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View Full Version : Interac VS JET - Money and other things



Kewne
January 30th, 2012, 05:45
So it's getting very late in the estimated UK interview letters period and I'm expecting I won't have an interview this time around. Weird since I had one before and since vastly improved my application O.o.

I always heard JET was better, because not only do they pay more (not sure if this is true with the salary reductions - Interac says 230,000 per month), but they also often subsidise your rent. I'd also need to buy my own flights with Interac. There's also more job security it seems, with too many people being hired before from what I heard.

With Interac, how much would I be paying out for rent, bills, food, etc? Has anyone ever worked it out? What does rent range between, without subsidizing it?

Are there any benefits to doing Interac, over JET or another programme? Are you able to choose areas more specifically or do private tutoring on the side (legally) or anything else like that, which you can't on JET?

Sugoi
January 31st, 2012, 00:08
Yeah would be interested in this too as this year it looks like no interview for me despite getting alt status last year :'(

Will be looking at non JET alternatives now!

lemsip
January 31st, 2012, 00:20
I was an ALT on JET in 2003/04 and applied again this year. I naively thought I'd be shoe-in for an interview with my experience etc, but alas, it looks like they want fresh blood this year. No letter for me. Like you, Sugoi, I'm kinda surprised I didn't even make it to the interview stage.

Anyway, I'm in the same boat as you guys and looking at other options. Essentially JET is the clear number one choice and everything else doesn't come close. There isn't an obvious "second place" option.

Go with a 'JET alternative' and this is what you're looking at:

Cost of flight from UK: about £600 minimum
Then monthly...
rent - 50,000 - 80,000 (plus likely deposit/key money of 2-5 times that)
utilities - 10,000-15,000 depending on lifestyle and season
phone/Internet - landline (30,000 setup; 3500 - 8000 thereafter) or cell phone (10,000 setup; 3500-8000 thereafter)
food - 30,000 - 60,000 depending on carnivore vs. vegetarian and lifestyle

Essentially, after paying for basic needs, you will have about 125,000 left over for everything else.

My biggest concern with Interac is key money. I really don't like having to pay it. I'm considering trying to get a private job to try and avoid it.

The big pisser is that we're now too late for the start of the school year. April jobs have already been taken, so we'll be lucky if we get something before August. I was OK waiting until then with JET, but now that I haven't got an interview I want outa the UK asap.

Hope this helped anyway.

Ini
January 31st, 2012, 14:19
how would getting a private job avoid key money?

Jojo
January 31st, 2012, 21:26
how would getting a private job avoid key money?
fantasy land is hiring

lemsip
January 31st, 2012, 22:59
fantasy land is hiring

Do your homework guys and girls, though in no way am I saying anything else is as good a deal as you get with JET

Ini
February 1st, 2012, 16:10
if you think thats true you should do your homework a little more. Every job I've had since leaving has been a better deal than JET

DandeLion
February 6th, 2012, 16:33
Interac pays 230,000 plus up to 20,000 in transportation a month.
For super rural places it can pay 255,000 a month
There is also a 5,000/ month salary bonus if you pass the Japanese test.

JET pays 310,000 a month last I checked
They also pay your airfare...I don't know know about housing and bills and such

Here is what I pay for housing:
55,000 yen a month for housing
4,000 yen for electric
4,000 yen for gas
2,000 yen for water
2,000 yen for kokumin hoken (insurance)
4,400 yen for phone ( I have an iphone so its more)

Benefits for working for Interac
Placement. I practically chose mine, but I had experience to back myself up with. I wanted to be near Kyoto and I got it. (note I am not in Kyoto...that is JET territory, but it is exceedingly difficult to get unless you are married and your partner is Japanese and already lives there)
Other bonus. I only work 175 days a year if that (my school often doesn't schedule me because of testing or something). I get over a month for summer vacation. I get extended weekends once a month as well as a few weeks (2-4) vacation in both the winter and spring.

JET
more money...

