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Thread: Smaller Eikaiwa

  1. #1

    Default Smaller Eikaiwa

    I am hoping to travel to Japan next year to work at an Eikaiwa. I have been leaning towards Geos of Aeon up until now, but I am now hearing things about smaller, better paying companies. Could someone provide me with some information regarding smaller Eikaiwas. I actually don't care much about the money, but maybe they are better managed as well? What are the benefits and drawbacks of a smaller schools as opposed to the bigger schools like Geos or Aeon?

    Also, I finish university this spring, so I will be applying within the next few months. What time of year would I likley be starting? June? September?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Member privileged's Avatar
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    I think it is easier to come over with a big one, particularly AEON. They are quite annoying, but they set you up with a furnished apartment, no security deposit, and subsidized, also give you a completion bonus and flight home money (at the end of your 1 year contract).

    With some good timing, you could use that money to go towards your own apartment when you find a better job your second year.

    I suppose it is possible to find a better job at a smaller place right off the bat, but trickier for a number of reasons. Smaller schools are more of a crapshoot, maybe better, maybe worse, and you may not be in a good position to tell the difference. They are also more likely to hire someone that has been here and has the background/experience of a year at a larger place, not to mention visa. It would also be hard to show up and organize a job, apartment, and visa on your own.

    So my take it is it is not impossible, but basically just not worth it.

    ECC are probably better than GEOS, and possibly better than AEON (I think ECC pay less, but nicer to work for).

    It is hard to say about departure / start date. Generally I would guess a few months after you interview and are accepted, but that could certainly vary. When I started at AEON they told us we could more or less choose 1 of 3 things:

    -when we left
    -who we taught (basically including kids or not)
    -where we'd be placed

    I don't think that is current/consistent though.
    Last edited by privileged; January 4th, 2009 at 07:37.

  3. #3
    Senior Member reed's Avatar
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    Privileged says it all, but here's more!

    The big companies are going to be your best choice not just for stability, but since they are much more familiar and comfortable with the immigration and visa processes that will secure your entry into Japan.

    Smaller and family-owned chains prefer to hire by interviewing directly at their offices, and then you may still need to provide your own work or spouse visa or indicate that you have existing housing within a reasonable distance from their office to be considered for an interview.

    In addition, many smaller companies are staffed by bilinguals but managed and owned by non-English-speakers who are considerably more jaded and cautious, and will screen out people who may jump ship -- which includes anyone who hasn't taught in Japan before. Smaller eikaiwa tend to split staff between in-house and local school lessons which require certain travel, sometimes at higher costs than your perdium will cover (if at all). Don't be intimidated out of trying for a smaller company, though: I have never worked for any of the big chains, and came to Japan in 2005 by winning a contract with a small mom-and-pop eikaiwa.

    Don't wait to apply. Privileged says it again with hiring dates coming months after the interview -- the big companies consistently hire about twice a year overseas and keep a particular schedule. Most ship out near April or August to match school semesters, but acquiring entry visas can take a few months, interviews usually DO take months, and application deadlines come before that. You should be pushing hard to apply and interview right now. December, January, February are all interview months.

    Regardless of hiring date: Prepare your letters of commitment, school documents and resume now, to minimize prep when a job listing comes along. With on a few months of college left you're basically ready to enter the job market now, but if you don't start dialogue with any companies before graduation you'll miss most start dates and be stuck until late 2009 or even early 2010 to apply for something another six to eight months down the road.

    Contact anyone directly if possible. With smaller chains, it's easier to find direct phone numbers to express interest. Letter-writing is more flexible too -- experience, commitment and explicitly identifying why you prefer the improved interaction, communication and management of a private eikaiwa are good focus points. If possible, translate or have translated all of your documents into Japanese, especially your letter. Even just a few sentences will do wonders.

    And good luck, of course!
    Last edited by reed; January 5th, 2009 at 06:55.

