Thumbnail

Interac Japan

Why choose Interac Japan?

Interac teachers enrich the lives of hundreds of thousands of school children every year by delivering interactive and exciting English lessons. Commonly known as ALTs, which stands for assistant language teacher, Interac’s teachers, working in the Japanese school system, enrich children’s lives by sharing their knowledge of English and communication skills and giving insights into other cultures.

Founded in 1972, Interac is Japan’s largest private provider of professional foreign teachers to the Japanese government through its ALT program. Interac is also a significant player in providing professional teachers for commercial and government organizations.

Reviews

Default avatar
Holly
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Interac Japan Review

I have not been in the program for long, but I have had a great experience so far. Moving to Japan was really difficult but the staff helped me through it and were patient with my mistakes. This is my first time teaching in a classroom, and everyone has been very understanding of my shortcomings. The most difficult part of the program was figuring out how to get to my placement location, since I had to get from the airport to location on my own.
Adjusting to the move has also been difficult. It was expensive to furnish my apartment, so it is important to be aware of the cost.
However I have had a great time traveling around Japan, trying new foods, meeting new people, and learning how to be a better teacher and member of Japan.

Pros
  • Patient and communicative staff
  • Travel experience
  • Kind community
Cons
  • Solo travel to location upon arrival
  • No bed, stove, or washing machine provided
  • No control over placement location
Response from Interac Japan

Hi Holly,

Thanks for sharing your positive experience with Interac! We're delighted to hear you're having a great time, despite the challenges.

Moving to Japan can be tough, but we're glad our team has been patient and supportive. Your dedication to teaching is commendable, and we appreciate your feedback on the placement logistics—we'll work on making it smoother.

We understand furnishing your apartment was costly, and your insight will help us improve our guidance for future participants. We're thrilled you're enjoying Japan and growing as a teacher.

Your recommendation means a lot. If you have more insights or need support, feel free to reach out. Here's to more success and adventures in Japan!

Best,

George
Interac Team

Default avatar
Bill
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A true life and work balance and an enriching experience

I have been working for Interac for the past year, and my experience has been remarkable. The human-centered management style enables a greater sense of trust and teamwork within the company. The support is outstanding, whatever the issue at hand.

For me, after our baby was born, my wife and I decided to take a step back from the daily career hustle. At the same time, I was pursuing my PhD and wanted to focus on my research. My recruiter understood my needs, and I was matched with the right school. Working at Interac allowed me to focus on the well-being of our new addition, spend much-appreciated time with my family, do research, and still make a decent living with a contributing job. I have been welcomed and embraced by the community since joining my current school. The working hours are set solidly, which means one can always have the rest of the afternoon to pursue whatever side hustle/hobby/exploration one fancies. Weekends are off, and there is a nice, long summer vacation, not to mention Golden Weeks and other frequent national holidays. This is truly precious for me in this new chapter of my life. I plan to work for Interac for a long time.

Pros
  • Outstanding support
  • work life balance
  • There's no better way to immerse yourself in a true Japanese culture
Cons
  • There are always cons if we choose to focus on them. Need Japanese language capabilities to advance further up the ranks. But that's all over Japan.
Response from Interac Japan

Dear Bill,

We are thrilled to receive your outstanding review and are delighted to hear about your remarkable experience working with Interac over the past year. Also thank you for the beautiful photos of your area, they are really great!

Your feedback is invaluable to us, and we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts.

It warms our hearts to know that our human-centered management style has fostered a greater sense of trust and teamwork within the company. We are particularly pleased that our support has been outstanding for you, and we are grateful to have played a part in accommodating your needs during such an important and transformative period in your life.

Congratulations on your PhD pursuit and the arrival of your new addition to the family! We're thrilled to have been able to support you in finding the right match for your skills and aspirations. It's wonderful to hear that our structured working hours and generous time off have allowed you to strike a balance between your career, family, and personal pursuits.

Your commitment to a long-term partnership with Interac is truly appreciated, and we look forward to continuing to support you on your professional journey. If there's ever anything you need or if you have further insights to share, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Thank you once again for your positive recommendation, and we are honored to have you as a valued member of the Interac community.

Best regards,

George
Interac Team

Default avatar
Richard
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A very pleasant company

I've been working with Interac for a few years now. The company has always treated me quite fairly and they've always been helpful with the few issues that pop up with being a foreigner in a foreign land. When you need them, the support staff can help you resolve issues almost immediately. Working with the students is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. You have one job and that's to make English fun. This can be particularly difficult at times, especially with the big exams for schools that pop up. You want students to see English as a game, something fun to do between their history and math classes. I think the most important thing is to love English itself. English is such a funny language and we have so many fun little expressions that can really liven up the experience for students. "I like dogs" vs "I like dog" and the like can really make students perk up.

Pros
  • Working with students is fun
  • Interac doesn't intrude on your day-to-day
  • Japan is a wonderful country
Cons
  • Can be lonely at times
Response from Interac Japan

Hey there!