DandeLion
February 6th, 2012, 16:39
oh! and Interac lets you work for other companies like ECC and Gaba as well as private tutoring. As long as it is not a company that is in competition with Interac as I remember right

Sakurahoshi
February 6th, 2012, 19:30
if you think thats true you should do your homework a little more. Every job I've had since leaving has been a better deal than JET

Really? What other companies have you worked for after JET, and what did they offer you?

I'm pretty sure you are allowed to do private tutoring on the side if you're an Interac employee. I've been following the blog of an Interac ALT and she does private tutoring a few evenings a week to supplement her income.

I'm defo applying to Interac as a JET backup. My main concern though is the amount of money Interac ask for as a start-up; it's about 4 grand. I'm not convinced I would have saved up that kind of money by August, although I hear they do offer loans. The idea of more free time and holidays with Interac is appealing to me. Part of the attraction of Japan for me is its proximity to other Asian countries that I would like to travel in, as well as exploring Japan itself.

Ini
February 7th, 2012, 08:56
Well as far as teaching english goes I've never worked for a company. government jobs, universities and international schools are your best bet if you want to avoid living on the poverty line.

Jiggit
February 7th, 2012, 09:15
Well as far as teaching english goes I've never worked for a company. government jobs, universities and international schools are your best bet if you want to avoid living on the poverty line.

Don't you need some qualification beyond a Bachelor's degree for that?

uthinkimlost?
February 7th, 2012, 10:02
Why would you? I've seen some that prefer Master's Degrees but 'or equivalent experience'* is usually there beside it.



*this may or may not be code for sexual favours.

Jiggit
February 7th, 2012, 10:07
Why would you? I've seen some that prefer Master's Degrees but 'or equivalent experience'* is usually there beside it.



*this may or may not be code for sexual favours.

I'm genuinely curious what jobs that are "better than JET" are available at universities or whatever. I haven't done much research but it seems like everyone speaks of JET like it's the ultimate gig for an untrained foreigner in Japan unless you hit something lucky.

Ini, do you need a high level of Japanese for such jobs? Where/how do you find out about them, just gaijinpot or what?

DandeLion
February 7th, 2012, 13:06
JET pretty much seems like the ultimate gig for untrained, unseasoned bachelors degree graduates. I say seems because its possible there are some sweeter gigs out there. I just don't know them yet.

But from what I have gathered, universities and international schools do lean towards people with masters degrees, teaching certificates, japanese speaking and writing ability, and experience. I have yet to see one that does not want all of those. And the things is, is that they can get just that. There are plenty of qualifying people in Japan.
Westgate is a program that allows you to teach in universities that might be worth looking into if that is your scene. I don't know how selective they are or what the pay is. They are primarily in the Kanto region...actually I think they are only there.

Ini
February 7th, 2012, 13:23
Qualifications: of course the more you have is better, having a teaching qualification or a masters is a minimum for lots of universities and international schools. Of course you can find dodgy international schools run by a bunch of cowboys who will let you in with less. I have a friend who met an indian guy in a bar and ended up getting offered the job of "deputy head" at his school.

Japanese: This seems to be more important at direct hire BOE jobs but not really a deal breaker. I can hardly speak a word of japanese but I can knock up a decent looking curriculum + detailed lessons plans in their silly chicken scratch and as long as you can follow whats going on during meetings and stick in a well placed pleasantry when relevant it seems to be enough. The biggest thing seems to be your ability to be independent. If you need someone to help you with paperwork or you just sit at your desk blissfully unaware of whats going on around you then they wont be too happy.

Where to find jobs: Old boys network. teachers you worked with getting promoted to admin jobs, old head teachers opening private schools, friends leaving and looking for a replacement etc. Most the decent jobs dont advertise and the ones that do stick the silly requirements on like 1kyu japanese and a masters in education. Go to conferences (not those shit JET ones) and get your name out. You want to be known as that annoying cunt the "super jet" who all the teachers talk about whenever they come back from a demo class.

Jiggit
February 7th, 2012, 14:47
Thanks Ini.

I need to learn more Japanese, like I didn't know that already...

K-On!
February 7th, 2012, 14:50
Other bonus. I only work 175 days a year if that (my school often doesn't schedule me because of testing or something). I get over a month for summer vacation. I get extended weekends once a month as well as a few weeks (2-4) vacation in both the winter and spring.

