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Everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Japan

International teachers

Japan offers international teachers the opportunity to work in a highly respected education system that values discipline, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning.

With a high standard of living, excellent healthcare, and a safe and welcoming environment, Japan is an ideal destination for educators who want to make a difference in the lives of students and experience a new and exciting culture.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about becoming an international teacher in Japan, including visa requirements, cost of living, healthcare, cultural expectations and norms, and expat communities.

 

Visa requirements for working as an international teacher in Japan

As an international teacher, you’ll need to obtain a valid work visa to work and live in Japan.

To obtain a work visa, you’ll need to have a valid job offer from a Japanese employer, meet the educational and experience requirements for the position, and submit the required documents to the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. These documents include:

  • Passport
  • One visa application form (nationals of Russia, CIS countries or Georgia need to submit two visa application forms)
  • One photograph (nationals of Russia, CIS countries or Georgia need to submit two photographs)
  • Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

You may also need to provide additional documentation such as a criminal background check or a health certificate, depending on your country of origin. Once your application is approved, you’ll receive a work visa that is typically valid for one year, with the option to renew it annually as long as you remain employed in Japan.

For detailed information, visit the Japanese government website.

 

Cost of living for international teachers in Japan

The cost of living in Japan will vary depending on the city and lifestyle you choose. Generally, larger cities like Tokyo and Osaka have a higher cost of living compared to smaller cities.

Housing is typically the biggest expense, with rent prices being relatively high in urban areas. However, many schools in Japan provide housing for their international teachers, which can help reduce costs.

Food and transportation costs are generally affordable, with access to fresh and delicious local produce and convenient public transportation systems.

It’s worth noting that healthcare in Japan is excellent but can be expensive, so having health insurance is essential.

Overall, while the cost of living in Japan may be higher than in some other countries, international teachers can still live comfortably on a teacher’s salary, especially with the additional benefits many schools offer.

Cost of living in Tokyo (USD)

Rent for one-bedroom apartment – $980 per month
Loaf of bread – $1.40
Litre of milk – $1.40
12 eggs – $2.00
Takeaway coffee – $3.15
Meal for two at mid-range restaurant – $48.95
Public transport – $1.05 one way

Cost of living in Osaka (USD)

Rent for one-bedroom apartment – $535 per month
Loaf of bread – $1.35
Litre of milk – $1.35
12 eggs – $1.80
Takeaway coffee – $3.00
Meal for two at mid-range restaurant – $41.00
Public transport – $1.55 one way

 

Healthcare for international teachers in Japan

Japan has a highly developed healthcare system that is accessible to both its citizens and foreign residents. As an international teacher in Japan, you will have access to the country’s universal healthcare system, which provides comprehensive medical coverage at affordable prices. The system is funded by a combination of government subsidies, employer contributions, and individual premiums.

As a foreign resident, you may be required to enrol in the national health insurance program, which covers up to 70% of your medical expenses. You can also choose to purchase additional private insurance to cover the remaining costs.

Medical facilities in Japan are generally of a high standard, with well-trained doctors and modern equipment. The language barrier can be a challenge, but many hospitals and clinics have English-speaking staff or provide interpretation services.

Overall, Japan’s healthcare system is known for its efficiency, quality, and accessibility, making it an excellent choice for international teachers who want to live and work in a country with excellent healthcare.

 

Cultural expectations and norms for international teachers in Japan

Japan has a strong emphasis on social harmony, politeness, and respect for authority, which permeates all aspects of daily life, including the workplace. Punctuality and reliability are highly valued, and it’s essential to adhere to schedules and deadlines.

Japanese communication styles tend to be indirect and implicit, so it’s important to pay close attention to nonverbal cues and read between the lines.

Additionally, dressing appropriately and conservatively is essential in professional settings, as well as respecting the hierarchy and showing respect to superiors.

 

Expat communities for international teachers in Japan

Japan is home to a vibrant and diverse expat community that includes many international teachers. In major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, you’ll find expat neighbourhoods where you can connect with others who share your interests and experiences. These communities often host social events, cultural activities, and language exchanges, providing opportunities to meet new people and make friends.

Many expat groups also offer practical support and advice, such as housing and job search assistance, as well as resources for learning about Japanese culture and customs.

Whether you’re looking to build a professional network or simply connect with like-minded individuals, the expat community in Japan is welcoming and inclusive, offering a rich and rewarding experience for international teachers who choose to live and work in the country.

 

Schrole international schools in Japan

Ready to find out what Japan has to offer you? Explore Schrole international schools in Japan now:

Abroad International School – Osaka
Aoba-Japan International School
Capital Tokyo International School
Enishi International School
Gunma Kokusai Academy Secondary School
Horizon Japan International School
International School of the Sacred Heart
KAIS International
Kyushu Lutheran International School, Primary School Division
Marist Brothers International School
Nagoya International School
Okinawa AMICUS International
Osaka YMCA International School
Shinagawa International School
Tamagawa Academy IB Programs Division
The American School in Japan
United School of Tokyo

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