  4. #4
    SENIOR MEMBER Neb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smaller Eikaiwa

    they do interviews in jan\feb and ship out in april you say, but you also mention that the companies usually do hiring twice a year. When is the second time they do hiring? Chances are if i don't get into JET i will try to apply to the private eikawas, but I'm wondering about when the applications start (May? June?), and do they ship you out in August\September, similar to JET?

  5. #5
    Senior Member reed's Avatar
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    My experience with AEON specifically was to apply in Nov-Dec 2004, get confirmation in March 2005, and attend a group interview in Chicago in April 2005 (it was the only city still interviewing for that year). I would have begun work in Japan from August 2005.

    Things may have in fact changed. A quick visit to the AEON and GEOS websites shows you can apply year-round online. My advice is to apply immediately to anyone you're considering.

    Chains which hire overseas...

    AEON
    http://www.aeonet.com/application/application.html
    (explains their process + application)

    GEOS
    http://www.geoscareer.com/contract/contract.php?nr=3
    (pre-japan details + application)

    ECC
    https://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/online/us/index.php
    (ECC - must interview in Canada 2009)

    RCS
    http://www.rcs-ed.jp/en/index.html
    (details + application)

    (Time passes.)

    I started this post intending to dig up more on small schools but having lived in Japan a while I am used to falling back on Gaijinpot, Jobsinjapan and Kimi Information Center, which are all great for private and small eikaiwa, but most require you to be in Japan. Will add as information comes forward! I do think companies via the following links are worth contacting, to get a better idea of what you're in for when talking to small eikaiwa. In cases where they'll help with housing, visa sponsorship and so forth, you might arrange a contract to be mailed to the US while preparing and saving, and can enter the country on the visa waiver program (travel for 3 months) and immediately move onto their sponsored work visa.

    http://www.gaijinpot.com/job_search.php
    http://www.kimiwillbe.com/joboppo.htm
    http://jobsinjapan.com/jobs/teaching.html

  6. #6
    SENIOR MEMBER Neb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smaller Eikaiwa

    Actually the two companies I'm looking to apply to are ECC and iTTTi, and I'm currently residing in Vancouver, Canada. So you suggest I apply right now? I was thinking of waiting till I find out about whether i get an interview or not before applying for anything (find out in 2-3 weeks, mid-late january). Do you think that would be too late? I want to apply at the point where I would be leaving in July\August\September of 2009 (much like you were). Oh and just to point out, JET is preferred over any of these options, so if i get an interview with JET, should I still apply to these other companies as backup? Or should I wait to see if i got accepted? (early april) or if i DO apply but end up getting accepted into JET, whether theres an option for opting out of the other companies.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Smaller Eikaiwa

    A friend of mine did iTTTi or "Peppy kids Club"(lol wtf) and gave it good reviews. He was happy enough with the company to stay a second year so...

    in iTTi's FAQ section it says the following


    "When is the best time to apply for a position?
    We usually hold at least one training session every month, so you are welcome to apply anytime during the year."

    I know that aeon also hires year round(well in toronto anyway). They tell you to apply 2-6 months prior to when you plan to depart to leave ample time for your Visa to be processed. I imagine iTTi is similar.
    Last edited by BitchesInTokyo; January 5th, 2009 at 13:09.

  8. #8
    SENIOR MEMBER Neb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smaller Eikaiwa

    2-6 months.. so either way it leaves me ample time to wait for news from JET regarding the interviews. It's just these alternatives is something that is always at the back of my mind, as a contingency in case I don't get into JET.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Smaller Eikaiwa

    When I was in the same position last year, I found one or two smaller eikaiwas that were small enough that they could tell you exactly where you would be working and living. Looking back this is a big plus.

    If I could know the exact location of a big city I would be living, with pictures of the apartment and a clear work and pay schedule I'd be all over it.

    This is of course assuming the company is legit but I guess that's a small risk you have to take if you aren't going through a big corporation.

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