JET
more money...

This is kind of misleading since we get salary reductions during the months where we don't work.:( 60% in August, 75% in December, and March/April are only paid for the time of your contract, so if your contract ends the first week of March and starts up again the last week of April, you'll be lucky to get 100000yen for each month!!! :o

Also your kokumin hoken payment is low this year but it'll jump up a lot more once you get a year's worth of income! I pay around 22000yen each month, plus you have to pay residence taxes in Interac, that's another 150000yen or so each year! :o

DandeLion
February 27th, 2012, 17:40
a rudimentary chart kind of explains a fair amount here

The Sushi Complex: The age old debate: JET vs. Interac (http://thesushicomplex.blogspot.jp/2012/02/age-old-debate-jet-vs-interac.html)

edit: address update

uthinkimlost?
February 28th, 2012, 07:14
a rudimentary chart kind of explains a fair amount here

Japan in Real-Time: The age old debate: JET vs. Interac (http://wrongrouge.blogspot.com/2012/02/age-old-debate-jet-vs-interac.html)

Salary is inaccurate for nübs.

Jiggit
February 28th, 2012, 08:53
Housing - Is subsidized up to 50%

If some poor Japanese dude is paying over 5man a month for my apartments in bfi then he's even more suspect to rolling over and taking it than usual.

Some people's housing is subsidized, actually I know people who have full houses and only pay utilities. But don't count on it. You can end up stuck somewhere you really don't want to live. A guy I know's predecessor lived like a complete slob and left his tiny apartment filthy. So this guy was paying a fairly hefty sum for an apartment that was absolutely not fit for living in and overpriced too. His landlord refused to accept any responsibility and insisted that he had the apartment cleaned before the ALT arrived, and the school he worked for pretty much accepted this and even when he showed them photographic evidence they accepted it but did nothing. Eventually he just had to pay for a new place, including all the key money etc, plus furniture, and didn't get anything back from his first landlord. Also his school gave him almost no help so he had to do it himself - luckily he had enough Japanese to do it...

So yeah, like all things JET, ESID and you may get screwed over. I'm fairly sure I'm paying too much for my small apartment and it's furnished with ancient crappy appliances and random crap I don't want from decades of ALTs that I apparently can't feasibly dispose of since it's impossible to throw anything away in Japan that you can't fit in a plastic bag. But it's conveniently located and I don't care enough to want to move.

So if something like that is going on your comparisons chart it's very misleading to say "Oh JET housing may be subsidized, so it wins this category". Nope.

JET = ESID zzzzzz

UPGRAYEDD
March 1st, 2012, 20:02
a rudimentary chart kind of explains a fair amount here

Japan in Real-Time: The age old debate: JET vs. Interac (http://wrongrouge.blogspot.com/2012/02/age-old-debate-jet-vs-interac.html)

There's actually quite a few errors about JET in there.

Tyr
March 2nd, 2012, 09:29
Jet is of course the better but interac does have some advantages.
ESID but from my observations...

Jet:

Pays a lot more
Pays for your flights
Helps you a lot more in setting up.
A lot of support from other Jets, USUALLY predecessors, etc....
Is primarily a cultural exchange programme, not about teaching. As such its allowable to not have a clue about teaching at the start.
Is the official government programme so looks a lot better on your CV.
You're an actual government employee. Far more simple direct communication chain to the people responsible for you (though this is still Japan...)
You don't have the stench of failure hanging off you.

Interac:

Gives you a lot more holidays. Yes, you take a pay drop but you don:t have to sit around in the office doing nothing when school isn't on.
Gives you far more control over just where in Japan you go. The big cities are still off limits for newbies but you do get some control.
Is a job, not some fancy pants exchange programme. The clock hits 4.20 or whenever and you're out of the door and home, no need to put in anything extra.
Far, more flexiable hiring times.
It is officially accepted to take on extra jobs in addition to your ALTing. With Jet....in lots of places it is apparently considered fine but not according to the lettering of your contract.

greengoo
March 3rd, 2012, 00:54
a rudimentary chart kind of explains a fair amount here

Japan in Real-Time: The age old debate: JET vs. Interac (http://wrongrouge.blogspot.com/2012/02/age-old-debate-jet-vs-interac.html)

There's tons of plain old WRONG info on this... don't bother.

