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Teaching Abroad Interview with Julia – Teaching in Kitakyushu, Japan

Julia Teaching in Kitakyushu, Japan

As part of the With a Backpack teacher interview section, I plan to interview teachers from all over the world that are working and teaching abroad. Hopefully, this will give you a better insight into the life of teaching!

To start off, we have an interview with Julia. She is currently teaching in Kitakyushu, Japan Find her hub page address here

Julia teaching in Japan

Can you give a few lines of description about yourself?

I’m from Florida and got my BA in English. I have always been interested in Japan and the culture and food of Japan. A couple years after finishing college I was feeling stuck and ended up deciding to apply to teaching jobs abroad. I eventually ended up getting a job in Japan and moved here.

Which country do you teach in and what age group do you teach?

I teach in the Kitakyushu area in Japan. I teach grades 7-9 so junior high school age, but I have also taught some elementary school during summer break for summer camp.

 What made you want to get into teaching?

I have always enjoyed teaching ever since I volunteered as a teacher and tutor in high school. My mother is actually an ESOL teacher in Florida.

How did you find your first job?

My first paid teaching related job was at Sylvan Learning Center. I just did a simple interview there in person and some proficiency tests in the subjects I wanted to teach. I got my current teaching job by applying on the Interac website. I did a phone interview and then an in-person interview with a demo lesson.


 Tell us about your best teaching experience?

I would say my current teaching job is my best experience. I enjoy the age group I’m working with and their enthusiasm for learning. I also enjoy living and working in Japan.


What do you like most about teaching?

My favourite part about teaching is when a student who has been struggling with a difficult problem or phrase finally understands that problem or phrase and it just clicks for them.

Julia's Adventures in Yufuin. Teaching in kitakyushu


What do you like most about the country you are living in?

I would say the people. Most people I have met are very kind and polite.


What was the biggest shock in moving abroad?

My biggest shock moving to Japan was definitely learning the language and the changing seasons. Since I come from South Florida we don’t have much of a fall or winter.


Do you have any extra private work? How did you find out about it?

I don’t have any additional private work since I’m here on a working visa. You have to get approval from the company you’re working for.

How much money do you save per month?

 Right now I have been traveling a lot so not much maybe 20,000 yen a month or 200 dollars at most.


Do you get to travel much whilst being a teacher?

I have traveled across several parts of Japan such as Yakushima, Kyoto, Tokyo, Nara, Koba, Osaka, Beppu, and Fukuoka city. I also plan to go to Seoul, South Korea in a few days over winter break and go to Kawaguchiko to see Fuji.



What advice if any would you give to aspiring TEFL teachers?

I would say make sure your company offers a lot of support especially if you know little or no Japanese. Also save up plenty of money for your deposit on an apartment and plane ticket here and do plenty of research on the culture and language ahead of time.


Do you have any regrets about moving abroad and starting a new career as a teacher?

 Not really. I think in the future if I came back I would look for a higher paying job as a teacher here though so I could travel more.


 What is dating like in your new country?

 I haven’t tried to date, but I have been hit on a few times while traveling. Usually, the language barrier can make things difficult. Some people use Tinder though even just to meet friends to help them learn English.


 What are you planning to do after teaching?

I plan to travel to Indonesia, Singapore, Italy, and Malta on the way home and then hopefully teach in my home country.


Is there anything else you think people should know about teaching? 

Know that it’s a challenging but rewarding job. For me, it’s well worth it if I can change at least just a few of my students lives for the better.


Ok so that’s all from this interview, I hope you found what you wanting to learn about teaching in Kitakyushu, Japan.

If you want to find out more about teaching in Kitakyushu, then Julia’s facebook is here – WanderingTeacher

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