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View Full Version : The JET alternative Shoot Out!



Solarian
February 27th, 2007, 05:51
So you didn't get in... or you didn't even get to apply like me, but you're not about to wait for a year, or give up on going to Japan. There's a lot of companies out there that can get you there, but who do you choose?
I applied for a bunch, and presently I've gotten an offer from GEOS, and Interac's reply is due before the deadline for accepting GEOS. So I have a choice between the two of them.
I figure a lot of people are in this same situation, so I'd like to hear your thoughts.
I'm a bit torn, because I feel there are advantages and disadvantages of each.
GEOS has lower startup costs, cheaper rent, smaller class sizes, and I actually get to teach.
Interac hires you to be an ALT, so I get to work "normal people" hours, instead of 12-9pm. Also, I get to interact with regular students, not the ones that already want to learn english. Also, it's a lot less work, which appeals to the lazyass within.
Opinions?

PunkInDrublic
February 27th, 2007, 07:20
I'm actually really interested in a good breakdown of differences between these different eikaiwa places.

If somebody here doesn't wanna do it...you got a link to a resource that does?

Thanks

BringBackChef
February 27th, 2007, 07:26
How could we possibly compare them, the only way to do that would be to go work for more than one of them and then you have to take into account individual preferences.

PunkInDrublic
February 27th, 2007, 08:01
I've seen people on this site say "X company has shittier pay, Y company has better holidays" etc. etc. Just curious if there's a resource out there that breaks them all down for you.

That is all.

I guess I chose the wrong wording in my post: "if somebody doesn't wanna do it," but I'm really not asking for one man's account on actually working for all of the big four...perhaps whatever information they have on the differences that DO exist

Omega037
February 27th, 2007, 08:41
If you wanna know their pay and other issues, check out their websites, gaijinpot, and Dave's ESL Cafe.

I do know that NOVA is in some trouble right now though.

wattiewatson
February 27th, 2007, 11:51
All the companies are a good way to get to Japan. None of them are going to be hugely different. In my experience if your japanese is shit you will get much worse of a job. Its pretty hard to get a good job sitting on your arse in america or where ever. Take one of the companies get over here and bend your back and will make ok money.

I know of people who are making great money outside jet. However they are pretty switched on and their japanese is pretty good. To be fair im not sure you have either skill.

Matt

Omega037
February 27th, 2007, 12:05
I know a woman who came on NOVA and then after a few years moved to a nearby city and opened a bar/English school. She basically teaches lessons above the bar and has the widest selection of Western drinks this side of the Seto Ohashi. A lot of foriegners therefore regularly hang out there, which in turn attracts more students to her school above the bar.

But yeah, she has decent Japanese and works hard at this point.

Solarian
February 27th, 2007, 14:35
To be honest, I doubt they're all the same, or even all similar for that matter. Infact, the three that I applied for are dramatically different from one another. I've already listed the differences between GEOS and Interac. There's significant similarity between GEOS and NOVA, in that they're both eikawas, they both have you working from 12-9, and both pay 250K and have similar benefits. The differences are that GEOS actually selects from the people that apply, where as NOVA will take anything, and in GEOS you have your own students that you see on a regular basis, versus just teaching whoever comes in.
I don't think anyone was asking how to make the most money out of Japan, because atleast I'd like to think that it's not what we're going there for. It was supposed to be for the experience, taking in a new culture, having an adventure, etc.. no?
Either way, I guess I expected too much of the internet yet again, I'll return to using it for the only things it's good for: porn and getting a lot of spam in my email.

Dynamis
February 27th, 2007, 16:53
I remember looking into these places, but it was a few years ago. Also, it was based entirely on internet research, though i was quite thorough.

Here's my conclusions, in order of preference:

1. ECC - Smaller than the others, and they seemed a bit more teacher-friendly. They scheduled paid lesson preparation time, and listed reasonable hours. You also had some freedom in adjusting your lessons.

2. Aeon - Seemed similar to ECC, but not such good hours.

3. Geos - Slightly better than NOVA, but lots of pressure to sell company textbooks. Talked to some Geos workers since, and they say "its a good job if you like being a salesman".

4. NOVA - Saw lots of bad stuff on the interent. Tough working hours, dodgy employment practices. Talked to a number of NOVA workers here, and they say that its not all bad. Lots depends on who your manager is.

Interac - Not really comparable to the others, since its an ALT position. I didnt do any research about them.

Other schools - By far the best option. Japanese helps but not required. Use one of the big 4 (5 if u include Berlitz) to get here and get your visa etc. Then go shopping around: ask around the local gaijin community.. check japan websites for jobs that only hire from within japan. Be proactive and you can likely find a much better position.

