Make Your Way in Japan on a Student/Teacher Budget

May 8, 2008

Yesterday I told you about the sale on tours of Japan (good through the end of May). But maybe you’re not a tour person. Maybe you want to plan your own trip, go your own way. Perhaps you’d prefer to work in Japan and stay a while, get an apartment, make friends with the locals. That’s a great idea, and I give you some ideas on making it happen.

First, unless you have loads of money to spend and just plan to spend a few months sightseeing and hitting karaoke bars, you’re going to need a job. It’s safe to say that most students to head to Japan to work go to teach English.

Luke in JapanOne little hiccup in that plan now is that one of Japan’s largest English schools, the Nova Group, filed for bankruptcy in October 2007, leaving a few thousand foreign teachers out of work and unpaid, flooding the market with qualified workers. Some of those people found other jobs, others packed up and left the country, but it goes to show that when traveling it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan and some extra cash.

One of the people who found himself out of work was my friend, Luke. See how happy he looks teaching these kids? Well he looked a lot less happy when he had no job, no rent money, and no idea what to do next. Ah, but our Luke is a resourceful Englishman. He knew he had skills that could make him some quick cash in Tokyo, namely being able to sit around and look English. He signed up with some modeling agencies and soon found work as an extra for television programs that needed Westerners.

Luke also picked up some private English lessons and found work with a high school, then a university, helping students study English. It took some time, but soon he was able to afford a decent apartment on his own and even have a few yen left over for a game of snooker and a pint of ale.

How is this going to help you plan your trip? Hopefully it’s going to make you think about alternate plans of action if your first one falls through. Talk to people, share information with other travelers you meet, find out where the work is, what opportunities are available to you and what the visa or work requirements are for where you want to be. And when in doubt, do like Luke and fall back on a career as an international model and actor. Simple.

One comment

  1. Journey to Japan – is my dream. I hope one day it become reality.

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