ALT Feature: Dhayan in Tokyo
Why did you decide to move to Japan and become an ALT?
I wanted a change in terms of career and a change of environment. Becoming an ALT in Japan allowed me to achieved both of these things.
What do you like about being an ALT?
I’ve been fortunate enough to be placed in a location that has amazing schools with amazing students. Almost every day is different and interesting and I wake up looking forward to going to work. The working hours are also fantastic. This is the job people are talking about when they say ‘good work/life balance’.
Tell us one of your highlight moments as an ALT.
Being asked to perform Aladdin’s ‘A Whole New World’ with my third-year junior high school students during the culture festival was definitely a highlight moment. Despite my embarrassingly low singing abilities, the students still liked me enough to ask. Either that or to them…I look like Aladdin…
What was difficult when you first came to Japan and started your job?
Communication was definitely a struggle at the beginning, both in and outside of school. My Japanese speaking ability was not very good and only one teacher at my school spoke English. Fortunately, all my coworkers were very kind, very understanding and did their best to include me in all the school events and happenings. In order to overcome this, I learned Japanese and spoke to people as much as I could to practice.
What do you like about Japan or living in Japan?
Japan is arguable one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The nature is breathtaking and the culture is super interesting. The weather can be a bit difficult at times, what with earthquakes, typhoons and snowstorms, but if you look past that, it’s a pretty great place. The food is also amazing.
Did anything about Japan catch you by surprise?
They still use fax machines here! While Tokyo and other major cities are pretty advanced, many areas of Japan are still quite far behind the west in terms of technology.
What would you say is an absolute must-do or visit in Japan?
Visit Miyajima Island, off the coast of Hiroshima, about an hour before sunset and watch the most amazing sunset ever.
Tell us about the city and region you are placed in.
I live in a town called Daigo in North Ibaraki. It’s small but beautiful and produces the most delicious apples in all of Japan outside of Aomori. Seriously, it’s like eating a brand-new fruit. It’s home to the third most beautiful waterfall in Japan, Fukuroda falls, and serval other less prolific but equally nice waterfalls. The town may well be one of the most scenic places I’ve seen in Japan. The thing I like most about this town is the community and the locals. They are so kind and welcoming and have really helped me feel at home here.
If you were to recommend Interac to a friend, what would you say?
Interac has allowed for me to improve both as a teacher and a person. They have taken me from trainee to teacher and now to senior head teacher
If you were to recommend becoming an ALT in Japan to a friend, what would you say?
Do it! It could potentially be one of the most amazing and most rewarding experiences you’ve ever had.
UPDATE – Spring 2019:
Towards the end of 2018 I started thinking about my career and what my next steps were. Having built a very good relationship with Interac, I wanted to do something that allowed me to stay with the company while developing my professional and managerial skills. The Management Trainee (MT) program looked like a good opportunity to do these things so I applied and landed a position on the 2019 intake.
I moved to Tokyo in April and it’s been really good so far. The MT program is very well structured; we have three seminars a week going over various personal development topics such as leadership, working in multicultural teams, Excel and business development topics such as recruitment, placement process and company systems.
Tokyo is a great city. The commute to and from work however is far from ideal but it’s part of the city life for most. For anyone looking develop their managerial skill and progress their careers within Japan, Interac’s MT program is a very good option to consider.