＜Which is better for you? Large or small institute?＞
This is not about large or small EIKAIWA institutes, but the size of the city you choose to live in.
Teaching English in Japan can be more challenging than it should be, if you choose a city that is not right for you.
The number of teaching jobs and competition for them is high in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. It is largely because of the available amenities, work and the general stimulation in life that they offer.
Competition for English teaching positions is less intense in smaller cities as they’re seen to be rather boring. For your reference, in Japan a small city is considered to have less than 500,000 people. Big cities have from 750,000 to several million people.
Do you like a fast paced life or not?
Are you the lonely type or just fine living life alone?
Are you looking for a big change and embrace new experiences or not?
Thinking about what you want out of the experience of teaching English before you select a city to look for a job is a smart thing to do.
It helps you to get started on the right foot.
Pros and cons of big city
Big cities are more vibrant. There are more things happening, and a greater variety of imported foods available. Shopping malls, arts and entertainment, and more foreign teachers like you. It will be easier to build contacts and have a better social life in big cities.
Finding an English teaching job is easier too - there are giant chain schools at every major station in big cities! More schools simply means more jobs.
Another advantage of living in big cities is the networking. Even in modern society, the best jobs are often found by word of mouth. Broader networks in big cities can lead you to better jobs.
Big cities also give you exit schemes. If you unfortunately fall into a bad situation, you still may be able to get out easily. There will probably be another language school one block over.
You have more choices in big cities.
Cons of big cities are higher rent and a faster pace of life. Some of the large EIKAIWA substitute rent, but if you don't plan carefully, you will be counting the days to payday very quickly. Also, it can be more difficult learning Japanese simply because it’s easy to surround yourself with English speakers.
Pros and cons of small city
Some people just LOVE teaching English in smaller cities.
Enjoying postcard-like scenery, cleaner air and water attracts those who want to experience more "traditional" Japan. In small cities, people are often more friendly and rent as well as parking spaces are cheaper.
You can learn Japanese faster because there are less distractions and fewer chances to find other English teachers.
But in small cities, finding teaching job in an EIKAIWA itself can be difficult. There are fewer people, so running schools in small rural area often does not pay for large EIKAIWA. Although there are certain numbers of JET/ALT teachers, you will find job openings at EIKAIWA are limited.
Fewer foreigners means it’s harder to find foreign friends. Also, be prepared to stand out wherever you are. Some love it, because it makes you feel special. But many others may not.
Changing jobs is difficult in small cities too. By definition, fewer people means fewer jobs, especially for EIKAIWA teachers. If you like your privacy, rural life may wear you down fast.