View Full Version : JET rejection - ALT/eikaiwa plan B questions?

January 17th, 2014, 23:29
Hi everyone,

I found out today that I wasn't granted an interview for JET (Australian applicant). A bit of a blow to the ego as I was sure I'd be competitive, but that's what you get for only sorting out all the documentation in the last week. Anyway, I'm not upset about it as I have a few other alternative positions planned (that will probably be just as good in terms of work and cultural experience).

I've read a few blog posts about "Interac vs. JET" and "eikaiwa vs. ALT", but I'm still a bit torn: my main two considerations are ECC and Interac, both of which I will only be able to start in August (I delayed applying/accepting until I heard back from JET). I have an offer from Interac, and am quietly confident I'll do OK at the ECC recruitment seminar (I studied linguistics so should excel in the English test, and I interview well). They both have pros and cons; I like the term structure of ALT positions, but would like the opportunity to teach adults because it's a requirement of getting qualified as an IELTS examiner (something I want to do). Money isn't a problem as long as I'm getting above about 230,000JPY per month.

As well as loving Japan, I'm going over there to work on my Japanese (take it from beginner to fluent). I've read that eikaiwa don't really provide an immersive Japanese workplace like public schools do - does anyone have any thoughts on that?

Also, thinking further down the track, should I bother getting an international driving permit? Keep in mind that Australia and Japan have a relationship whereby I can convert my licence without undergoing testing. Should I just do that upon arrival?

Please do provide wisdom to help me decide how to proceed! If I go to August pre-engagement training (instead of April), are the numbers really low so that I won't meet anyone interesting and have a good time? I'd like to use the first week or so to make some friends, have some beers, etc.

Sorry if this post is a bit rambly, and thanks for any suggestions!


January 17th, 2014, 23:41
Japan will crush your gentle spirit.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here

January 17th, 2014, 23:49
Or in real terms avoid ecc or any McEnglish school. Go with interac but don't expect to go from beginner to fluent in a few years without an absurd amount of work. Get a driving permit unless you live in the centre of shinjuku because life in Japan without a car isn't any sort of life at all. Don't worry about when you come. The people you meet when you arrive, no matter what programme you join, will be cocks. Worry about your social skills when you arrive in your new home - not when you are crammed in a sweaty conference hall with a load of unemployable cosplayers after a 12 hour flight.

January 18th, 2014, 10:40
If it were me, I'd stay away from ECC. You're basically a puppet at those kinds of places. At least with Interac you'll have a bit of freedom- how much depends on ES or JHS. JHS just stands in a corner for the majority of the lesson but has more interaction outside of class. In ES, you basically plan the entire thing, though I doubt someone with your beginner Japanese skill would be assigned primarily there.

January 18th, 2014, 11:49
Another voice chiming in for Interac over eikaiwa. Eikaiwa schools usually wants you to work nights, weekends, and holidays, so your schedule will be way off from anyone elses' but other eikaiwa workers. Not trying to be mean or anything, but eikaiwa attracts some ....interesting individuals, even more so than JET/Interac does. They also don't seem as keen on their foreign teachers learning Japanese (I know at least one school doesn't want the students to know that the teachers speak Japanese at all, much less use Japanese in the classroom), while Interac gives bonuses based on Japanese ability (I believe there's a phone test involved).

As far as teaching adults goes, you can always do the hush-hush adult conversation group on the side if you go with ALT work. Technically, you probably aren't supposed to (JET frowns on it), but people do it anyway.

You also could come on an eikaiwa to get your work visa and look for a private school once you're here.

I agree with Ini about getting your license. It's nice to have even if you don't buy a car so you can rent for traveling. Okinawa in particular sucks without a car.

Edit to add- took a look at ECC website and they say their full time contract is only 29.5 hours per week. They're trying to pass this off as a benefit (more money per hour worked), but it seems like they're trying to get out of paying insurance for their foreign workers (under 30 hours doesn't qualify for shakai hoken, so you get to deal with this yourself). Stay away from them. Companies that try to fleece their workers on their insurance/pension probably would take advantage of them in other ways.

January 18th, 2014, 15:09
As Ini said, being in Japan by itself won't be enough to make you fluent; it'll take lots of work and dedicated effort, and your job position encouraging/discouraging studying it will have way less to do with your progress than how you choose to spend your free hours. Interac will probably help you have a more enjoyable time overall, though, which will help with the burnout and culture shock.

January 23rd, 2014, 13:30
In the same boat as Franklint, found out I didn't get a Jet interview so I started looking at other options. I looked at Interact website today, they say they are always hiring but on their graph for "best time to apply" the cutoff for spring placement is end of November. My question is, should I bother putting in an application now for spring or wait a few months to put one in for fall placement?

