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CELTA in Japan, NY, or Ecuador?

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Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: CELTA in Japan, NY, or Ecuador? Reply with quote

Hi. I am looking to start my TEFL career next year (not set on where yet but Japan is one of them).

I have a few months volunteer experience as a tutor and will have about half a year to a year by the time I start applying.

Currently, I am saving money and looking at training options, which are as follows:

I) CELTA in Japan - I imagine this would help the most with finding work quickly but is the most expensive option, therefore the question is (assuming it is possible to complete without serious visa issues...) would the extra cost be worth it.

II) CELTA in NY - This is close to home where I would commute, therefore the safest option. However, it would still be more expensive than Ecuador.

III) CELTA in Ecuador - It is 175 hours (believe regular CELTA is 120hours, but not 100% sure on this). It is paid food and accomodation as well, and also on the waterfront from what I understand. Overall, it is cheaper than the above two considering hours to dollars.

I think Ecuador is the most comfortable option. However, would a CELTA from South America, even with MORE hours (175), be chosen (by an employer in Japan) over a CELTA with less hours (120 I presume) taken in Japan.

I would prefer to take the third option in Ecuador, I have some friends that are in the region (but not in the TEFL field), so it would not be completely disastrous in case something were to happen.

However, as much as I would like to eventually teach in South America, I need to have more money saved up and pay off my loans (about $35,000) and I know there are also other options than Japan (but the pay in South America is nothing like East Asia or the Middle East).

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Joined: 11 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would tough it out in NY and get it there. Then you can come to wonderful Japan. (it's pretty awesome)
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Joined: 28 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, but would it be easier to find a job in Japan through the CELTA school?Though from what I understand they don't provide direct help but I am sure they can give some contacts, etc.
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Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 601
Location: Tendo, Yamagata, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried the CELTA program in NY. I moved up there and was planning to stay for about 4 - 6 weeks. It was an interesting experience, but...for me, difficult. I didn't care for the people I was forced to be with. We were put into groups. The people I did like, were all in the other groups, but that's irrelevant. Even if I don't care to work with someone, I can still be professional. I always lost points for the most miniscule things. It's very strict, in my experience and given the short amount of time, you should try your best never to be late or absent. I'm sure it's difficult to make up the work. I never missed a day....voluntarily.

If you're wondering, no, I didn't manage to obtain my CELTA. I ended up becoming sick and had to go to the ER. I was stuck in the hospital for over a week and through the doctor's orders, I was told to head back home (Virginia) to recuperate since continuing to stay with my cousin and her son wasn't an option, as both were heavy smokers and the area they had me staying in had mold. I developed breathing problems while there my second week in, and by the fourth week, I could barely beathe at all doing the most minimal task.

One student there (who of which I got along with) had done English language teaching for many years in Japan. She decided to finally do something like CELTA to have something of that nature under her belt and to gain more knowledge. She didn't like it and felt that some of the stuff taught wouldn't be effective in real-life classroom situations...but in her defense, she'd done teaching for a long time. She, probably, had her own methods/styles, which caused her to receive docked points constantly.

The place I was doing my CELTA through, didn't find you "direct-hire" jobs, but they did have recommendations for you or places to check out based on your preferences.
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Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 934

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did the CELTA in Ecuador and worked there before coming to Japan. First, the fact that it's 5 weeks instead of 4 is of no interest to employers, they won't even know. It's exactly the same course just over a slightly extended period, which takes some of the pressure off.

Take all promises to help with job hunting with a pinch of salt (in Ecuador and elsewhere). It rarely means more than a list of local schools. Having said that, everyone on my course who remained in Ecuador had a job within a couple of weeks of the course finishing. The CELTA was definitely highly valued by schools in Ecuador.

However, as far as I can see it carries little or no weight in Japan. The bulk of the jobs here are in conversation schools or as an ALT. The methods they teach on the CELTA would be of minimal use. The conversation schools are geared to training people from scratch, they have their own materials and their own styles and want people to follow their methods down to the letter. The situation with ALTs is more variable, but you still have to fit in with both the school and the class teacher. But given the way English it taught in schools here, it's unlikely that the CELTA style is going to be particularly relevant.

Also, be aware that what counts as 'teaching English' in Japan may not hold a lot of weight outside of Japan.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that if I were in your situation I wouldn't bother with the CELTA before coming to Japan. If you take the CELTA now and then don't use it for a couple of years in Japan you'll have forgotten most of it by the time you do need it. Just get a job here, take the training offered and get started. When you are ready to move on from Japan head to Ecuador (or wherever else you want to go) and do the CELTA there so that you can immediately look for work locally once you finish.
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Joined: 02 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A CELTA is very valuable for finding good part time work (such as business lessons). The place that runs the CELTA program in Kobe, Language Resources, pretty much requires it to work for them.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice... My initial plan was to start with a CELTA under the belt no matter where I go and after a few years of saving money (to pay school loans about 30K USD) in East Asia, shift over to South America (I mean I find no realistic way to make the same kind of money considering my entry-level credentials).

But... I suppose that starting in Japan may be better then. Thanks!

Out of curiosity HLJHLJ, what was your salary like working in Ecuador, what kind of hours did you work, how were your students, and why did you go to Japan afterwards?
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Joined: 06 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our qualifications and experience are too different, so my jobs aren't really relevant for you.

At entry level in Quito or Guayaquil you can expect to earn about $750-$1000/month, which is plenty to live on in Ecuador, but even if you save hard it doesn't translate into decent savings when you leave the country. Work usually involves split shifts and working weekends. Outside the 2 main cities wages drop considerably, but living costs are lower too. However, most of the work is in Q and G. I loved working with Ecuadorian students, they are typically gregarious and enthusiastic. It's usually pretty easy to get them talking in English.

We left because our visas were running out and we wouldn't have been able to renew them. We came to Japan because my husband got a job here, and the pay is better. Hopefully we'll be able to move back to Latin America once his contract is finished here.
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