Hi, I am Janet from New Zealand, and for the moment I’m living and working as a teacher in Tokyo.
After a hectic, intensive course, with quite a few reports to write, some “wake up calls” in my mother tongue, and exciting teaching practice classes with real non-English speaking students, I was the proud owner of the Trinity College CertTESOL certificate. English isn’t all that easy, neither to teach nor to learn. However, I soon realised that I would not have been able to teach professionally without this course.
My reason for taking the Trinity college CertTESOL course at the EBC centre in Madrid was not to go to Japan; I wanted to go further away, to Europe or another continent.
However, on one of my trips around different European countries, I made friends with some Japanese travellers, and we spent a week together in Germany.
Their personalities, the pictures they showed me, their stories about living in Tokyo and all the great nights together made me curious about this country and its culture and traditions.
Anyway, let’s start from the beginning. In my last year of nursing school, I wasn’t sure I wanted to start working straight afterwards at a hospital. I wanted to see the world before settling down, and I had always wanted to see Europe. But how? What about money? Should I forget about my old dream and start working?
I was about to apply for jobs when I bumped into an ex-boyfriend on the street. I hadn’t seen him in a while, and he told me why. “I took a teacher training course in Madrid two years ago, and I taught English in Madrid while studying Spanish. One of the greatest experiences of my life. I recommend it to everybody”, he said, full of enthusiasm. “I have learnt so much about Spain, Spanish and European culture, and about myself that I could keep on talking about this experience forever”, he added.
Learning of all his experiences, I decided to follow suit and enrol in Madrid’s EBC Trinity College CertTESOL course.
EBC ran the Trinity College CertTesol course in Madrid. I went on their site, and before I knew it, I had applied and was scheduled for the pre-admission test. The spoken interview was exhaustive, and it was followed up with a 200-word essay. Both tests weren’t too tricky, but I wasn’t sure if I was getting accepted. I was surprised to receive an acceptance email a few days later, and I was so happy.
Now it’s my turn to speak of my experiences! I decided to stay for some months in Madrid, getting to know Spain a bit and travel around Europe at the weekends.
I had a great time in Madrid, shared a flat with three other friends from the course, and got valuable teaching experience.
EBC helped me in applying for jobs in Tokyo, and here I am.
Living in Tokyo is like living in the future, but you are constantly reminded of their ancient culture. Examples of their old history and traditions pop up around you while walking around in this futuristic dreamscape. The streets are sprawling, the crowds are immense, and the architecture is daunting.
Tokyo is modern, high tech, fast paced and vibrant. It consists of 23 city wards and many villages, towns and inner cities. There is a lot of entertainment of all kinds; you can go shopping for years without returning to the same shops. In addition, you can join cultural activities, covering sports events, music, theatre shows and classical opera.
The summers are warm and humid, while the winters are dry and cool. It’s not always easy, fast and simple to get around in the city and the traffic is notorious. However, the public transport is excellent and efficient.
Spending some nights in the Ropongi district, which is full of bars, restaurants and clubs, I have made friends with some other English teachers, and they have been very helpful with some specific things here, for example: that it’s not normal to give tips.
Although the competition is quite hard, you may be offered all types of teaching jobs, in private or public schools or private or public universities.
All my teaching friends and I have discovered that ESL teachers are well received. Japanese are generally interested in culture, innovative plans for their classes, and cultural activities.
As students, they are very disciplined and respectful. In general, society is based on being polite and discreet.
In the beginning, I felt that it was a bit too formal, e.g. the way I must dress when I go to classes.
So, there are many new things to get used to, and the obstacles about getting around due to the density of people and the fast pace may be an issue in the beginning.
Anyway, I am enjoying my stay here, and I learn new things every day, both about myself, teaching, and the Japanese culture. I just emailed my EBC tutor John, he emailed right back, and I miss my 4-week course in Madrid. Our class was so close; we bonded so well that we almost didn’t want the course to end. Oh well, I might visit Madrid soon, even only to pop by the EBC school and say hello, or have a drink or have a meal, whatever! They’re all cool, so it’s just fun hanging out.