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From Japan to Europe for non-EU citizen - is it worth it?

 
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:45 am    Post subject: From Japan to Europe for non-EU citizen - is it worth it? Reply with quote

Right now I teach at a private high school in Japan, but wanted to move somewhat closer to North America, have a different experience, and be closer to family.

I am an American citizen with:

- an MS in TESOL
- public school teaching certification in TESL from New York State
- 5 years public school teaching experience in New York City in ESL
- 3 years of teaching at a private junior and senior high school in Japan (where I currently work)
- About 10 years of previous experience teaching at private language schools in Montreal, New York City, and Japan

I am considering looking for work in Eastern Europe as there might be more schools that will hire those not from the EU and Russia. I thought about places such as Czech, Romania, Poland, and Russia.

But, I understand the most desired qualification in Europe is a CELTA or DELTA, and likely many places prefer someone with a EU passport. I don't have these as you can see, so I wondered whether an MS TESOL with teacher certification from New York State and experience would do.

Are there places in Eastern Europe and Russia that would hire me? What kind of work could I qualify for? (i.e. decent language schools, private schools, international schools, colleges?)

Thanks in advance for your comments.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9307
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can find work, though your experience in Japan won't be viewed as nearly equivalent to your experience in North America, and experience teaching European students is preferred.
Here's a thread that goes into the reasons for this:http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=95456&start=0


Your MS TESOL helps (and I think you could skip the CELTA), but the problem is that university (and all state-owned school) jobs in CEE are extremely underpaid - people generally make more money at even entry-level private language schools. This is a holdover from the old system and also applies to health care professionals.

There are a few rare exceptions in private/Western universities, but these jobs are really rare and when openings come up they usually go to someone qualified with connections.

The most likely way for you to get 'in' to the region is to pick a city, come over, and pay some dues at the private language school level, working your way up to one of the few better jobs around. This will require a local rep and contacts, and probably at least functional local language skills. Basically, it takes time.

Logistically, reputable schools in the Central European region (Czech Rep, Poland) don't hire from abroad; there are lots of teachers around, so no need to take a chance on someone sight-unseen. Timing is important; most contracts are Sept/Oct through June, and as a US passport holder, you've got just 90 days to get legal paperwork going. Ideally, come over in end August or very start of September. Count on first paycheque at earliest end October.

Also, wages here are far below what you are used to in Japan, though may be comparable to what a private language school teacher in North America makes, unfortunately.

Basically, you can count on enough to live frugally, but not to save up much, pay off debts back home, or to be able to buy a car or a flat.

NB I am speaking primarily for Central Europe; go to the Russia forum for more accurate info about that region - I believe it's rather different.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78, thank you for your prompt and informative response. Central Europe was only a place I considered recently, but Russia as I said is possible. I will ask about that on the Russian forum.

One avenue that may be possible if I get stuck on this region is private international schools. If there are any and there are any with an American based curriculum, that may be another possibility. Just a thought. I will look into what is there, although I have a feeling if there are any they are UK based curriculum and therefore mostly after EU English teachers.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 496

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will politely disagree with Spiral, albeit slightly. In Warsaw Poland, for example there are myriad "international schools." Of course the American school and British school, which are somewhat sponsored by their respective governments are the best but there are others around that pay fairly well and where it is easier to get a job. You wouldn't be underqualified for either of these schools though, so take a look. Most of the better international schools hire from abroad, NOT locally. I worked for this one for a while: http://www.szkolamiedzynarodowa.pl/ send your resume if you like. It's quite alright there and they pay a fairly decent base salary with accomodation thrown in, although nothing like the American school.

There is also this one: http://www.ias.edu.pl/pl/ Although when I heard what they were offering new teachers around five years ago, I decided to look elsewhere, perhaps they are paying better now though.

For private language schools there is: http://www.academyofnewyork.com/

I know for a fact that each of these schools will get you a work visa and hire people from abroad.

It's somewhere to start at least.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9307
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, sparks is correct, of course!
I should have been clearer; private language schools don't usually hire from abroad, but international schools may well do so.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 367

PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great! Thanks for the updates both of you and great to hear about international school work experience first hand from you sparks. I will definitely look into these schools and perhaps do a check around for others.
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