Interac Offer of Employment!!!! (+ Video!)

Hey all!!

I GOT THE JOB!!!! On December 18th, 2013 I was offered employment by Interac Co., Ltd. It was so exciting!!! I was nervous all last week because my recruiter had said I would hear back from Tokyo before their break on the 23rd. And as my packet was sent off to them on the 13th it HAD to be that week! So I refused to check my email after 10pm because if I actually got the job I wanted to be able to share it with someone without waking them up… Therefore, every morning I woke up and checked my email. Religiously. And on Wednesday it paid off when I saw the wonderfully joyous email that I could read far enough ahead in the preview line to see that it said “our pleasure”! That means only one thing: I AM GOING TO JAPAN!!!!! Going to JAPAN!!

Nothing is containing my excitement anymore and yet it doesn’t seem as if it could POSSIBLY be real! I mean, living in Japan for a year? That’s something you dream about but never actually DO, right? I honestly don’t think I will believe it’s happening until I step off the plane in Tokyo and realize I have no idea what anyone around me is saying! As I’ve never left the country before I am SO STOKED for this brand new adventure and all the wonderful and even awful experiences I am sure to have! Stay tuned cuz this dream just got really real!

Have a beautiful holiday season and I’ll see you in the new year! JAPAN!!!! YAAAY!!!

Ja ne!

Interac Seminar! Part 3 (Interview)-Los Angeles, CA

The beginning of the end. Part 3 here we go! You’re almost done! Woohoo! (Miss Part 1 and Part 2? Here they are!)


So we finished with the demos between 12 and 12:30 and then had lunch! There was a mall across the street so all of us went together and ate at the food court. Before we left, Richelle had given each of us the time of our interview. In the order we went in the demo lessons. So again, I was LAST. My interview was at 4:45PM and so I talked with everyone until one by one, they left for their personal interview. I called home, went Christmas shopping, and listened to Christmas carols in my car until FINALLY it was time.

The interview was pretty relaxed and we just laughed a lot through it. I got to ask any questions I still had or had thought of over my hours of being alone with my thoughts and then it was just her telling me about her relevant experiences as an ALT and asking me questions. I think they have a long list of potential questions to ask and they choose from those to kind of personalize your interview and really get to the parts of you they want to know more about. For example, she asked me what I like about being a teacher, what I had liked/disliked about the educational system in Japan when I was studying it in a class and for my senior project, etc. She also asked my strengths and weaknesses, why I want to go to Japan, my placement requests, driving, what I think Interac would expect of me as an ALT, etc. Really just basic interview stuff. If you answer honestly everything will go well and you already know the recruiter and are familiar with them by then so it’s not intimidating at all like a normal interview with a random stranger could be. Just relax, tell the truth, be excited that you made it this far, and it should work out for you!


I am not hired yet (my seminar was 2 days ago) so take this info+tips with a grain of salt until I update the acceptance/rejection I will be posting hopefully before the Tokyo office goes on Christmas break! During the interview Richelle went through and made sure my references were in and my documents were submitted (they all were!) and so she said she would send my packet on to Tokyo on Friday (12-13-13) and that I should probably know before the 23rd whether I have a spot or not!!! AHHHH!!! So until then, I will be religiously and obsessively checking my email (even more than now, which is crazy!) and crossing every finger and toe on me. :)

I’ll update when I hear, but until then, stay awesome!!!

Ja ne!

Check out my YouTube videos about the seminar here!

Interac Seminar! Part 2 (Video Demo)- Los Angeles, CA

Begin Part 2 of the Interac Seminar!!! The video demo, once this is over you are officially allowed to breathe again! Yay! (Miss Part 1? Read it here!)

Task 1

The intro should just be short and sweet. Introduce yourself, where you’re from, any experience that would be relevant, hobbies, interests, special skills, etc. Don’t get carried away!

Task 2

Easy as pie. Don’t be super-enunciation-man/woman, just speak normally and clearly with projection.

Task 3

2994391-a-vector-illustration-of-a-cute-grizzly--brown-or-kodiak-bearNow here’s where I had an interesting time of it. So third year students know very very little English. I was neglecting to think about this too much and so the chant with actions I had prepared (“We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”) I felt was going to be too advanced for them. So, BAM! I changed my plan in the middle of participating in everyone else’s demos…. STUPID STUPID STUPID!!! I suppose it could have been worse but I decided to do a rendition of Simon Says with actions. Only it was the “Please Game.” You only did the actions if I said “please.” Please stand, sit, wave, jump, spin. Only thing is, I was the only one speaking… Kind of NOT the point of a warm-up activity.

