Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Getting the Job (Part 2 - Choose your country -Examine Japan)

Part II: Japan

The fact of the matter is that I know more about Japan than I do China and especially Korea. I learned about anime and sushi while in high school and soon fell in love with the country. But I consider that this interest in Japan was more like a tunnel that led to my fondness of all the other Asian countries. In essence I would say that it is a challenge to compare these three countries against one another without ending up praising one over the other. Yet, Japan will always stick out to me as a country where the girls are over the top girly.

This ends up causing me to despise my White American roots. In fact, throughout my whole love affair with Asia I often wondered what American traditions I have to hold onto?

Anyways, back to what we are here for.
Japan may just be a bunch of islands out there in the Pacific but it is jam packed with a history of geisha's and courtesans and a people who praise cleanliness and order pretty well. When I was living in the dorms I lived with a Japanese roommate. She was in her 30's and was engaged to some guy in Japan. It started off okay but we ran into a lot of cultural differences. Mainly cleanliness and having guests over in the room.

But Japan will always remain as a special place, for it was this country that introduced me to the treasures of Asia.

So why am I not working there?
Japan does offer consistently good programs for teaching English. I believe that many expats choose Japan as their destination of choice.

The reason for my steering clear of Japan wasn't due to my distaste of the country, rather I found that the recruiting companies to be too competitive and also made you go through a very extensive application process.

Take for example the JET Program which when you take a peek at their website looks like a fun and organized program. But lets get to the details shall we?

  • You have to go through an application time line. Meaning you have to apply at a certain time and go there at a certain time.
Unfortunately I can't find out about how much they pay you. Basically you end up with entry level salary if you don't have the skills.

The website Teach English Worldwide shows us a comparison of the countries.

"Japan has the most established economy and English teaching industry in the region. The extremely high wages it can offer makes the English job market there very competitive. Because of this competitiveness, you need to pay attention to school hiring cycles - the best times to arrive are late March or August. The cost of living in Japan is also very high, which you should take this into account when comparing salaries with other countries.

South Korea has a very developed TESOL market and it is easier to find work here than in Japan. The pay is generally lower than in Japan, but still substantial. Teaching English to children and adolescents is the most common type of position in South Korea.

As China’s economic and political clout has grown, so has its TESOL market. In the past, most English teaching jobs were part of the public school system. With free market reforms stimulating rapid economic growth in certain parts of China, there are now a huge number of private language schools – some of which are prepared to pay respectable wages to native English speakers. Nevertheless, salaries, working conditions, and living conditions are still quite variable throughout the country, so do your research before committing to a job or moving to an area to look for work."

Looking at this comparison it sure sounds like Japan will bring in the dough. Maybe Korea and Japan are tied with each other on best paying. But I still think Korea is best, maybe because it offers to me a culture I am still learning about. Or maybe, just maybe....

Find out why Korea is my choice for teaching English abroad in Part 3 of this series!

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