Japan is one of the most magical and interesting places in the world. It has been pulling in travellers and teachers for hundreds of years, and is a land where mystery is shrouded in day-to-day reality. There is an abundance of stunning natural geography and history to immerse yourself in, however Japan’s strict culture can cause quite a shock for those arriving believing it to be one of the best places to teach English abroad.
To help arm you with the knowledge needed to thrive in one of the Far East’s biggest gems, here’s everything you need to know about TEFL in Japan.
“Japan is a country of harmony and contradiction.”
One of the most immediately recognisable and magical parts of Japan is how it is a country where past and present collide and rub shoulders with one another. From the traditions of the old capital city of Kyoto to the fast-paced technological hub that is Tokyo, there are a number of roots embedded in Japanese society that never fail to entice TEFL graduates through its borders.
The ancient rituals of Shinto and Buddhist religion are still abundant in day-to-day lives of the country’s citizens, and there are ample opportunities for those teaching English as a second language to immerse themselves further with martial arts, music, festivals and the various other ways the Japanese find a way to relax and unwind.
‘Japan’ loosely translates to “sun origin” (or “Nihon” in the native language), which is a fitting name given how the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Japan is made up of 6,852 different islands, giving the country one of the most diverse and culturally proud identities in the world.
For centuries, Japan has been regarded as a weird and wonderful place to those living in the Western world, which has continued on into the present day. Alongside the proud heritage of the thousands of years worth of history, Japanese society today is certainly quirky. Anime is obviously the most popular form of entertainment to have been birthed from the region, vending machine culture is especially prevalent in the huge urban cities, and the impact fish has on eating habits and lifestyles is still just as huge as it has ever been.
How To Begin Teaching In Japan
As we mentioned above, for all the magic Japan has to offer, teaching English in the country can be a real culture shock for those recently graduated from The TEFL Academy and looking to work in the Far East.
Learning English as a second language is now compulsory in all state schools from primary level to the end of high school, which has massively opened the door for the ESL industry in Japan over the past couple of years. As well as children and young adults, teaching English at a corporate level has also seen a huge injection of popularity over the years as Japan has developed close business and economical ties to the Western world.
Classes tend to vary in size from 10-40, and the diversity in the demographics available for teaching can give graduates a lot of flexibility when it comes to their working hours.
It is important to remember that TEFL graduates will have to find work before being able to source a working visa in Japan, though outward flights to the country are usually paid for by employers.
Rent and accommodation have to be paid for however, with most landlords demanding a deposit and a one-time payment. 2-3 Months worth of savings are needed to get started in Japan, and the cost of living in the country is a lot higher than other popular Far East countries for ESL.
Private schools and institutions will sometimes offer shared rented spaces and rooms for their teaches, which can sometimes be a decent way of keeping the costs down.