Sunday, November 29, 2009

The application process

Since passing my TEFL exam, I've begun looking for work within; at the moment, Taiwan. I would really like to work and live in Sapporo but its rough finding work there. Sparse population in Hokkaido works against me due to that most jobs, require you to have a drivers license and/or car. I've looked over the Japanese drivers test in the past and there is no way I could pass this without knowledge of Japanese (which means I should practice Japanese then take a test to prove my fluency!!!!). Parts of it are memorizing an obstacle course as well. And sadly, I can't just get and international drivers license, since American ones are only good for a short time. This is something I've also looking into. Taking a test for 50cc-250cc bike/scooter in Taiwan would be a breeze compared to the rigorous Japanese drivers test. :S

Applying for work isn't too hard. I already have existing resumes and cover letters aimed at the English Teacher job. So its just a matter of editing and submitting. Then taking a picture of my smug face and degree. They want that too.

The biggest hurdle I have is the interview process. Before, when I had to interview, they took place in Portland, OR. This was nice. If I had to go to Seattle or Vancouver BC, this isn't much of a problem. One over skype or the phone isn't a problem either.

But if they want to see me in LA or NY or even in Taiwan, this is a problem. Mostly due to cost.

Since researching about work in Taiwan, I've came to find out that some places suggest, you take a 60 day visitor visa for your interview process. Get a handful of interviews lined up. Board a plane and head over to Taiwan to look for work. If you get a job, then the school will switch over your visitor visa to a work visa. This is an "IF".

I feel fairly confident in my abilities that if I were to do this 60 day visa, I could find work in the 60 days. But the main problem with this one again, is cost.

I'd need a budget of at least $4,000 to do something like this. I could maintain a diet of rice and stay in hostels and couches. Whats more crazy, is that I've actually begun considering this option. I've been lost in Asia before and 60 days looking for work wouldn't kill me.

Of course, if the current applications I send out and a few more on their way lend me work, then this won't be an issue.

I think I've lived too safe and comfortably the past few years. Might as well take a leap of faith and see if I could do it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I passed!

Good. Now I begin the process of looking for work.

My considerations for Taiwan have risen dramatically. This doesn't mean I wouldn't want to work elsewhere. I'd love to be in Sapporo.

Its just, finding a job there is difficult.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Over the past few weeks as I finished up my TEFL course, the idea of working there slowly started ringing louder and louder in my head.

Japan was my first and has been for a while. Well, until now.

Pay, for the most part, across the board is the same in S. Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Where they differ though, is benefits and their tax systems. Japan, has a higher standard of living and a relatively high tax rate. S. Korea is low and Taiwan is fairly low as well.

The cost of living in Taiwan however, is really really low. Of course, depending on where you live. Still, when I was in Taiwan, my friend told me that you could rent a moderately sized apartment in Tai Chung for roughly $230 a month, this also included water, gas, and electricity. Thats cheap.

When it comes to those benefits, S. Korea probably gets the win but Taiwan is close, if not in the same playing field. Both countries may offer you're airfare, pay for your living expenses, give you bonuses such as "perfect attendance"!!! When it comes to Japan, their benefits are generally lacking.

English teachers generally make around 2,000 - 2,500 a month. I've seen job postings in Taiwan for jobs that pay up to $4,000 USD/month. Of course a 40 hour week but still. Jobs that pay around 2,000 or so in Taiwan are generally PART TIME (20-25 hrs/week).

The more research I do, the more Taiwan seems appealing. Plus, I could have a little 50cc scooter over there. Explore the land... I would love this.

Things I've also considered is competition for a posted job. Everyone and their mother would like to work in Japan.

Maybe it will be Taiwan for me. Who would have thought it?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Episode 15

How I thought this out in my head was much different than how it turned out. I think, mostly in part due to laziness. The other part was in the gap of time between starting the Austin road trip and finishing it. Which would be around a month and a half.

That's ok though. I'll be back to work on the Japan stuff in the coming weeks. Hopefully I'll finish off the series soon...

I still have Taiwan to get to and I was there last year, at nearly the same time!


Thursday, November 12, 2009


I finally finished my TEFL course! This process has been a fairly exhausting month and a half (give or take). I was hoping I would have been done by the beginning of November but this is close enough. Now its time to wait, roughly ten days for my results.

So exhausted and I have to leave for work in a few hours. Ugh.

The timing of taking this final test was not awesome either. The company I'm doing this through is located out of Prague. When you get to the final test, you email them stating you're ready. They e-mail you back download link with the test. You then have twenty-four hours to complete the test.

I emailed them Tuesday morning at around 9am, thinking its around three or four in the afternoon over there. After about an hour of waiting for the email back, I looked at the current time and found out it was near eight in the evening. Beautiful.

The day I planned to work on it, didn't work out. I got the email and download link last night but decided to start on the final exam this morning, at roughly 9am.

They said most people finish the test in six hours. Well, I get anxiety with tests and am generally bad at them, so it took me 12 hours to complete. Plus I'm great at second guessing myself, so now I'm nervous about my results. Awesome.

Like I said, the wait for my results is ten days. Between now and then, I can start looking for work or think about retaking the course.

I'm such a pessimist.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Hokkaido or Bust

I'm nearing in on the completion of my TEFL lessons. This means a major portion of my awake hours are spent thinking about where I want to teach. Of course its easy to say "anywhere" but that's a lie, there is always a preference.

The place I'm gambling on is Hokkaido.

I say this is a gamble because the population of Hokkaido is roughly five million. The total population of Japan is somewhere around 125 million. Considering that 120 million live elsewhere in Japan, you can see that population density in Hokkaido is surprisingly sparse.

This also means that jobs within the region are difficult to find. I'm hoping to get work there and if I don't, its okay.

Sometimes I feel though, that if I don't get work in Hokkaido; I'm okay with working anywhere within Asia. I like Japan, its fun but Taiwan is just as fun and I'm sure that South Korea is just as fun.

We shall see what the options are, just have to get through these final papers and final test.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The High Seas

A sparrow tattoo or swallow, is a tattoo sailors earned for traveling 5,000 nautical miles. Another at 10,000; Anchor at 50,000 and a 'tall ship' around 100,000. I could be a little off but I'm sure that this is roughly the correct chart for each tattoo.

Eitherway, I've always wanted to spend time on a ship at sea. Its always seemed appealing in some regard.

A few months ago I stumbled upon a company (freighter world) where you can do just that. You can pay to ride on a freighter for really as much as you can afford.

As ridiculous as it seems, this is something I'd like to try. If I'm successful at landing a job in the far east, I would like my voyage back to be by this form of transportation. Its not cheap; around $100 per day and its not as luxurious as a cruise but what it is, is adventure.

This is how people traveled not so long ago. If you wanted to go to Japan back in the 1950's, this is most likely how it would have been done. Of course you would be on a cruise ship but you would still spend a two weeks journey across the Pacific. If you wanted to go to Europe, same thing (luckily, there still are cruises that leave to Europe from the US).

But think of it, what would be my rush to get back to the US? I'd be done teaching, why not enjoy my time off? If I were in Japan or Taiwan, I could fly to Korea, spend my remaining weeks there; take a train to Pusan and board a ship for my two week journey back to the States.