I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your time working with Interac.

It's always great to work for a company that treats you fairly and with respect. I completely agree with you on the joys of working with students. It's so rewarding to be able to teach them and help them learn in a fun and engaging way.

I think you're right that the key to success is making English enjoyable, and I love your enthusiasm for the language itself. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing your experience with us!

Cheers,

Interac Recruiting Team
Tokyo

PS: Love the pics! Looks like a great area!

Default avatar
Ayana
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience with Interac Kanto South

I’ve been working with Interac for almost three years and my experience overall has been very positive. Moving to Japan in the height of the pandemic, not knowing the language and totally on my own, I was a little nervous and not sure what to expect. The staff helped me to transition seamlessly, helping me with housing, training, settling in and making sure I had everything I needed to get my job done.

I was placed in schools with very nice teachers and good facilities, and there was a plethora of material made available to me. Given that this was my first time teaching and interacting with students in this way, having everything available really made it easier for me to perform at my best.

The office staff really try hard to support teachers and they check in every now and then to see how you are doing. If you have issues they will try to deal with it as soon as possible. Whatever you may need, they’re only one email away.

While there have been challenges and ups and downs, overall I truly value my experience working with Interac. I am glad they were apart of my journey to Japan, and would encourage anyone to take that initial step with them as well.

Pros
  • Good working hours
  • Support and training provided
  • Advancement opportunities
Cons
  • Salary could be more
Response from Interac Japan

Hi Ayana,

Thank you so much for sharing your positive experience with Interac!

We're thrilled to have been a part of your journey to Japan, especially during a difficult time like the pandemic. It's great to hear that our staff was able to make your transition smooth and comfortable, and that you had access to all the necessary resources to excel in your teaching role.

We always strive to support our teachers and ensure they have everything they need to succeed. We appreciate your recommendation and wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Interac Recruiting Team
Tokyo

Default avatar
Sarah
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

An Educational Challenge!

This program is a fun way to grow social and professional skills! Honestly, I never thought I would have the confidence to talk to (let alone teach) so many strangers, but the more I took the leap, the easier it got to try new experiences.

Being completely new to the country, I felt I had the support I needed if I had questions for the company, and the teaching environment was perfect for honing relationship skills, even without adequate Japanese language proficiency.

English is a rapidly growing subject in all Japanese schools, so staying on your toes and being flexible is very important. At the end of the day, my Japanese coworkers are always grateful and lovely, no matter how our joint lessons went. It's reassuring to know that everyone is learning and growing together. And the kids are so much fun! English time is full of games and songs, so your reputation for fun proceeds you wherever you go.

I feel like I've grown more capable of handling unknown situations and coming into new ones with self confidence. Try this program if you want to see what you're capable of, and grow to the next level for your dream career.

Pros
  • Team teaching
  • Supportive network
  • Games and fun
Cons
  • Nerve-wracking at times
  • Pay is so-so
Response from Interac Japan

Hi Sarah,

Hey there! Thanks for sharing your amazing experience with our program.

It's great to know that Interac has helped you gain confidence and social skills, especially in a new country. We're happy to have supported you throughout your journey and created a fun and welcoming teaching environment.

It's important to be flexible and stay on your toes in the rapidly growing field of English education in Japan, and we're proud to have helped you grow more capable. Keep pushing yourself to try new experiences and achieve your dream career.

Thanks for recommending us and all the best!

Interac Recruiting Team
Tokyo

Jobs

Programs

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Nav Tumber

Nav Tumber was born and raised in London and educated in Wales. He taught ESL in Japan with JET from 1999-2001 and became a language/managing consultant with Interac from 2002-2010. He is currently FX Analyst at ICAP Plc in the UK. Nav enjoys a little bit of everything, but a lot of football (soccer.)
Thumbnail

What inspired you to teach ESL?

Following university, a lot of my friends went on round the world trips coupled with 6 month working holidays in Australia or New Zealand. I wanted to immerse myself more in one country and use it as a base for further travels. I narrowed down the options to Japan, Venezuela and South Korea and of these, Japan held the most interest for me from my interests in video games, motorsport and new technology. ESL was the best way to earn money while experiencing the country.

Why did you choose Interac?

I wanted to work in schools in order to experience the culture and language more than in eikaiwa. It seemed a natural choice.

Describe your day to day activities as a teacher in Japan.

Everyday is different. The weekly schedule is rarely adhered to and there are so many things going on in the school that I could always have someone or something to tag into. You need to be proactive, if you just sit at your desk you will never be approached, so you have to get on with things yourself. In most of my spare time I would prepare lesson plans and do prep for my Elementary school classes where I ran the whole show. Eventually the lessons you plan for Junior High School also get used by the teachers and further from that in my 2nd year I was trusted to plan for one of the 4 lessons in the week with each class.

Each class is different and although you shouldn't, you do end up having your favorite students and classes. I would spend a lot of time with the kids between lessons and after school, if I didn’t join in with club activity I would watch them practicing, invariably gravitating to the students I got on well with, but trying to build relationships with others. Lunch was always my time and I asked to eat in the staff room and not with the students, after eating I would walk around the school and meet more people.

