Living in Asia

Fashion, Hip-hop, Lifestyle………………BlackLight

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America………………..Meet China

One of the members of the BlackLight Family offered up a great article on the emergence of China on an international scale “AMERICA……………MEET CHINA.” Take a look and USA……… afraid.  

Click Hyperlink for article.


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Teaching English in……………..Osaka, Japan

By Steve (Taught in Osaka, Japan)

After reading the rest of the reviews on working here, I have to agree with them all. However, as Christina said, it’s not what it used to be. After the collapse of the largest private English teaching company in the country in 2007, things have gotten a harder. The biggest changes are in visa sponsorship, pay, and working hours. It used to be if you had a pulse and grew up speaking English you could put on a tie and get paid about 300,000¥/year (about $30,000 US at the time) and not break a sweat doing it. Nowadays, the big companies left and the little ones still in the field have changed their game. If you’d like to teach professional classes to adults, you’ll likely only be able to find part-time work.

Most of my friends still teaching adults have several part-time jobs. They make good money, but they do work six days a week, albeit a pretty quiet six days: 4 hours this day, 5 this, etc. One can always fill in some hours with private lessons which tend to pay about 3,000¥/hour (or about $35US), but they’re not as easy to come by as they once were either. Also, big caveat with the little companies, once you start working a lot of them will try to squeeze extra work out of you at a lower rate than your initial class pay.

The big difficulty in teaching adults (for Americans at least, since our country isn’t on any working holiday exchange programs (write your representatives!)) is finding a company to sponsor your visa. I think most people coming here for the first time, are going to have a really hard time finding work and making ends meet taking this approach without a working holiday visa.

But there is hope. If you’re dead set on coming to Japan, I’d recommend looking into teaching children. The pay isn’t great and it’s a bit more challenging but there is more opportunity, especially if you’re new to the country. There are several international kindergartens in the Kansai area (I’m sure even more in Tokyo) and companies that will hire you to work in public schools (elementary through high school) as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). With public schools–from what I’ve heard through friends–you get a lot of free time during the day (which can be good or bad since you can’t leave the school), the pays not bad and the hours make it easy to supplement in some private students after work. However, it’s hard being the one foreigner on staff. Often you will feel like an outsider, and if you don’t try to speak Japanese and make an effort to engage with the other teachers, you’ll likely be an outsider. As for teaching at an international kindergarten (what I’m currently doing) it pays well and you get a lot of vacation time (about 2 months of the year off and paid). On the downside, you have to work for it, 8 hour days and real teaching (so expect to stay late some days and maybe even do some work at home). It’s rewarding because the children are fluent speakers and they are you’re students so you will build a bond with them.

In short, getting here is now the battle. Once you’ve established some time here, there are lots of options to choose from. And it’s a great place to live. I’ve been here five years after planning to only come out for a year. Here in Osaka, it’s a big city but affordable. You can go out on the weekends and party till dawn, eat at nice restaurants, have a nice apartment and still have some cash at the end of the month.

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Teaching in………………South Korea

By J.T  (Taught in Seoul)

Taxes, health insurance, pension. Every month about 10-15% total of your check is devoted to these things. Health care is dirt cheap. Doctor visit and prescription $10. Pension can be withdrawn when you finish your time here. Equal to about a months pay each year.

Comfortable living- you can eat well, party, and still save money. Haven’t heard of any teachers who lives as comfortably as the teachers in Korea.

Depending on the job there are lots of other perks. Is possible to have lots of free time and vacation but not at a hagwon. Definitely not teaching adults.

Cons – if you teach adults you have to work splits quite often. So the schedule is tiring. Plus you’re often required to work some weekends during your contract.

Management doesn’t always see eye to eye with western business practices. You may be told one thing but have something different happen. This is mostly hearsay because I’ve never had this problem. Some bosses are overbearing and expect too much from their employees such as working past their scheduled time without pay.

Housing is sometimes lower quality then expected.