K-On!
March 5th, 2012, 10:16
Gives you a lot more holidays. Yes, you take a pay drop but you don:t have to sit around in the office doing nothing when school isn't on.

I was never a JET but can't you just use unpaid leave if you don't want to go to school and lose the same amount as you would with Interac? The Interac holidays are kind of nice but after awhile you get bored of doing nothing and the time isn't long enough to get any sort of extra work. :kaos_cactus_off:

A lot of things depend on the branch you go with though, some places give you extras like bonuses for finishing contracts but other branches don't. :kaos_chirol_gurug: I was in Okayama and moved to Tokyo and it's very different! I know many people in different branches and they have different experiences with many things. People say that transportation is only up to 20000yen/month but at least in Tokyo they'll pay more than that if train and bus fare exceeds it (which it sometimes can), maybe that 20000yen is only if you have a car. I lived close and biked to my schools in Okayama so I don't know about that. Tokyo branch is actually very good, efficient, and professional, with much less paperwork! :kaos_chirol_nikonik It's true that they won't take hires from overseas though, you need to be within the country to work here.

In Tokyo you can also get extra money going on morning standby and doing substitute teaching if someone calls in sick. It's kind of fun to go to some random school and have all sorts of new experiences! I once had to go to Kawagoe, it was so far but it was my first time there and I enjoyed the rest of the day once my work was finished! :kaos_chirol_buha:

Also, if anyone who's in Japan wants to join Tokyo branch and would like some extra money, you can PM me and I can give you a referral! If you decide to join then we both get a nice bonus!:kaos_chirol_oiwai:

Gizmotech
March 5th, 2012, 16:13
I've asked about unpaid holidays in my school. I didn't get the most positive reaction... It's the kind of face you would expect from someone who's just had their cat run over by your car.

Jojo
March 5th, 2012, 20:08
upaid holidays..i can hear the teeth sucking now

MJN
March 6th, 2012, 13:24
I've asked about unpaid holidays in my school. I didn't get the most positive reaction... It's the kind of face you would expect from someone who's just had their cat run over by your car.

This is funny, one of my schools pretty much told me during holidays I can just not turn up and not get paid, it's fine that way. At least, that's how it worked at christmas - I took the nekyu days off when school was still on, but the school holidays I took unpaid as far as I'm aware.

Kewne
March 6th, 2012, 21:59
Gives you far more control over just where in Japan you go. The big cities are still off limits for newbies but you do get some control.

Are you sure about this? I interviewed for Interac recently and I basically got the impression that I'm the one that needs to be flexible with placements and if I don't accept rural I'm less likely to be offered a place.

mteacher80
March 6th, 2012, 22:21
Yeah it is changing more and more each year. as people are just desperate to get to japan, even the private companies (Interac Altia...) are pushing way out in the middle of nowhere. and people are still accepting placements no questions asked because "oh oh oh its japan i finally get to anime land!"

Tyr
March 7th, 2012, 11:18
That's true. They still want people to be flexiable but nonetheless they seem to make it quite clear that you do have a broad choice at the least- nothing like Jet where you're looking forward to sunny beaches only to get a letter saying "You're off to the northern tip of Hokkaido and that is that. End of."
Never having been a interacer though take everything I say with McDonalds amounts of salt.

And yeah...Interac is going into some pretty rural places now. There's an area in my prefecture which is a bunch of tiny villages, though, as is common in Japan they recently merged and started calling themselves a city.
There's one interac position there which keeps getting a new person every few months, they see they're going to X shi, look on a map and see how close it is to Tokyo, wooo!!!! Then they get there.....holy inaka batman. And I have to take how many busses and trains to get to Tokyo? I'm out!

This is actually the biggest advice I would give to newbies looking to move to Japan- when the Japanese say city they don't actually mean city. Sometimes it does mean that, but very often it just means something akin to "district".

