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Non-Native English Speaker to teach English in Japan


29 Oct 2010
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Hi everyone! I hope I can get some advice from you and learn from your experience as I am right now very worried about my situation.

First, I am Venezuelan, but I speak fluent English. Second, I have a BA degree from a Venezuelan university but not in education or English instruction, I am a Systems Engineer. Having said that, I went to Japan a couple of months ago, went to an job interview and secured a job at a Juku in Nagoya as an English instructor, mostly conversational classes I believe. I signed a contract and they sent the COE (certificate of eligibility) application to the MOFA already.

Now, everywhere I read about teaching in Japan it talks about being difficult to get a job if you are not a native English speaker or if you don't have the proper credentials (like English teacher or BA on education), however against all odds I got the job.

My concern is regarding obtaining the COE. Like I described above, even though my English is fluent and close to native (at least for the Juku it is) I am from Venezuela and I don't have any credentials or experience teaching English, however I have full support from the Juku.

1. Do you think I will run into troubles to get the COE issued?
2. Do you know of any similar cases?

I don't want to be impatient but I am, my desire to live and work in Japan is really deep so I hope I can get some thoughts from you on this case.

Also, based on my research, there are only two types of Visas I could apply for, Instructor/Professor Visa or Specialist in Humanities. I am not sure for what type my Juku applied at the Immigration Office but I believe my best shot is with Specialist in Humanities (please correct me if I am wrong).

So the requirements for an Specialist in Humanities Visa are:

1. In the case of an applicant engaging in a job requiring knowledge of the humanities, he must have graduated from or completed a course at a college or acquired equivalent education majoring in the subject relevant to the knowledge necessary for performing the job concerned, or have at least 10years experience.

2. In the case of an applicant engaging in services which require specific ways of thought or sensitivity based on experience with foreign culture;
a. The applicant should engage in translation, interpretation, copywriting, instruction in languages, public relations, overseas transactions, fashion or interior design, product development, or other similar work.
b. The applicant must have at least 3 years' experience in the relevant job, except in cases where the applicant who has graduated from college is planning to engage in translation, interpretation or instruction in languages

3. The applicant should not receive less remuneration than a Japanese national would receive for comparable work.

Can anybody explain these terms simply? Also which of those points would apply to me according to my case description above? (1) or (2) ? I will be a "language instructor".

I hope to hear your advice.
Kind regards
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