In place of graduate school I have been considering teaching English in Asia. I have been offered a place by a third party which places American/British university graduates in secondary schools in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. I have a few questions:
First, I am very interested in Japan, however I am wondering given its lack of diversity (97% Japanese I believe) how easy/challenging is it for a western, especially a blond hair, blue eyed American to integrate? I mean this in specific terms such as going out, clubbing, socializing, business, etc. Does anyone either live in Japan or been there that could offer me a perspective on this?
Same questions for Taiwan and South Korea...
Hum.I haven't been either to Japan,South Korea or Taiwan,BUT.I'm in China now (and taiwan is part of it,after all),so I can answer you as I'm also blond and blue eyed...Everybody will be crazy about you!They love foreigners so much,love to learn english with you,they try to speak even if they know only a few words.
No worries,man,in one month you will be a superstar,your only problem will be to satisfy every invitation you will recieve....
And teaching is great!
Have sweet time!
Im currently in the process of researching the same thing... I had initially thought about Japan as I recently returned from there and It was an amazing country....I have a couple of friends who are teaching out there and both say that intergration is pretty easy, at the same time blond hair and blue eyes is still a bit of a novelty...we found ourselves getting roped into several photographs but it was all in good humour!I think for Japan its important to learn a bit of basic language people are a bit reluctant to help you if you dont throw in a couple of Konnichiwas and make the effort!!!Try checking out the Jet Programme!!!As for Taiwan, a girl I was travelling with spent 18 months teaching in Taiwan and loved the place, hence the reason she extended her contract!She said there was quite a big western community over there so she met a lot of like minded people and the local people were very open to diversity and she really intergrated with them!
As for South Korea.....that Is where I have decided to partake in a teaching programme...My main reasons were financial...I graduate in June so Im hoping to clear up some debt from University and South Korea has a repuation for paying very good salaries as English speaking teachers are in high demand.A girl I know has just gone over there and initially the culture shock was quite intense but now she has made good friends with both people native to South Korea and also westerners.Have a look at TEFL programmes as well as i-to-i....she went i-to-i and she found that the orientation scheme they have is great and theres people there 24 hours a day if she needs guidance or advice!
I am also looking at going to teach english in South Korea with i to i which I found through the sta travel website. I graduated last year & am doing camp america in the summer but want a more long term placement, this is ideal to live abroad & teach (as that's what I want to do teaching as a career eventually.) It looks like an amazing oppurtunity and the pay seems good, especially as I couldn't afford to do it as unpaid/volunteer at the moment.
I think I will apply through i to i but out of interest what other good companie are there that offer similar oppurtunities?
I'm currently teaching in Hokkaido, Japan with the JET program. It is a great program, but the application process is almost a full year long and it's sometimes difficult to get in. There are many other agencies that place people in teaching positions in Japan, such as Geos. If you search the internet for teaching English in Japan you will get a ton of hits and it's fairly easy to find work. Find something before you come, though. And try to find a program that will help you get everything started and give you a good orientation as well as have someone there to help you with daily life, as you probably won't be able to read kanji. Some of them also pay for your flight to and from Japan. The money is really good, but Japan is also pretty expensive, so it can be hard to save if you're interested in going out a lot.
As far as assimilation into the culture, the more Japanese you learn the more Japanese people you meet and the more you learn about the country and culture. Japanese people are so friendly to foreigners, at least western foreigners, and they will be really excited to speak with you using what English they remember from junior high and the small amount of Japanese you might have under your belt. If you are open and look for things to do in your community you will really have a great time and learn a lot.
Learning the language is really important for teaching English. I started teaching a few months ago and didn't know much Japanese, but now that I've studied more, not only is it easier to get things done and talk to people outside of work, but I also understand my students' mistakes better and can explain things to them to help them with their English study.
thanks kat that's great info and advice. Thanks!
I have been living in Japan, just outside Tokyo in Chiba for nearly four years now. As a blond, blue eyed female you should have no problem working here. People get hired based on looks all the time here and you are the local typical image of a gaijin. Don`t use agents-just come here and hit the pavement if you are in a major center you should be working at least part time in less than a few weeks.
As the others said, you will be a superstar and garner alot of attention(moreso outside the main centers).If you can cope with that and use it to your advantage it should be no problem to make alot of cash and have good time here. And the clubbing in Tokyo is good way to meet alot of cool locals and fellow gaijins.
Teaching job is very easy to find, anywhere in Taiwan. Never worry about blending in... people are generally very friendly in here. Taiwan is one of the best place to stay, for people who want to learn to speak Mandarin, and enjoy good food. Taipei is a bit chaotic (but which big city isn't? but a very easy city in terms of living, moving around, and making friends. You can find some useful information for living and working in Taiwan: http://iff.npa.gov.tw/enfront/index.php.... hope this helps.