Gizmotech
March 7th, 2012, 12:33
Looks like Interac is making a big push into Tohoku based on their recent hiring, OR they still haven't refilled their quotas from the flyjin effect last year.

K-On!
March 8th, 2012, 08:42
They lost a lot of people last year and were desperate for people to go to Tohoku since most people who would be placed there were against it. They would give higher salary and bonuses if you transferred there but I didn't want to go up there. :kaos_chirub_poka:

Gizmotech
March 8th, 2012, 09:01
They lost a lot of people last year and were desperate for people to go to Tohoku since most people who would be placed there were against it. They would give higher salary and bonuses if you transferred there but I didn't want to go up there. :kaos_chirub_poka:

Ohh, so they weren't fibbing when I saw 300k advertised for the Tohoku positions... cool. I guess if you like living in the northern nowhere you can come out ahead now :)

Tyr
March 8th, 2012, 09:17
Ohh, so they weren't fibbing when I saw 300k advertised for the Tohoku positions... cool. I guess if you like living in the northern nowhere you can come out ahead now :)
That is rather good pay....
I dunno, I've heard some pretty good things about some cities up there. Due to them being isolated from the big cities they are far more 'real', living cities than decent sized cities closer to the big cities in the south of the country.
Rural Tohoku of course is a no

Ini
March 8th, 2012, 09:22
why is it a no? rural tohoku is a hell of a lot nicer than anywhere in kanto

Gizmotech
March 8th, 2012, 09:25
That is rather good pay....
I dunno, I've heard some pretty good things about some cities up there. Due to them being isolated from the big cities they are far more 'real', living cities than decent sized cities closer to the big cities in the south of the country.
Rural Tohoku of course is a no

I'm trying to think of what cities these would be for Interacs... I mean Sendai, Fukushima, and Yamagata are all JET. I dunno about Aomori and Akita, but I can't think of many cities that are really growing up here. I know the two towns I'm near are depopulating at a pretty quick pace and dying, and they're 100k people towns. I would imagine most interac placements would be just as rural as JET placements in Tohoku.

Gizmotech
March 8th, 2012, 09:25
why is it a no? rural tohoku is a hell of a lot nicer than anywhere in kanto

Agree. though my city is dying, it's a helluva lot nicer than a concrete jungle.

Jiggit
March 8th, 2012, 09:31
Hell I'd take that placement like a shot if my JET time was up. Well and if I didn't want to pursue a meaningful career back home



(lol)

Jojo
March 8th, 2012, 15:00
I'm trying to think of what cities these would be for Interacs... I mean Sendai, Fukushima, and Yamagata are all JET. . Both Sendai and Fukashima have Interac and there's plenty of us over in the west as well

Tyr
March 8th, 2012, 15:24
I'm trying to think of what cities these would be for Interacs... I mean Sendai, Fukushima, and Yamagata are all JET. I dunno about Aomori and Akita, but I can't think of many cities that are really growing up here. I know the two towns I'm near are depopulating at a pretty quick pace and dying, and they're 100k people towns. I would imagine most interac placements would be just as rural as JET placements in Tohoku. I've no idea.

I was speaking more of the big cities up there, I've no experience at all with the mid sized 100k cities; I would imagine they suffer by proximity to the regional capitals just as regional capitals in the south suffer by proximity to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka.


why is it a no? rural tohoku is a hell of a lot nicer than anywhere in kanto

Its actually rural.
Rural areas in the south tend (not always of course...) to have much better links with civilization.
Again though I speak purely through second hand knowledge, I've never tried living in rural Tohoku, the prospect just worries me.
I also hear its the worst place to be weather-wise in winter. The temperatures are near Hokkaido standards but the houses remain built according to regular Japanese standards.

Ini
March 8th, 2012, 16:38
tohoku has just as many train lines and expressways as anywhere else. living 2 hours from tokyo in kanto and living two hours from sendai in tohoku is exactly the same except instead of being surrounded by factories and rice fields you are surrounded by mountains and ricefields

MJN
March 12th, 2012, 21:47
tohoku has just as many train lines and expressways as anywhere else. living 2 hours from tokyo in kanto and living two hours from sendai in tohoku is exactly the same except instead of being surrounded by factories and rice fields you are surrounded by mountains and ricefields

I'm surrounded by factories mountains and rice fields

Jiggit
March 12th, 2012, 22:38
I'm surrounded by factories mountains and rice fields

What a unique flower you must feel.

