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Predeparture

When I received a call from GEOS in the beginning of July I was incredibly excited! At this point I was no longer concerned with which eikaiwa hired me, only that one did in fact hire me. I eventually had interviews scheduled with NOVA, GEOS, AEON, and ECC. However, after doing more research on all the schools, I decided to cancel the interview with NOVA as I was put off by 1) the no-socialization rule and 2) the idea of paying the same rent as with other companies to share an apartment with one or two other people. So I headed off to Toronto to interview with GEOS first.

The interview process included an individual interview, a grammar test, a day of information and semi-training, and then a demo lesson. The weekend was long, but I had quite a good time. After my three days of interviewing were done, I went home and was instructed to call their office in two days time to find out if they wanted to hire me or not. So I called them and was told "Congratulations!" Then they asked me when I would like to leave for Japan, and said "Around the beginning of October", to which they replied that it would be more like the end of August or beginning of September, this then turned out to be the second week of August. I was starting to get a sort of desperation vibe from GEOS. Before leaving for my interview I had decided to accept whichever of the three companies offered me a job. There were certain aspects of GEOS that appealed to me, such as the tannen-sei system, but essentially I chose GEOS because they were the first offer I received.

I spent the next several weeks on an emotional roller coaster while completing the tedious, but basically simple correspondence training package; my thoughts varied from "Yay! I'm going to Japan!" to "Oh crap! I'm going to Japan!", to "What was I thinking? I can't go to Japan!" Anyway, so 6-weeks after my interview I left my home for a week of training in Vancouver. The compensation for training was either 150$ Canadian or getting to stay in the very cushy GEOS house, I chose the latter. We got the opportunity to teach two lessons during the training to actual Japanese students from the GEOS school in same building. This was very helpful, as I had no prior teaching experience and it made me realize that I could do it and not suck too bad.Other than that, they went over the paperwork aspect of GEOS (which is insane) and student interviews and approaches.

There were other various topics, but they are already a blur. I remember one day we talked about the various stages of living in Japan, the first being the honeymoon stage, the next being culture shock, and the final stage being either going home or settling into our Japanese lives. This made me wonder what my experience would be like. One high point in the training was the day the saw fit to tell us what school we were going to and what our teaching schedule was. They also gave a floor plan of our classroom and apartments, and well as little welcome notes from our future co-workers.

The training was in all honestly too short, or rather too much information in too short a time period. I figure that throughout the training I had a 50% retention rate. The training was helpful, but also for me added more stress because they kept telling me that I was assigned to a very busy school and that it's a lot of pressure. They would try to sugarcoat this by telling me that it meant they think highly of me to trust me with such a responsibility, but all it accomplished was making me start to panic.

There were a total of 13 people in my training group. Ten of the people were very chipper and excited to be leaving, 3 others (myself included) couldn't remember why they wanted to come to Japan in the first place. The three of us who were not so excited spent our last moments in North America crying. I know, it's pretty pathetic, but I'm proud to say that we all did make it to the airport that morning. I was lucky enough to have another girl from my training group traveling with me to the same city so I had a traveling partner. So with my bottle of Xanax clutched tightly in my hand (with a current prescription from a licensed physician of course), I boarded the plane for Japan.

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