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gurenokingyo

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Hi there! My name is Lucas Assis and I'm a Brazilian student currently enrolled in a Computer Science bachelor's degree in Rio de Janeiro with a deep passion for Japanese culture. I'm fluent in English, and I have a Canadian high school diploma, so I believe that I'd be apt for teaching after taking a TEFL, which I plan to do once I graduate (around 2021).

I want to experience Japanese culture and people at a deeper level, so I thought that trying to apply for an ALT position in the countryside would be the best course of action. I'm also interested in becoming a Software Engineer, so I'd probably look into applying for job openings while I'm there, since most require that you live in Japan already.

Since I'm Brazilian, the JET Programme doesn't allow me to apply for an ALT position, only CIR, and since I don't speak a lick of Japanese and JET is extra rigorous here I don't think that I stand a chance. Another option would be to apply directly to the school, but I have no idea how to do that.

I like to plan things really ahead (contingency plans, like Batman), so that I can always try something else along the way, or chance plans entirely, so any help is greatly appreciated!

P.S.: I have dark brown hair, brown eyes, short stature and white skin, if a "foreign" appeance matters at all.
 

Mike Cash

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You could learn quite a bit of Japanese between now and 2021....
 

gurenokingyo

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You could learn quite a bit of Japanese between now and 2021....
Yep, I know that! And I've already begun my studies. Next year after holidays I'm going to enrolled in Japanese classes.

Thing is, I actually want to spend a gap year of sorts in the Japanese countryside. I say "of sorts" because I don't want to spend a whole year without working (I hate being idle) so I wanted to work on something to help me sustain myself there while immersed in the culture.

Thank you for your reply!
 

nice gaijin

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Welcome to the board, Lucas :) I don't know enough about the JET requirements to speak with authority (eligibility information here), but it seems like there are still ways to apply even if your country isn't on the main list, as mentioned in their FAQ.

Have you considered private teaching opportunities? They are much less strict about their eligibility requirements, for the most part.

If you have the resources, you could look into volunteer opportunities, or go to a language school there for a few months to help beef up your language ability. I would start studying ASAP, and after a full year or two of laying down the basic foundation (depending on your aptitude as a student), you'd be ready to get the most out of an immersion program.
 

gurenokingyo

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Welcome to the board, Lucas 🙂: I don't know enough about the JET requirements to speak with authority (eligibility information here), but it seems like there are still ways to apply even if your country isn't on the main list, as mentioned in their FAQ.

Have you considered private teaching opportunities? They are much less strict about their eligibility requirements, for the most part.

If you have the resources, you could look into volunteer opportunities, or go to a language school there for a few months to help beef up your language ability. I would start studying ASAP, and after a full year or two of laying down the basic foundation (depending on your aptitude as a student), you'd be ready to get the most out of an immersion program.
Thank you for the welcome! I have in fact begun considering saving up beforehand just to study Japanese and enjoy the country.
 

Glenski

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Working as an ALT can be done in one of 3 ways:
JET programme
dispatch hire (Interac, for example)
direct hire by a board of education (usually the job is called AET then)

I suggest going to the ESL Cafe discussion forum on Japan and talk to the people there. Many are already teachers or ALTs, some have past experience as ALTs, and some are budding ALTs like yourself.

It would make more sense to me to get an internship position in your field for a year instead. You don't get a salary, but they usually pay for your living expenses. Alternately, if you just want an experience of living here, get a student visa by joining a language school.
 

Glenski

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Have you considered private teaching opportunities? They are much less strict about their eligibility requirements, for the most part.
What did you mean, nice gaijin? It sounds like you mean teaching under the immigration radar. He would have to be here with a proper visa to stay longer than 90 days, or whatever Brazil's policy is. I would not recommend working without a visa!
 

Mike Cash

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a deep passion for Japanese culture.

Such as what? Be specific, please.

I want to experience Japanese culture and people at a deeper level, so I thought that trying to apply for an ALT position in the countryside would be the best course of action.

If that is truly your goal, then it would in my opinion be a lousy course of action. Look into a cultural studies visa and opportunities to learn something about the aspect of Japanese culture you have a deep passion for (I'm assuming it isn't just Japanese cartoons and comic books). There are foreigners who come here and spend their enter stay doing all sorts of cultural activities, such as martial arts, bonsai, paper making, traditional crafts, etc.

