Now before I go any further, I think I should probably say that I never really considered teaching English as a career option for myself, and not just teaching English, but teaching it as a second language. What I was interested in was Japan! It was always my dream to visit and experience this majestic country and culture in all its glory since I first uncovered its existence as a curious first grader during reading time at my school library.
I pursued the study of its culture, language, literature, and almost everything about Japan all the way up to my university days. Many times along the way, there were numerous opportunities to visit Japan, but they were eventually denied to me due to uncontrollable factors. These events were truly upsetting letdowns for me, but it only made my resolve stronger. I was determined to — someday & somehow — find my way to Japan.
After graduating, I managed to discover online that there were many job opportunities for teaching English.
“That’s it!” I thought — that’s how I’ll get to Japan. The job description read: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). A, L, T… hm sounds interesting. For many recent college graduates who have their prospects on working in Japan, this position would probably be the first they hear of in regards to getting a job, and it’s also a position considered the most easiest to land.
Living in Orange County with a degree in East Asian Cultures and a minor in Japanese, there weren’t exactly many jobs jumping out to me screaming they needed me. Additionally, with my looming student loan payments creeping up from deferment, I really needed a job. It was harsh times. My part-time gig as a barista wasn’t cutting it, so an ALT position didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.
The barebones requirements to be an ALT are fairly straightforward: have a bachelor’s degree + come from an English-speaking country. *okay, check. and check!* In addition to those, I also got me a TEFL/TESL certification as well to give my qualifications an added edge.
Soon after, I applied to ECC, GABA, Berlitz, and a couple other companies if I remember correctly, but I ended up getting a reply and interview with Interac first. Of all the ALT companies on the web, Interac seemed to be the most established, and although I did read negative reviews of the company, I didn’t think much of it at the time because almost every company and English conversation school had its share of negative reviews, so it didn’t really matter if I went with Interac, ECC, or some other company. I was probably just more excited at the fact that I was finally inching closer to my dream and seeing it become a reality.
I did what I had to do to make it happen: I submitted my application, did a phone screening, and before I knew it I had myself an interview.
The interview wasn’t too bad, and it was everything I expected from a proper interview. All the details of how the interview would be conducted were all outlined in a pre-interview email anyway, so there were no surprises here.
Two weeks after my interview, I received an email in my inbox.
This job offer marked two very important milestones for me since my graduation, one being that it was my first full-time job offer, and two, it marked the achievement of my life-long dream of going to Japan. I finally did it!