Kirari
March 19th, 2012, 12:00
What a fortuitous conversation you've all been having~ I've got an Interac seminar coming up next month, which I will attend if JET doesn't hire me. On my application (and I think in my phone interview), I indicated Sendai as one of my placement preferences. Maybe it was even my first choice.
-I have friends in the Sendai area, including one who works for Interac.
-I figured that new applicants/employees up for renewal would be less likely to choose that area, given last year's trauma.
-I don't mind the cold. Or so I think - I'm originally from Massachusetts but have lived in Florida since I was six. I hate Florida's heat though - it was 83F in January this year, yuck.
-Proximity to Tokyo is not a huge issue, but proximity to a coastline is. I've always, always lived near an ocean/gulf. It helps me de-stress and keep things in perspective. If it's a tiny rural town near the coast, that's fine, whatever. I'm used to tiny town. But tiny town in the middle of the country somewhere three or four hours to the coast... well, it's not my preference, put it that way.

The Interac recruiters/website make it seem like rural placement and driving a car is inevitable. I prefer neither, but like people have been saying, I'm one of those people who will accept any placement just to live and work in Japan.

I'm not saying I think JET will give me a better placement than Interac. Not at all. In the end, the salary wins out, ha.

greengoo
March 20th, 2012, 21:26
What a fortuitous conversation you've all been having~ I've got an Interac seminar coming up next month, which I will attend if JET doesn't hire me. On my application (and I think in my phone interview), I indicated Sendai as one of my placement preferences. Maybe it was even my first choice.
-I have friends in the Sendai area, including one who works for Interac.
-I figured that new applicants/employees up for renewal would be less likely to choose that area, given last year's trauma.
-I don't mind the cold. Or so I think - I'm originally from Massachusetts but have lived in Florida since I was six. I hate Florida's heat though - it was 83F in January this year, yuck.
-Proximity to Tokyo is not a huge issue, but proximity to a coastline is. I've always, always lived near an ocean/gulf. It helps me de-stress and keep things in perspective. If it's a tiny rural town near the coast, that's fine, whatever. I'm used to tiny town. But tiny town in the middle of the country somewhere three or four hours to the coast... well, it's not my preference, put it that way.

The Interac recruiters/website make it seem like rural placement and driving a car is inevitable. I prefer neither, but like people have been saying, I'm one of those people who will accept any placement just to live and work in Japan.

I'm not saying I think JET will give me a better placement than Interac. Not at all. In the end, the salary wins out, ha.

Long story short, Interac is nice because they allow you to shift location more easily. JET is nice for absolutely everything else.

Jojo
March 20th, 2012, 22:09
another thing which nobody mentions (and certainly not Interac) is the high rate of contract turnover. For example, i have had my position changed once due to them losing the contract and a bunch of 1st years from my area are having to move now also. Interac (and other dispatch) are always at the whim of the local city council and they quite often change companies just to save a few pennies. With JET you have a secure position..so that's something to also consider

Ini
March 20th, 2012, 22:19
well, the companies have to come in and give presentations to the boe every year. Interac are known for being lazy and just turning up with a standard one size fits all presentation, not being properly prepared and relying on being cheap. I wouldn't say they lose contracts just because other companies undercut them.

Page
March 21st, 2012, 13:52
I hope you're not hoping to be near the coast for swimming. We couldn't go last year (no Ocean Day celebrations, of course) and I doubt it'll be an activity of choice or available option for most this year, either.

Kirari
March 21st, 2012, 13:57
I hope you're not hoping to be near the coast for swimming. We couldn't go last year (no Ocean Day celebrations, of course) and I doubt it'll be an activity of choice or available option for most this year, either.


Not really. Mostly just walking/running and absorbing the atmosphere. But thanks, that's good to know~