Matt

Solarian
February 28th, 2007, 05:29
To be honest, I'm too afraid to do something like that. Isn't it illegal to ditch your sponsor company and work for someone else? Also, a lot of them setup your appartment and stuff, so don't they kick you out if you leave? It seems like a good option after my contract has expired, but I just don't think I have the balls to ditch my main support mechanism and go job hunting on my own.
But thanks for the info on the companies though. I just got the offer of employment from Interac today, so I guess I have a choice to make.. and soon.

switchie
February 28th, 2007, 06:01
I remember looking into these places, but it was a few years ago. Also, it was based entirely on internet research, though i was quite thorough.

Here's my conclusions, in order of preference:

1. ECC - Smaller than the others, and they seemed a bit more teacher-friendly. They scheduled paid lesson preparation time, and listed reasonable hours. You also had some freedom in adjusting your lessons.

2. Aeon - Seemed similar to ECC, but not such good hours.

3. Geos - Slightly better than NOVA, but lots of pressure to sell company textbooks. Talked to some Geos workers since, and they say "its a good job if you like being a salesman".

4. NOVA - Saw lots of bad stuff on the interent. Tough working hours, dodgy employment practices. Talked to a number of NOVA workers here, and they say that its not all bad. Lots depends on who your manager is.

Interac - Not really comparable to the others, since its an ALT position. I didnt do any research about them.

Other schools - By far the best option. Japanese helps but not required. Use one of the big 4 (5 if u include Berlitz) to get here and get your visa etc. Then go shopping around: ask around the local gaijin community.. check japan websites for jobs that only hire from within japan. Be proactive and you can likely find a much better position.

Matt

I work for one of these companies, which will remain unnamed because they don’t know I am re-applying for JET. I would say this is about right, the best way to find a job is to actually be in Japan.

Solarian
February 28th, 2007, 08:58
Okay, what about working at an eikawa vs. working as an ALT? Would you say it's more rewarding to work in a public school as an ALT? Or is it too much hassles?

wattiewatson
February 28th, 2007, 10:30
I think you are a little naive my friend.

Solarian
February 28th, 2007, 11:48
I think that I've received barely any productive feedback. I'm seriously not going to bother anymore. I ask a question, and I receive a mixture of philosophical comments and "you should just quit and find another one". If there is a moderator, they might as well lock this thread.

BringBackChef
February 28th, 2007, 11:50
I think that I've received barely any productive feedback. I'm seriously not going to bother anymore. I ask a question, and I receive a mixture of philosophical comments and "you should just quit and find another one". If there is a moderator, they might as well lock this thread.

I would PM swithie, but he is probably at work right now.

mteacher80
February 28th, 2007, 11:56
I think that I've received barely any productive feedback. I'm seriously not going to bother anymore. I ask a question, and I receive a mixture of philosophical comments and "you should just quit and find another one". If there is a moderator, they might as well lock this thread.

not to cut you down at all, but the reason you may not be gettng loads of info on this from all of us right now, is because over the past few years there have been many threads on this topic....it is just getting a bit old....many of us have never worked for an Eikaiwa and only have second hand accounts...of course those could be helpfull, but i think just searching and researching on your own will bring you all the info you need...

mark!

dobharrison
February 28th, 2007, 11:59
What the fuck do you call this!?!


I remember looking into these places, but it was a few years ago. Also, it was based entirely on internet research, though i was quite thorough.

Here's my conclusions, in order of preference:

1. ECC - Smaller than the others, and they seemed a bit more teacher-friendly. They scheduled paid lesson preparation time, and listed reasonable hours. You also had some freedom in adjusting your lessons.

2. Aeon - Seemed similar to ECC, but not such good hours.

3. Geos - Slightly better than NOVA, but lots of pressure to sell company textbooks. Talked to some Geos workers since, and they say "its a good job if you like being a salesman".

4. NOVA - Saw lots of bad stuff on the interent. Tough working hours, dodgy employment practices. Talked to a number of NOVA workers here, and they say that its not all bad. Lots depends on who your manager is.

Interac - Not really comparable to the others, since its an ALT position. I didnt do any research about them.

Other schools - By far the best option. Japanese helps but not required. Use one of the big 4 (5 if u include Berlitz) to get here and get your visa etc. Then go shopping around: ask around the local gaijin community.. check japan websites for jobs that only hire from within japan. Be proactive and you can likely find a much better position.

Matt

dombay
February 28th, 2007, 12:31
Agreed Dob, but that comment that he got from Wattie was pretty arsey so i can see why he's a tad pissed.

Try this question on BD. You'll have to wade through a lot of shit but a lot of people there work in eikawas.

switchie
February 28th, 2007, 13:52
Okay, what about working at an eikawa vs. working as an ALT? Would you say it's more rewarding to work in a public school as an ALT? Or is it too much hassles?

I don't have time to go into details now, but there are some good things about working at an Eikaiwa. The students I teach I am willing to bet are more interested in learning than those you would teach at a public school. Plus I am just a short train ride from downtown Tokyo.