If you want to experience Japanese culture and people at a deeper level then there are two crucial bits of advice I will give you: 1) Learn the language, including learning how to read and 2) Wherever you go and whatever you do, make your foreigner origins coincidental to your being there and doing it, not central to it.

There are more Japanese people who will include you in things even though you're a foreigner than you would ever believe...but the price of admission is linguistic competence...and those are the people I treasure. There are lots of Japanese people who will want to include you in things just because you're a foreigner, and frankly I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. I'll let you guess which kind you run into constantly when you make your being a foreigner the reason for your presence.

If you can't find a cultural activity you'd like to spend a year learning, then spend the time in a good quality Japanese language school instead. It will be a much better use of your time for preparing for future employment in Japan.

You can work part-time while doing either of those, I believe.
 

gurenokingyo

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Such as what? Be specific, please.



If that is truly your goal, then it would in my opinion be a lousy course of action. Look into a cultural studies visa and opportunities to learn something about the aspect of Japanese culture you have a deep passion for (I'm assuming it isn't just Japanese cartoons and comic books). There are foreigners who come here and spend their enter stay doing all sorts of cultural activities, such as martial arts, bonsai, paper making, traditional crafts, etc.

If you want to experience Japanese culture and people at a deeper level then there are two crucial bits of advice I will give you: 1) Learn the language, including learning how to read and 2) Wherever you go and whatever you do, make your foreigner origins coincidental to your being there and doing it, not central to it.

There are more Japanese people who will include you in things even though you're a foreigner than you would ever believe...but the price of admission is linguistic competence...and those are the people I treasure. There are lots of Japanese people who will want to include you in things just because you're a foreigner, and frankly I wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire. I'll let you guess which kind you run into constantly when you make your being a foreigner the reason for your presence.

If you can't find a cultural activity you'd like to spend a year learning, then spend the time in a good quality Japanese language school instead. It will be a much better use of your time for preparing for future employment in Japan.

You can work part-time while doing either of those, I believe.

Wow, thank you for this very informative reply!

Of course my "deep passion" isn't all about comics and cartoons (although that doesn't mesmo that I don't enjoy them a lot). In my hometown we have a Japanese colony located in the rural area, and I have a lot of good friends there. Every year I visit them to celebrate the harvest, and it's always a lot of fun to watch the Kendo fights, eat Japanese food and hang out with my friends. I have been going since I was a kid, and I've always been interested in visiting Japan, but I thought to myself "Hey, they're one of the biggest economies in the world, and you're going to be an SE, so why not work there?" And since I read a lot about English teaching in Japan, I thought that it was a good idea to try that, but now I think that because I am planning so ahead, I should just focus on gaining work experience here and learning Japanese (I've already started informal studies, and I plan to start Kumon next year), so that I can enjoy the country for a year and then start working on whatever SE job I manage to land.
 

nice gaijin

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What did you mean, nice gaijin? It sounds like you mean teaching under the immigration radar. He would have to be here with a proper visa to stay longer than 90 days, or whatever Brazil's policy is. I would not recommend working without a visa!
no, that is not what I meant. I meant like private schools/eikaiwa that don't require you to be from a certain country if your English is good enough.
 

Glenski

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Thanks for that clarification, nice gaijin. The problem he will face is that...

1. He's not a native English speaker. I realize he has a Canadian HS diploma, but a lot of companies will still think twice. He'll also have to prove his English ability with a TOEIC or TOEFL score to get past those stubborn employers.

2. Getting a work visa to teach a language that is not your mother tongue is probably even trickier. I haven't been in touch with eikaiwa life for quite a few years, but the immigration regulations come first. That usually meant having some experience teaching the foreign language before being allowed a visa. This is what it says for an instructor visa (for ALTs):
"(3) The applicant shall hold a license to teach the subject that he/she intends to teach.
(b) When the applicant intends to teach a foreign language, he/she shall have acquired an education in said language for at least 12 years. When the applicant is to teach any other subject, he/she shall have at least 5 years' teaching experience in that subject."

This requirement is not stated for the specialist in humanities visa that eikaiwa teachers get.

3. Berlitz might accept him to teach Portuguese.
 

gurenokingyo

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3. Berlitz might accept him to teach Portuguese.
Thank you for your reply.

See, I find this ironic since I feel like I could teach English much better than I could Portuguese! I haven't read a book in Portuguese for years, and I always forget how to say stuff and have to say it in English, lol.

Anyway, after discussing this matter on a couple of forums I guess that the new plan os to save up to study Japanese in Japan (Kyoto sounds like a nice place to live and experience the culture, with all the histórico locations and such) and try working part-time while I look for an SE job.

