Is it a requirement that you have to be fluent in the language of the country where you're teaching? For example, if you want to teach English in Japan, do you first have to be fluent in Japanese?
For Japan, not at all. You don't need a single word of Japanese to teach. Of course, it helps a lot in daily life and you can make a lot more Japanese friends by speaking Japanese, but there's many opportunities to learn once you get here. From what i've heard, it's the same for China, Korea and Thailand
Always research the company you are thinking of working for in detail, and, if possible, ask questions from people who are already doing the job you want. I too am currently teaching in japan, but for one of the smaller companies and not a governemtn run one. The job itself is ok, but like a previous poster said it can get very boring at times. i also find that i work a lot of hours as im travelling all over the area, sometimes, i travel for longer than i teach during a day. I get the national holidays off, so 3 weeks a year, plus an extra 2 days you can take off after your 7th month of service. Its not that great for travel whilst you are out here as you work so much and dont really have the time. plus, when you do have holidays the rest of the country does as well - at least this is waht i have in Japan - so everything is very busy and very expensive.
it is easy enough to save up, esp as you dont always have a lot of time to do stuff during the week. Saturday night is my 1 night of going out.
Ive only been out here for just over 2 months, but already i am slightly fed up. I love the kids, but some of them just dont get it / dont want to be learning english. I am always very busy and dont really have time for myself.
If you do want to do it, then just research it thoroughly and make sure you are prepared for some hard work and long hours.
Hope i havent put you off...!!!
I thjnk it is important to figure out what your goals are for doing this. (Not on an overly deep level though, I am sure once you tell people your plans you`ll be answering this question alot)
As I mentioned to another poster why are you coming??
If you want to make some cash to travel after you finished here and then return home, a year may be enough if you don`t party alot, try to eat like the Japanese and get some private students to get some nice tax free income.
Or if you want to work and then travel Japan, or the surrounding countries in 1 or 2 weeks stints over your time here then the chain schools are good enough and spare you the hassle and expense of getting yourself set up here. And I hear you can usually arrange a good block of vacation time if you are willing to work an extra long stretch here and there to offset it.
Or you can stay for along time and every year you are here, your salary should go up and living expenses down and you can build yourself a schedule to suit your lifestyle. Be careful though my two year plan turned into four......(Not sure if I am complaining or not?!
There are alot of options for employment in Japan. If you have any questions feel free to PM me.