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Teaching English in………………Sydney


(Teaches in Sydney, Australia)

– jobs are competitive, many colleges have closed
– degree + celta is the bare minimum
– full-time contract is almost impossible, casual is the norm
– pay starts at $40/hr – but cost of living (esp. rent) is v. expensive (much more than japan)
eg. pay could be $4000/month, but after tax and rent, more like $2000
– 20hr working week, with the option of taking on more
– nightlife lacks variety, is expensive, but a handful of places are a lot of fun
– not many cultural sights, but natural sights are excellent (beaches, rainforests, etc)
– we all speak english

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Teaching English in……….Bangkok

By Evan

(Taught in Bangkok, Thailand)

Thailand is a great country to be an expat in because of the low cost of living. The luxury of cheap food, accommodation, and widely available party in Thailand can make the beautiful country side, cities, and beaches even more attractive for excursions and adventures. It may still be possible to live well on $30 a day and in some cases much less if one embraces the lifestyle of your average Thai person.

One difficulty with living in Thailand is the almost impenetrable culture due to the strong feelings of cultural identity. There is no real integration as an expat will always be labelled as ‘falang’ or foreigner. Price inflation and pre conceived notions about cultural attitudes are hard to dispel and this can result in a negative perspective which is maintained by groups of foreigners who feel prejudiced against.

Choose your social circle wisely because there are some very shady characters lurking around Thailand.


Teaching English in………Japan

By Niko

(Taught in Osaka, Japan)

Teaching English in Japan is a great way to have a working holiday and explore an intriguing culture. It can even be a decent career or a springboard to start your own business. The down side is that the job can be so easy that a teacher can become complacent and lose focus of their reason for being in Japan. It is important to have a goal and keep focused. This is true for no matter where you are in life, but especially so in Japan.

By Adam

(Taught in Osaka, Japan)

– not as great as it used to be. i think most people are working freelance, for contract agencies, or for few hours at remaining schools (gaba), community colleges (senmon gakko) or for public schools in jet. opportunities for foreigners outside english teaching are limited and more difficult to negotiate.
– only need a bachelor degree and a foreign appearance
– contract is usually negotiated before start
– pay avg’s $2000/month, but after travelling around jp, i had saved nothing after a year
– less than 30hr/week
– nightlife in osaka seems better than in other cities. there’s a vibrant live music scene (punk music) and club scene (hiphop, dancehall).
– cultural sights in spades (hyogo has himeji castle, kyoto has fushimi-inari shrine, wakayama has koyasan temple complex), but natural sights are fewer (mino in north osaka)
– food is incredible: all levels of dining from street food (takoyaki, okonomiyaki, oden, doteyaki) to high end (kaiseki, kappo, michelin-starred french). street food is more expensive than on the asian continent, but high end is usually cheaper than in europe.
– more english is spoken in cities with tourists (kyoto, hiroshima) – but intermediate japanese is essential to live there, especially beyond the first year.

By Christina

(Taught in Osaka, Japan)

Pros and cons of Japan and Korea. Okay, happy to help you out.
For a con, I would say how the eastern culture’s ways were very different from westerners, although they’re adapting to both ways (and hopefully westerners can adopt eastern ways too). Specifically in both countries, when someone was hurt, no one came to help. That seemed so cold. I witnessed a man having epilepsy after Nova one day, and all the natives stood around him, taking photos. No one called for help. Those ending their shift from Nova heading down to the red line were the only ones who got help for the man. Another time, and old man fell all the way down the subway steps. Everyone ignored him. I offered help, thinking it was the right thing to do. To me, it seemed like a lack of humanity.
Pro’s were expanding my horizons and mind seeing different cultures (not just natives, but other foreigners from other western countries too). I think it boosted my confidence in speaking/traveling anywhere. It made me appreciate what I had at home (b/c I was poor in Japan! I missed my friends/family at home). It made me realize what I was capable of teaching others/helping others. When finding employment now, a lot of establishments are impressed w/me living abroad, and some language skills I have learnt.