Thursday, 18 October 2012

Busy Bee Syndrome ~ The Take-Off

Well, it’s all kicking off now. And for the first time in my life, it seems that I’m going to be genuinely doing things. A lot of things. Things that might even go over my head. But this is good because this is what I wanted. I wanted to be active – and not just in the gym either. I wanted to help my case so that when I start looking for work overseas in the new year, I’ll have a backlog of experience to put on my CV. I mean, I’m so used to my three day week and lounging around on Monday and Tuesday virtually doing nothing. So this should be good for me.

You see, it was always my intention when I booked my TESOL course that I would apply to the JET Programme again, but I’m actually starting to think that I might even stand a chance this year.

For those of you who don’t know, JET stands for Japanese Exchange and Teaching, which is basically a government programme which recruits graduates from English speaking countries to go and teach English to students in Japan. This programme is the finished article – if there was ever a safer and sure-fire way of working as a Assistant Language Teacher in Japan, JET is it. But as with everything government-related, it is highly HIGHLY competitive.

I was going to apply anyway, but in my mind I figured that I probably wouldn’t make it to the interviews (like the last time I applied back in 2009), but with things starting to move forward in my life, I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, I might have a shot.

You see, I did the TESOL course, not just for JET, but for myself as well. The concept of teaching English abroad was so interesting when I booked it and now that I’ve completed it, I’m determined to leave the country and actually do it. So first stop. Japan.

But even if I don’t make it onto JET, I’m going to Japan one way or another. I’ve been interested in that place since my cousin got me into anime when I was thirteen and now, over ten years later, it’s become a must.

So what am I doing in order to increase my chances of finding work over there?

  • Well, as you know, I completed my TESOL course. My certificate came the other day – the postman bent the corners of it – the wanker – but it arrived.

  • I’m in the process of legally changing my name. I’ve heard that Asia is very strict when it comes to names and identification. I even read a blog post where some girl had problems retrieving items that had been sent over to her in South Korea simply because of a discrepancy with the name on the package and the name in her passport. Therefore, because all of my certificates - dating back to my school days – indicate my surname with a gap, I’ve legally included a gap in my last name. The deed poll came today and thus, I now need to circulate them to the designated government bodies or what have you starting with acquiring the forms to apply for a new passport.

    Speaking of passports – I dropped mine on the street today and somebody found it. I am the luckiest person ever. I didn’t even know I’d dropped it until my mum phoned and told me that someone had phoned her. So yeah, lesson number one; there are some good people out there, and lesson number two; I’m rubbish.

  • I put up an ad on Gumtree advertising for a Japanese language exchange partner. I had a mountain of feedback, but as I know what Gumtree is like, I figured I’d email  people back and forth for a bit before meeting them in person. There are people out there that are looking for a bit more than just a language exchange. I kid you not when I say I saw an ad in the Skills and Language Swap section advertising for a live-in girlfriend.

    Fortunately for me, I found myself a language exchange partner who isn’t a creep. Seems like a really nice guy. He has a lot to say about things and I feel like I can really talk to him so we’ll see what happens there, but one way or another, I’m learning some Japanese and teaching English at the same time. EPIC!

  • In addition to this, I joined a few tutoring agencies and got a phone call from one of them last night. As I was in the cinema watching Taken 2, I figured I’d call them today and find out what’s up. Good news! It's a boy! He's ten-years-old, he’s lazy and I've been told that I need to be strict. I spoke to the mother this evening and stupidly forgot to list some questions to ask her about her son, but she seemed very desperate for the help and our regular tuition days will be Saturday mornings at 11am.

    Funnily enough, while I was speaking to her, the tutoring agency rang again so I called them back. They wanted to assign me a seventeen-year-old girl, but I declined that one considering that I haven’t even started tutoring yet. It sounds like they’re going to be throwing students at me left, right and centre, however, which is good because it’s an extra income, but I figured there’d be at least a week between new assignments.
    I’ll pick up the next one, however. I’m thinking my maximum will probably be three.


So, in terms of the JET application and working overseas teaching children in general, this looks good. I’m tutoring children, teaching English, learning Japanese and about the Japanese culture and I’m still earning an income. I’m hoping that by the end of this year, I’ll have enough to be able to survive the first month in Japan – the month you have to wait before that first paycheck. So come the new year, post-JET application process, the real job search begins.

So how am I gonna handle all this?

Well, I’m going to have to strongly organise my life. It’ll be like university all over again – only the assignments will be lesson plans and unlike uni, they’ll be due in fast and furious. My part time job as an admin is the part time job I had at university – I was a retail assistant. Fun. The little time I spend with friends and family will be the clubs and student union nights I’d go to every once in a while. I have to fit the gym in there somewhere and my bedtimes will probably have to be earlier as they're 12am if I’m tired, 1am usually and 2am if I’ve got things on my mind.

I think it would also, be helpful if I fixed my diet as well. There’s been a dangerous influx of Chinese takeaways of late. We did the monthly shop last week, however so I have no excuse.

I shall keep you updated, however. Hopefully I don’t burnout.

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