How has this experience impacted your future? How did you get promoted to Managing Consultant at Interac?

I work in financial services now on a Japanese desk. I don’t think the job itself made any difference but learning the polite levels of Japanese meant when I interviewed for my current role, I had the base language necessary to operate in what I do. Working in a Japanese school taught me a lot about interacting with others in an environment where you have to be proactive and start things yourself. If you don’t do that you will be left alone and that impacts negatively on your development and your general feelings.

That proactive approach and also being able to ignore negative events and not get bothered by them, or bother others is the way to help yourself. I always just got on with my own business and through performance was noticed by Interac management, who promoted me steadily through the rungs.

What is one piece of advice you would give to others thinking about teaching abroad?

Do it. When you get homesick, remember that in a few years time you will have had the biggest character building experience of your life and something you will remember forever.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Ryan

Job Title
Managing Consultant, Kita Kanto Branch
Thumbnail

What position do you hold at Interac? What has been your career path so far?

I am the Managing Consultant (MC) for the Kita Kanto Branch which covers the Gunma, Ibaraki, Saitama and Tochigi prefectures. I started off as an ALT in September 2007 with Interac and spent my first three contracts until March 2010 in Ibaraki working as an ALT in two elementary schools and one junior high school.

After that, I moved to Tokyo and worked at two elementary schools, one of which was a special school in Shizuoka prefecture and I commuted by bullet train every Friday. I had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning for that assignment but I really enjoyed working with the students and staff at the very small school in the mountains.

In my second year in Tokyo, I was promoted to the position of Head Teacher for my particular board of education and during the year I started taking on training responsibilities as well. From April 2012 I was a full-time trainer for the Tokyo branch and in charge of nine boards of education.

From September 2013, I became the Managing Consultant and still remain in that position to this day. I currently am in charge of 163 ALTs living and working within the four prefectures listed previously.

Did you teach abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

My only experience teaching abroad is within Japan. I spent a week here along with a week in Taiwan visiting friends in late December 2006. It was within 36 hours of going around Tokyo that I found I really wanted to stay and learn more about the people, culture and language. I also had been working in schools for the previous three years in America so the chance to experience more of Japan and still work with children made Interac a perfect fit for me. A little over eight months later I was working with Interac in Japan and have been here ever since.

What does the future hold for Interac? Any exciting new programs to share?

The Japanese government is strongly pushing for expanded programs within English education. With the Tokyo Olympics coming up in 2020, the country is ready to add nearly 8,000 additional ALT positions in the next few years in an effort to allow Japanese students to speak English at the same level or better than their Chinese and Korean counterparts. This means that along with the growing ALT market, Interac will continue to expand even more than the average of over 100 positions a year since I joined in 2007.

There are many new exciting developments we are working on such as a new set of lesson plans to match the textbooks being released next year as well as a standardized phonics program. On top of that, we are completely redesigning the initial training program and allowing for additional training to be done overseas before coming to Japan as well as after the initial training is finished to give our ALTs the smoothest transition possible into their new schools.

The next five years will be very exciting for the ALT market!

What's it like teaching in Japan? And what's one tip you'd give newbie teachers there?

I really enjoyed my experience teaching and many times when I am observing my teachers at their schools wish I could return to the position. I could speak for hours on end about the wonderful experiences I had and amazing people I met along the way. That's not to say that there were no difficulties along the way, but that should be expected when moving to a country as different as Japan is.

If I had to give one tip it would be to soak everything in and be as outgoing as possible. Even if you come to Japan with less than conversational Japanese ability, you are the one that has to make the initial move. If you do that, nearly everyone will reciprocate and include you in their lives, whether that's the staff in the schools, Japanese friends elsewhere or even the friendly man waiting at the bus stop. Japanese people tend to be a bit more shy than most westerners, especially when considering that communication has to be done in a foreign language. I can guarantee that my simple advice will make your experience in Japan much better.

What's the best story you have from your time working at Interac?

Wow, well there are so many as I alluded to earlier. If I had to choose one, I would mention one of my Tokyo schools. I had the pleasure of teaching at the same school for two years, meaning I taught the same children for those two years over two grade levels. One of my fourth grade classes in my final year actually invited me back along with their homeroom teachers from the previous five years to their sixth grade pre-graduation shaonkai (thank you event).

Not only that, I was asked to make a speech to the students and parents and then again to only the parents at a separate party to thank me for my work as their English teacher. It was an emotional day and one I will never forget. I sometimes still run into my students on the train in Tokyo!

Besides bringing a fun and educational experience to the Japanese classroom, my goal as Managing Consultant and the reason I still work here is to give others the chance to have experiences similar to mine that will change not only their lives forever, but the lives of their students as well. From speaking with my ALTs, many have been able to do that and some even go on to become teacher's in the home countries. That to me is truly rewarding.