions usually require a TEFL certificate or equivalent and may require a bachelor’s degree.

– University English Instructor: University English instructors teach English to university students. These positions usually require a master’s degree in English or a related field, as well as teaching experience.

It’s important to research the different types of jobs available and determine which one is the best fit for your qualifications and experience. Once you have identified the type of job you are interested in, you can start searching for job postings and applying for positions.

Step 2: Obtain the Necessary Qualifications

In order to teach English in Japan, you will need to have the necessary qualifications. The exact qualifications required will depend on the type of job you are applying for, but in general, you will need a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate or equivalent.

A TEFL certificate is a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. This certificate is recognized by many language schools and is often required for English teaching jobs in Japan. There are many TEFL courses available online, and it’s important to choose a reputable course that will provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective English teacher.

In addition to a TEFL certificate, some English teaching jobs in Japan may require additional qualifications, such as a master’s degree or teaching experience. It’s important to research the specific requirements for each job and ensure that you have the necessary qualifications before applying.

Step 3: Learn the Language

While it’s not necessary to be fluent in Japanese in order to teach English in Japan, learning some basic Japanese can be helpful in making the transition to living in Japan. Knowing some basic Japanese phrases can help you navigate everyday situations, such as ordering food at a restaurant or asking for directions.

There are many resources available for learning Japanese, including language schools, online courses, and language exchange programs. It’s important to find a method of learning that works for you and fits within your budget.

Step 4: Obtain a Visa

In order to work in Japan as an English teacher, you will need to obtain a visa. The type of visa you need will depend on the type of job you are applying for.

In order to obtain a working visa, you will need to provide proof of your qualifications and a job offer from a Japanese employer. The visa application process can take several months, so it’s important to start the process early and ensure that you have all of the necessary documents.

If you qualify, you may be eligible for a working holiday visa. This is open to citizens of some commonwealth countries who are under 30 years of age.

Step 5: Prepare for the Move

Moving to Japan as an English teacher can be an exciting and life-changing experience, but it also requires a significant amount of preparation. Here are some additional steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition:

1. Research the Culture

Japan has a unique and complex culture that can be both fascinating and challenging for foreigners. It’s important to research the culture and customs of Japan before moving there, in order to avoid any cultural misunderstandings and to better integrate into Japanese society.

Some key cultural aspects to be aware of include:

– Etiquette: In Japan, there are many rules and customs regarding etiquette, such as removing shoes before entering a home, bowing as a form of greeting, and not speaking loudly in public.

– Work culture: Japanese work culture is known for its long hours and strict hierarchy. It’s important to understand the expectations and norms of the workplace in order to succeed as an English teacher.

– Food: Japanese cuisine is diverse and delicious, but can be very different from what you’re used to. Be open to trying new foods and learning about Japanese culinary traditions.

2. Find Accommodation

Finding accommodation in Japan can be challenging, particularly in larger cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Some English teaching positions may provide accommodation as part of the job package, but if not, you will need to find housing on your own.

There are a variety of housing options available in Japan, including apartments, share houses, and homestays. It’s important to research the different options and determine which one is the best fit for your needs and budget.

3. Prepare Your Finances

Moving to Japan can be expensive, particularly if you’re starting from scratch with no savings or income. It’s important to prepare your finances before moving to Japan, in order to ensure that you have enough money to cover your expenses.

Some key financial considerations include:

– Saving money: Start saving money as early as possible, in order to cover your initial expenses such as flights, visa fees, and accommodation deposits.

– Budgeting: Create a budget for your monthly expenses, including rent, food, transportation, and entertainment.

– Banking: Set up a bank account in Japan in order to receive your salary and pay your bills.

4. Pack Smart

Packing for a move to Japan can be a daunting task, particularly if you’re planning to stay for an extended period of time. It’s important to pack smart and bring only the essentials, in order to avoid excess baggage fees and make the move easier.

Some key packing tips include:

– Bring only the essentials: Consider what items you will actually need in Japan and leave behind anything that can be easily replaced.

– Pack for the climate: Japan has a varied climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Be sure to pack clothing appropriate for the season you’ll be arriving in.

– Consider shipping: If you have a lot of items to bring with you, consider shipping some of them ahead of time in order to save on excess baggage fees.

5. Get Excited!

Moving to Japan as an English teacher can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. While the process of preparing for the move can be challenging, it’s important to remember why you’re doing it and to stay excited about the adventure ahead.

Take some time to learn about Japanese culture, practice your language skills, and connect with other English teachers who have made the move to Japan. With the right preparation and a positive attitude, your move to Japan as an English teacher is sure to be a success!

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