So, as mentioned on the previous post (Japan: The Interview), after I went in for the interview, I had to wait for the Head of Recruitment to call me and confirm, once again, that I did not have an obvious foreign accent.
A week passed as I was waiting for my call. In the meantime, my friend Fred had had an interview with a school and had already got an answer in just a few days.
But on Friday morning I got a call. I checked the screen and saw a long foreign number and instantly knew: it’s them! I had just woken up and was still lazily eating my breakfast in front of the TV, so I was not mentally ready for it. I swallowed dry and answered the phone.
The guy was extremely friendly and didn’t ask me anything serious. He even caught me off guard when he asked me about the differences between Brazilian and EU Portuguese, since he knew that I had lived in Brazil for 2 years. He asked me about my art degree and what I specialized on. We talked about printmaking and Japanese artists and then he moved on to accommodation, as they knew I was going to be on my own for that since the company only offers help for single teachers, or couples who are both working for them.
It was very nice, my mind went blank a few times as I had barely had my coffee, and in the end he said I would hear back from them in the next 48 hours or so. I got an answer on Monday saying they would like to hire me and I immediately accepted it, knowing that they would only tell me where exactly they would send me in Japan in June.
On accepting the offer, and because I work so close to their office in London, we set up a date for me to go in and collect my welcome pack and forms that I needed to fill in. When I got there I was greeted with excitement and my interviewer told me she had been praying for me as I had been the mos qualified candidate. They handed me a huge envelope and sent me off.
At home I opened it and found all the necessary forms for applying for a visa sponsorship, an employee details form, a huge welcome pack with information about the visa process, moving to Japan and the school’s policies, and a copy of my contract which I had to sign.
Everything was extremely well laid out and explained and I didn’t feel the need to contact them while I was getting all the paperwork ready. On Friday of the same week I returned all of the documents in person and that was it, as they’ll only apply for my visa later as I’ll only start in September.
Documents I was asked to show/photocopy:
- University Diplomas
- CELTA Certificate
- Any English qualifications (CPE certificate in my case)
- CRB Security Check (needed when working with children under 18)
- 2 passport photos
- Medical document stating I am fit to work in a foreign country (to be given on arrival)
Some schools might ask you if you are willing to drive in Japan, as most of these positions involve travelling from school to school. Mine, however, doesn’t allow its teachers to drive, but refund all transport costs at the end of the month.
Now, I told you that my friend Fred had got an offer from a different school. He was also in this stage of getting documents ready for the visa application during all this. However, his company was asking for his ORIGINAL documents instead of copies, like it had been with me, and he was having trouble getting a good explanation as to why he had to send them in when the risk of losing them was so great.
His contact kept assuring him that they had never lost any and that he should just do it, but he didn’t budge and I’m glad he didn’t! We did some research and found that that company was the only one asking for originals, and found accounts of former employees saying that the company hadn’t returned their documents and had used them as a way of keeping them in the company!
After a while his contact accepted not getting his original documents, but by then my friend had another offer and gave up on that company, as they seemed a bit too dodgy. So people, be warned! DO NOT SEND YOUR ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS! It’s not compulsory! The embassy does NOT need the originals in order to be able to process your visa application!
A lot of companies might try different scams like this, so don’t let them push you around! Check with other applicants, with the embassy, get informed before you make any decisions. Of course, not all companies are like this, but you have to be careful, especially when you are going to depend on them when you finally move to Japan!
On my next post I’ll write about how this whole process made me feel.
Thank you so much for your interest, and please ask me anything in the comments! If you’re curious about anything about my application, please tell me so I can help you. After all, this is why I’m writing these posts, to help fellow teachers who are also trying to make their way to Japan.
Until next time,