Thank you for all the help so far, guys!
 

Glenski

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Turnaround is fair play. I find it ironic that you would mention twice that you were Brazilian but didn't mention your inability to read it. C'mon. Give us some credit here and let us know more so we don't waste a lot of time.

Now, that said, once again, we are back to you convincing immigration of your abilities. It could probably be done, but just be prepared for them to ask.

Last point. You said you have always wanted to come here, yet you seem to be planning a rather hefty amount of time (a whole year) as your first trip. Why? Come as a tourist first. It won't be entirely the same, but you might have a lot of hopes and expectations in your mind and then have a bunch of them dashed upon arrival and be stuck facing another 11 months to go.
 

gurenokingyo

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Turnaround is fair play. I find it ironic that you would mention twice that you were Brazilian but didn't mention your inability to read it. C'mon. Give us some credit here and let us know more so we don't waste a lot of time.

Now, that said, once again, we are back to you convincing immigration of your abilities. It could probably be done, but just be prepared for them to ask.

Last point. You said you have always wanted to come here, yet you seem to be planning a rather hefty amount of time (a whole year) as your first trip. Why? Come as a tourist first. It won't be entirely the same, but you might have a lot of hopes and expectations in your mind and then have a bunch of them dashed upon arrival and be stuck facing another 11 months to go.
I didn't say that I can't read it. I still consider that I speak and understand Portuguese better than English, yet I am of the opinion that you tend to be able to teach your second language better than your native tongue, since you've already been on the other side of the coin, as a student.

The reason that I'm planning such a hefty amount of time is that I've done the same when I moved to Canada, and I'd have no problem doing it again for Japan. That said, I'd have no problem coming beforehand as a tourist. I'd just have to think in what occasion I'd be able to.

Thank you for your reply!
 

Glenski

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Sorry for misunderstanding what you wrote.

The reason that I'm planning such a hefty amount of time is that I've done the same when I moved to Canada, and I'd have no problem doing it again for Japan.
I don't know how you can be so certain of that, considering the vast difference in language and culture.
 

Mike Cash

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He's young. It's a gap year, not an irrevocable life choice. He's as well off spending it here as anywhere else. It may do him some good, and Japan being Japan the chances of it doing him any harm are miniscule.

He'll get enough of an idea whether he wants to pursue this or not as he gets into learning Japanese. If that doesn't take the stars out of his eyes he'll be alright.
 

gurenokingyo

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Sorry for misunderstanding what you wrote.

I don't know how you can be so certain of that, considering the vast difference in language and culture.
Hey, it's okay, I understand :).

I can't be sure of anything, but I'm an optimistic, and I find that attitude most of the time helps you the most. And, if the language and the culture are so different, then that means that I'll learn even more!
 

gurenokingyo

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He's young. It's a gap year, not an irrevocable life choice. He's as well off spending it here as anywhere else. It may do him some good, and Japan being Japan the chances of it doing him any harm are miniscule.
Heh, living in Rio de Janeiro I'm already in harm's way as it is, wouldn't you agree?
 

gurenokingyo

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From what I have seen on television, I would agree wholeheartedly.
I once got my classes canceled due to a guerrilla in a nearby favela, and the military blockaded a tunnel in order to siege the traffickers. Ever since, there's been at least one police car stationed next to my apartment. Fun times!
 

gurenokingyo

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Not a bad attitude. Do you mind if I ask what it's based on for visiting Japan?
Sorry for such a late reply, it's the end of the term!

I don't mind that at all. It's mostly based on the fact that I've already spent a long time by myself overseas from a very younge (I was 15 when I moved to Canada, and that was the first time that I had ever been overseas). Also, I'm prone to going on adventures, so I'll just face it as an adventure. Plus, as it was said above, it's just a gap year, what's the worst that could happen? And even if I end up not wanting to stay, knowing Japanese is an awesome skill to have anyway!
 

Glenski

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Being optimistic is ok if you have a sound basis. Not knowing which countries you visited (in order to compare differences in language and culture with Canada), I can only say you should be cautiously optimistic.

it's just a gap year, what's the worst that could happen?
You don't know, do you? Quite a bit, actually. "I'll just face it as an adventure" is ok for you, for example, but not for people you might end up teaching or working with. I'm not saying you'll bomb or cause major problems. Just learn tons more. Visit the ESL Cafe discussion forum for Japan.
 
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