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Advice needed!!!


17 Feb 2018
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Hey, so i hope one of you can help me with this.
So I’m turning 21 in a couple of months and coming to the end of my 4 years in the british army( yes i joined at 16) so I’ve always wanted to move to Japan. I’m traveling to Japan in October for a month to sight see and make sure its the choice i want to make. As you might have already guessed i dont have a BA ( batchelors degree ) i can get a TEFL course through my resettlement, but is it really possible for a 21 year old with no prior teaching experience, to teach classrooms full of children or will i even be considered for the job. Well either way my Japanese speaking is level 1 or basic. Does anyone have any hints or tips to pursuing this pipe dream??? I’ve also looking into possibly studying in a Japanese university but due to my non-existant academic qualifications. I think i would have a hard time even passing the pre-examinations. IS MOVING TO JAPAN JUST A PIPE DREAM OR IS THIS POSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE?? Excuse the punctuation and grammar. Thanks in advance.

Mike Cash

15 Mar 2002
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is it really possible for a 21 year old with no prior teaching experience, to teach classrooms full of children

They do it all the time. But they have a degree, which satisfies Immigration requirements.

Have you considered the working holiday scheme? As an Uklander you are eligible, you know.


Proofreader extraordinaire
26 Sep 2015
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As Mike says, the problem is your lack of degree, which will effectively bar you from entering the country as an English teacher. I'm sure that you could potentially be a good and even inspiring teacher - because of your four years in the army, you will have been in situations that require a lot more responsibility and thinking on your feet than being in front of a classroom of children. No offence meant to teachers there.

Regarding your grammar and punctuation - no need to apologise, it was fine for a post on a thread, but bear in mind that it will be an issue if you want to teach English. I decided to move from the UK to Japan to live with my Japanese girlfriend (now my wife) and my first job there was teaching English in an 'English conversation school' as they are often called here. I did an intensive TEFL course at City College in Manchester. Even to get on the course, I had to take a test that wasn't easy (despite having grade A GCSEs in English Language and Literature), which tested my spelling, vocabulary and grammar.

Best of luck, and I hope you make it over here. As suggested above, getting a working holiday would be a lot easier at this stage. I don't know if it's your thing, but have you heard of the WWOOF scheme?


15 Apr 2014
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As others have said, your biggest barrier is the degree-or lack of it. If you’re interested in Japan what I would suggest you do is to get the working holiday visa and that will give you up to a year in Japan to see if this is where you want to be. With Tefl and Working holiday visa you may be able to get a teaching job somewhere. Even if you don’t you can work at other kind of part-time jobs such as a bar or similar.

Then if you’re really interested in studying in Japan you can look at admissions to Japanese universities.

For national universities you need
A minimum of level two on the Japanese language proficiency test.

Private universities may be different but I don’t know. Unless you’re gifted at language neat you might be be hard to get within one year-it’s not impossible but it’s a lot of work meaning I would suggest you don’t go the English teacher route but work somewhere part time and focus on studying Japanese.

If you save some money while you’re working or bring some money with you, for your second year you could switch to a Japanese language school and get a visa to study Japanese. If you bear down you could possibly do it in one year again it depends on how good you are at language I think and how dedicated but if not if you’re just average at it and study hard you could get it done in two years-when year on working holiday visa and then one year studying at a Japanese language school

Then you would be eligible to apply for undergraduate programs at Japanese national universities

Language schools-Japanese language schools-cost around ¥800,000 and upwards per year to which you would need to add your living cost-I would suggest you stay away from Tokyo on the other big urban areas get out in the country where you need to use Japanese to do almost everything-if you get in a big city it’s easy to slide into an English pocket and not improve your Japanese language skills very much.

And if worse comes to worse and you come to Japan on the working holiday visa and decide this is not where you want to be-you have had a good year in Japan and not use your own money because with a working holiday visa you can cover your living costs.

Tuition for Japanese national universes is roughly ¥30,000 to apply ¥280,000 after you excepted and then ¥574,000 per year. There are many tuition waivers that you might be eligible for because you don’t have an income and these are 100% tuition waivers so it might not be nearly as expensive as you might think

Furthermore if you’re studying at university you can work I believe up to 28 hours it might be 24 I can’t remember offhand

I hope that helps, and it seems you have the right attitude about one to do something productive-in Japan to be a language teacher you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in language teaching-and if your plans to study at Japanese university I recommend you study something else and then you can get more employment options after graduation-including working at a Japanese company as a regular employee

I hope this helps and good luck with your dream


7 Sep 2017
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Not a pipe dream...... but get a degree anyway.

Seriously. You only need a degree, any degree, so an arts degree will fill the bill. If I can do it at 51, with a family of six working full time with the only study I had ever done was a mechanic apprenticeship then anyone can.

Plus someone with Commonwealth army experience and a degree would be highly well looked upon for employment. You can even do degrees online now through universities so you can work and do it part-time.
Maybe use the appropriate visa and study part time while you are there.

good luck
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