"Hey, plan your gap year in Japan man!" Many hear such things from their college buddies right after graduation. But it's an
awkward time as the recent grad grapples with all the options that
luminous year represents.
Frankly it had not occurred to us to write such an article until we got an e-mail from a recent graduate who wanted to travel abroad and take an ESL teacher training course but was having a lot of trouble convincing her parents it was worth the price or even that it was something she should spend her time pursuing in her gap year.
Her parents were worried about nearly everything about teaching abroad from crime statistics to not having enough money to get by.
So she shot us an e-mail on what are some of the positive aspects of
spending her gap year in Japan. She needed some info. that she might use
to talk to her parents about. So we put together a list of positive points about planning for a gap year working in Japan for her. And it kind of went something like this. How to Plan your Gap Year in Japan:
First Off Mom, Get Your Geography and Economic Facts Straight
Teaching ESL in Japan is not the same as teaching in a 3rd world country. There are unions that protect teachers' rights and millions have taught in Japan over the years. Heard of the JET Program? Not exactly a shady fly by night operation. The Japanese government runs it, competition for placement is fierce for a good reason.
Japan has the 3rd largest economy in the world. (2016 statistics) The nominal GDP of Japan is $4.73 trillion, its GDP (PPP) is $4.93 trillion, and its GDP (PPP) per capita is $38,893. Source: Investopedia.com
also have special safety concerns that men to some degree don't face
and as long as we are talking about how to plan your gap year in Japan it
might be helpful to note that your top 10 most dangerous cities to live
in as of 2016 are: Syria, South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Central
African Republic, Ukraine, Sudan and Libya. Source: Institute for Economics and Peace. Japan ranks #9 for the most peaceful nation according to their ranking system that utilizes 24 metrics.
job candidates have an edge when it comes time to compete in the job
market. Japanese companies whether they are in Japan or overseas value
employees who can handle two languages so in terms of enhancing ones
employ-ability it carriers weight and living in the culture cranks up
the learning curve massively. It's not like Rosetta Stone's delusional
version of "immersion". It is the real thing. Total immersion. The kind
of immersion that results in you peeing your pants if you can't figure
out how to say "Where's the toilet" in Japanese.
Your average ESL teacher in Japan can easily save $ 300 to $400 a month or better. Down and dirty breakdown on expenses and how to save money while you work in Japan here. Or to put it another way and put some spin on it you can say it like this: "Dad, I need to pay down my school loan as fast as I can. I can probably get nearly one-half paid down teaching in Japan pretty quickly". If that doesn't get his attention I don't know what will.
Most TEFL certification providers also offer help with finding jobs and answering questions regarding how to find a job that will get you on your way. Some TEFL providers like ITA actually go the extra mile and talk to parents about working overseas and their support network for their graduates.
Planning for A Gap Year in Japan is Common - Kind of Like Sliced Bread
It's not like teaching abroad is something new. Stats are stats and nearly one billion people are studying English on this planet. Economics would indicate that you need qualified English teachers to handle the work load and you do - to the tune of roughly 300,000 teachers. If you are planning for a gap year in Japan make sure to check out our list of things to bring to Japan.
No Better Way to Find Out What You are Made of
If you have been wanting to find out what teaching ESL in Japan is all about and got a gap year coming up, there is No better time to scratch that itch other than jumping into the fray and testing your mettle. Some love it. Some hate it but one way or another you're going to get an answer to your question.
Teaching skills are exactly that -
skills and you can apply them in other endeavors. Whether you are
teaching ESL in Japan or land a job in your home country teaching a
staff how to operate a new I.T. system, during your gap year, at least
you got some valuable experience explaining things coherently and
experienced speaking in front of groups polishing your presentation
skills - something any company engaging in any business needs personal
And a Final word or two
Lastly, if you find out it's definitely not for you, no harm no foul you - found something out. If you love it and want to pursue it, there are career advancement opportunities all over the place and if you want to run the show your way there isn't much stopping you from owning your own school, making the big money and stop jumping through hoops that others set up for you.
May 22, 18 12:29 AM
Your site stands out as I could tell from the rest that you really cared to help people around the planet and share your knowledge. I am the same - I have
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May 16, 18 02:49 AM
Basically me and my girlfriend really want to go and teach English in Japan, but we don't have degrees. This has obviously made our search for work really
May 01, 18 12:16 AM
TEFL certificate courses - A 120 hour course review of some of the top selling online TEFL courses. Compare prices, features and benefits. Get certified to teach English in Japan!