But on the flip side it doesn't pay as well and I have to work nights. Two of the many reasons I am hoping to switch to JET.

az
February 28th, 2007, 14:18
I love working nights and hate dragging my aching carcass out of bed every morning- they only thing I would not do is work weekends- ever.

Dynamis
March 1st, 2007, 01:09
To be honest, I'm too afraid to do something like that. Isn't it illegal to ditch your sponsor company and work for someone else? Also, a lot of them setup your appartment and stuff, so don't they kick you out if you leave? It seems like a good option after my contract has expired, but I just don't think I have the balls to ditch my main support mechanism and go job hunting on my own.

It's not illegal, and many people do it. Companies try to discourage this by making you pay for stuff like 6 months rent in advance etc. Of course, if you live in company housing then you will be kicked out when you leave. So that just means that you need to look for houses as well as a job. Or your new employer might be able to fix you up. This is where having Japanese helps the most, but a japanese-speaking friend will suffice.

This method is probably not recommened for first-timers to Japan unless you're very self-reliant and confident. However, its less risky than it sounds, since if you cant find anything you just continue with your big 4 contract.

Matt

wattiewatson
March 1st, 2007, 09:15
My comment was a little harsh but all i am saying is that i dont believe there is a major difference between the companies. Interact sounds different, but you knew that. Other than that the other companies are like McDonalds and Burger King. There are differences but at the end of the day you are getting a burger, fries and drink.

My advise is to take any of them. Get over here and try to find a bunch of privates or a new job completely. I believe you will be very poor earning the sort of wage they pay living in a big city. 250,000 less taxes and market rent and maybe healthcare doesnt leave that much left over.

Im not trying to discourage you just giving my view. I wouldnt settle for earning US$600 gross and having all those expenses.

All the companies serve a good purpose. They get you over here and you have a job to cover the bills immediately. Prepare yourself to learn japanese and then try and better yourself. You will enjoy asia a lot more with a bit of money in your pocket. Just ask a bum in Tokyo when you get here.

edit:
i also know people who love their eikaiwa jobs. They get to snowboard anyday they like. Some also earn plenty more than jets. If you are hot looking girl or guy who speaks japanese you are onto a winner in Japan.

Matt

switchie
March 2nd, 2007, 14:15
I love working nights and hate dragging my aching carcass out of bed every morning- they only thing I would not do is work weekends- ever.

I am more of a morning person, but I do have plenty of time to get my morning run in with the eikaiwa job.

az
March 2nd, 2007, 14:48
I love working nights and hate dragging my aching carcass out of bed every morning- they only thing I would not do is work weekends- ever.

I am more of a morning person, but I do have plenty of time to get my morning run in with the eikaiwa job.

Wanna swap?

switchie
March 2nd, 2007, 14:58
I love working nights and hate dragging my aching carcass out of bed every morning- they only thing I would not do is work weekends- ever.

I am more of a morning person, but I do have plenty of time to get my morning run in with the eikaiwa job.

Wanna swap?

Sure, why not.

AtomicYak
March 3rd, 2007, 22:56
Okay, what about working at an eikawa vs. working as an ALT? Would you say it's more rewarding to work in a public school as an ALT? Or is it too much hassles?

I wrote this back when I was working for GEOS (I'm now a JET).

http://www.ithinkimlost.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=24337&highlight=#24337

Now having done both, I'd gladly take JET over GEOS. The students at GEOS were great. I miss being able to have actual conversations. Some of my students try, but it certainly isn't the same. Other than that now, I'm teaching, I'm making my own lesson plans, and I'm not selling. I feel a lot better about my job now than I did with GEOS.

Solarian
March 8th, 2007, 07:46
Thanks for the advice, I thought about both choices quite a bit, and then after I had made a decision, I found out that I didn't really have a choice economically to begin with. I could never afford the startup costs to go with Interac, so I signed up with GEOS.
I will be staying with them for the duration of my contract, because I'm simply not that much of a risk taker to seek other opportunities. However, my friend who wanted to come with me did not get accepted to the company he applied for. This thread gave me the idea, that maybe he can come on a working holiday visa, and find a job once he gets to Japan. I offered him to stay with me until he gets a place of his own, etc.. but I was wondering if I could look for a job for him before he arrives to simplify things and make it easier for him when he does get there. This seems pretty reasonable and straightforward to me, however, I've never been before, so I figured you'd know way better than me. Is this easily doable, or are we both in for a suprise?

Dynamis
March 8th, 2007, 09:00
Yeah, you probably can. Your fellow GEOS teachers will likely introduce you to the local gaijin community, and you'll soon get to hear about what local independent schools are hiring etc.

Solarian
March 8th, 2007, 10:03
Awesome, he'll be glad to hear it. Thanks for the advice.