So you’ve decided that you want to go on anadventure teaching abroad and Japan is one of the countries on your shortlist. You’reprobably already packed and ready to get started with your new life. Butknowing what to expect when it comes to work and life in a foreign country canbe difficult to decipher at first blush.
The different language and different culture can be as terrifying as it is exciting and in most cases difficult to adjust to. To easily acclimatize to teaching English in Japan, there are a few good things to know before you leave. This short guide should help you at least learn what you can expect as soon as you get to Japan;
- Culture Shock is a Real Possibility
Anytime you travel to a foreign land with a culture unfamiliar to you, culture shock is to be expected. A lot of things that the Japanese consider normal will be quite foreign to you and this is likely to cause a lot of frustrations. Communication is one of the major areas you may experience difficulties in for the simple fact that most people in Japan will speak Japanese. Even if you can learn the language, there are various words that can be expressed in public and others that may be deemed inappropriate. In Japan, some of what is said is indirect and knowing the difference can mean that you easily communicate your needs to individuals as well as your students.
Aside from language, you may also find that there are differences in regard to expectations in various aspects of life including gender roles and family. It is therefore important to learn about the history of Japan to understand why the society is structured as it is.
- There are No Robots in the Streets
Contrary to popular belief, you will not see any robots walking the streets in Japan. They are actually very few robots, mostly concentrated at select cellular stores and tourist centers. But you may encounter fairly advanced technology in the form of blowing trains, toilet seats and other feats of engineering you may not be used to. You should also be prepared to deal with outdated fax machines and even ATMs with closing hours.
- Learning Japanese Will Make things Easier
If you are going to travel to Japan to teach English, perhaps the first thing you should consider doing is learning Japanese. Not only will this help you make friends and interact with others daily, it may also open doors for you than if you arrive in Japan with little or no knowledge of the language. For example, the additional basic communication skills that learning the language can bring will mean that you are able to negotiate better terms of contract or even get a higher paying position. Fortunately, there are lots of options for learning Japanese including free and budget-friendly options online.
- The Region is Safe
One of the things most people worry about when going to Japan is the country’s relationship with North Korea. But as most other English teachers in the region will tell you, your safety is assured by the presence of both US and Japanese defense forces maintaining adequate security.
Japan also presents ample opportunity totravel the region. During your vacation days, you can easily visit destinationslike China, Thailand, South Korea, Laos and Cambodia. When planned correctly,trips to these exotic locations can cost a lot less than if you were travellingto these destinations from the United States.
Image Credits: Learning Japanese from maroke/Shutterstock