A warm-up is a song, game, etc. that allows students to be engaged and actally use the language. They had to listen to what I was saying, but they weren’t using English themselves. Live and learn I guess! I also had no idea of the timing with this game and my rather lengthy Task 4 so I rushed through Task 4 even though it apparently wasn’t necessary. Richelle said it’s always better to go with your original plans, even if they may seem too advanced/low. They’ll follow and eventually figure stuff out. Learn from my boo-boo!

Task 4

The high school lesson is one of three options. A few people used shopping, a few more than that used giving directions, and one person used irregular verbs. Interac gives you an example video for each option, and a lot of people do the same thing that’s in the video. Not a bad thing, but creativity scores you more points. I made mine into a battleship game. Pairs of students put different places (supermarket, hospital, school, etc.) on different blocks in their town and then had to guess where the other team put their places by giving directions to the different blocks.

Because of my Task 3 I rushed through this and so it wasn’t as good a lesson explanation as I had practiced and I gave the students less talking and interaction time than I planned, but they still got the idea. My board was very colourful and apparently they liked that! :) They also liked that it was creative and was made into a game! My favorite lesson for directions given by one of my fellow interviewees was the “Where’s Pikachu?” game! He hid Pikachu on one of the blocks and gave you directions to him. You had to follow and guess where Pikachu was, a really really good idea!!! Basically, just have fun with it, interact with the students, and have good visuals. Not too much explanation, elicit answers from students! Good luck!

All in all, for the demo you really just need to relax as much as you can, smile, interact, and have fun with it! Enthusiasm wins the day!

Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Interac Seminar Grand Experience. Read Part 3-The In-Person Interview here!

Watch my YouTube videos about the seminar here!

Interac Seminar! Part 1(It Begins)-Los Angeles, CA

Hey all!

So this past Saturday (12-7-13) I attended my scheduled Interac Seminar!!! Yaaaaay! It was super fun actually and here’s the day play-by-play: Image

So I have been dreaming about this seminar and the dreaded demo lesson for weeks now. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong in all these dreams. So imagine my surprise when I sleep better than I ever have the night before this seminar! I guess I worried enough about it Wed-Fri and come Friday night I just decided what’s going to happen, will happen, so may as well get some sleep!

So waking up was challenging as it was cold. And rainy. And this is SoCal and we just don’t do that here… But I made it out the door by 7:30AM sharp and flew down the surprisingly traffic-less and construction-less 60 freeway to get to the hotel in L.A. by slightly after 8AM. As we weren’t meeting Richelle, our recruiter, in the lobby until 8:50 I practiced my demo for awhile and spied on a guy in a car diagonal to me that I could see was doing the same thing! LOL

Anyway when I walked in with another Interac I met in the parking lot (the only other girl there I should add!) there were 2 Interac’s waiting in the lobby and we made 4. It stayed this way for quite some time but eventually (with a few late arrivals later) there would be 8 of us awesome interviewees! (And one of them had taught with Interac for 3 years before so I felt kind of bad that we were all grilling him but not quite bad enough to stop being curious! :p)

Richelle took us up to the boardroom and she was awesome! She really wanted to help us all feel comfortable with each other and confident that this was the right decision for us in our lives right now. So she started with the info part of the seminar and that took about 2 hours. Mostly it was stuff you can find on their website if you look hard enough, but it was still interesting to hear her experiences with this stuff and there was some new information. Take notes throughout this part so you can remember the important info, the interesting random info, and look like you are serious about wanting to understand all aspects of the job and living in Japan (which you should be anyway at this stage!)

Next came the 15 minute grammar test. Not too bad. There was a spelling section, what word is wrong in this sentence, one long run-on sentence you needed to punctuate, etc. And an active or passive voice identification section… Who knows how that one went… Anyway, there were five sections total and overall I don’t think you need to stress too hard about it. If you speak English you should be able to figure most of it out, just don’t overthink it!

We had a break then and when we came back we had our… dun dun duuuunnn…. demo lessons! Apparently everyone wanted to go right away and before I knew it….I was last. Oops! I really need to work on speaking up sooner/louder. Work in progress. So the lesson is 6 minutes tops and 5 minutes minimum. There are 4 sections: (1) a short self introduction in English and some Japanese helps-60sec, (2) reading a paragraph that they provide, don’t get fancy, just read it-30sec, (3) a warm-up lesson for 3rd year students that will turn on the English part of their brain and get them excited-1.5min, and finally (4) a high school level lesson that is either about shopping, giving directions, or irregular verbs (brave souls!)-3min.

All right guys, this is getting long so visit Part 2 of this post to learn about the Video Demo and the in-person interview at the end! Stay cool. :)

Also see Part 3 (Interview) here!

Check out my YouTube videos about the seminar here!