Working For Interac As an Assistant Language Teacher

My friend and I came to Japan to support England at the 2002 World Cup in Japan. It was one of the best holidays of my life so after we went home, I decided that I wanted to go and live in Japan.

A limiting belief I held at the time was that, as I didn’t speak Japanese I would have to be an English teacher. I never even considered that I could have worked towards a transfer to a job in Japan within the company I was with at the time.

I had thought about becoming a teacher in the UK and working as an Assistant Language Teacher in Japan (ALT) would give me a taste of the teaching lifestyle while being a great way to move to Japan. I wanted to find a way of getting a job and visa so I could start moving towards my dream lifestyle.

A friend of mine told me about a company called Interac. They are a large recruitment firm who find people ALT jobs in Japan. As they are a large company they hold interviews overseas, e.g. U.S. and U.K. as well as Australia and Canada.

After getting through the Interac selection process I was on my way to start my job as an ALT in Japan. It was really exciting to be going to work in not just a foreign country but one where I really had no idea of the language either.

Initial training was held (and still is I believe) in the Yoyogi Youth Hostel complex in Tokyo. I’ve never stayed in a youth hostel like it before or since. The facilities were surprisingly good! As a trainee I was there for 3 days after which I was taken to the town I would be working in by an Interac salesman.

As I hadn’t received any salary as I had only just begun my job as an ALT, the set up costs were all paid from savings I had brought with me. It seemed expensive at the time, probably because it was. It was good though that they sent a Japanese person with me so that I was able to set myself up properly.

They were a good company to work for as they don’t interfere and they let you get on with your ALT job in Japan. The only thing I didn’t like about my time working for Interac was the level of salary. Had it been higher, I would have stayed with them for longer than one year.


– Easy to get job from outside Japan

– Arrange Japanese visa

– Help with initial set up in Japan, e.g. Japanese seal and moving in.

– Allow you to get on with your job

– Lived up to their side of the contract

– May be able to offer you additional work on top of ALTing

– Native English speaking staff should you have any issues

– Good holidays


– Not high salary

– Reduced salary during holiday months

– First and last month salary is reduced. (in total 4 months out of 12 are reduced in pay)

Andrew Cowan []