By the sound of it Interact seems to be best option after JET.

January 23rd, 2014, 15:46
Nothing wrong with applying at any time. One of the nice things about interac is people leave the job all the time, and don't always finish their contracts (there's no completion bonus of a flight home, so why keep working?). Are you more likely to get a contract from the november batch for an april placement? sure. Are you still likely to get a contract throughout the rest of the year, probably. Especially in August.

January 25th, 2014, 22:41
Thanks so much for the responses, I'm feeling pretty great about coming over. I'm going with Interac as per your advice, it does sound as though eikaiwa teachers are treated (extra) shittily. Also going to make sure I get an international driving permit, it would suck to be unable to travel around.

I like the idea of adult conversation classes on the side - thanks coop52. JET doesn't allow extra teaching work, but Interac doesn't care as long as it doesn't interfere with their commitments. It would be nice to run these two or three nights a week, leaving the other nights free to chill and meet people.

A good reminder, therealwindycity, thanks. I plan to stay in Japan until I'm fluent (I'm guessing 2-3 years), and I reckon I'll find it far easier in-country than at high school (didn't go so well). It's still good to remember to be discliplined in language study.

A friend of mine who taught in Japan years ago recommends a company called Feeling Imagination Action (FIA - Home Page (http://www.fia2400.com/fiae/index_e.html)) - any experience with them? I've e-mailed a few times (to different addresses) to apply from Australia, and haven't heard anything back. They might be worth looking into, they do classes for businesses instead of eikaiwa.

Thanks again, homies.


January 27th, 2014, 09:42
My friends had a lot of luck doing Eikaiwa's at hospitals. They would charge doctors 5000 per half hour and nurse's 3000. He went to two different hospitals a week on Tues and Wed, which made him an extra 3.2man a week.

If you want to learn Japanese, as you decided Interac/ALT is the best choice. The kids are more than willing to teach you a bunch of stuff, including slang. You will interact with the students in English and in Japanese while learning so much more culture than you will in some random box on the 3 floor of a train station building.

March 21st, 2014, 06:37
Can you really use Japanese in the classroom with interac though? Because at least when I spoke to them they told me the kids shouldn't even know you can speak Japanese...

March 21st, 2014, 16:26
That's one of those "how they gonna know" things.

Zolrak 22
March 22nd, 2014, 01:25
A friend of mine who taught in Japan years ago recommends a company called Feeling Imagination Action (FIA - Home Page (http://www.fia2400.com/fiae/index_e.html)) - any experience with them? I've e-mailed a few times (to different addresses) to apply from Australia, and haven't heard anything back. They might be worth looking into, they do classes for businesses instead of eikaiwa.

I really wouldn't trust a company who's website (and its design) is almost old enough to drink :(

Either their business went down under, or they just don't consider it important...

Which is bad either way.

Well, at least their Japanese version is more recent, but still.... 2006.

March 31st, 2014, 18:45
I just finished training with Interac and I 100% recommend working with them. While you aren't able to use any Japanese in the classroom with good reason, they encourage you to use it with staff at the school. As they described, if you go in on the first day and speak to the staff in Japanese, you will see a visible sigh of relief. It seemed like everyone in my training group had previously studied Japanese as well. I think Interac is overall encouraging of learning and studying Japanese because it helps you feel more comfortable while living in Japan and makes them have less to worry about.

April 1st, 2014, 04:50
No Japanese in the classroom? Ha.

April 2nd, 2014, 20:57
I really wouldn't trust a company who's website (and its design) is almost old enough to drink :(

I'm not sure it's necessarily an indicator of school quality - it could just be that they're pretty old-school and not very tech-savvy (maybe it's small and doesn't need massive attention from a big online presence). But still, probably not going to start with them; Interac has my documentation and is processing my CoE now.

Speaking of, it sounds like they will be a reasonable employer and that the job will be enjoyable! The comments here have encouraged me. Also pretty keen to fill my evenings with private lessons, so I'll have enough money to enjoy my weekends and holidays. I don't speak much Japanese anyway, but I'm looking forward to being taught some slang by the kids!

April 11th, 2014, 23:12
Working on Plan B for if I don't get alternated - I applied to a bunch of international schools, and Horizon International School gave me an interview. Does anyone know anything about that school in terms of working there?

April 12th, 2014, 11:23
No Japanese in the classroom? Ha.

That's just what they said because otherwise students won't want to talk to you in English if they know you can speak some Japanese. Whether the schools agree with that or employees actually follow it, I don't know haha