Hi guys! I’m Maydelene, from Singapore and currently a second-year Biology student in the School of Agricultural Sciences.
I remember that when I first arrived to Japan, I couldn’t stop converting prices of things back to my home currency and then wondering why things in Japan are so expensive! Indeed, many of us feel the pinch when we spend our yen when we first come. Thankfully, even as international students, we are allowed to work part-time (arubaito or baito for short) to earn extra allowance as long as we hold a permit for it. Here, I’ll introduce some tips and tricks about taking up a part-time job.
Firstly, getting the permit:
You MUST get the permit (shikakugai katsudou kyoka) if you wish to take up part-time work as an international student. This can be obtained from the regional immigration bureau. It is about an hour away from the university and takes some time to make the permit there.
So here’s the trick! You can actually obtain the permit immediately when you land in Japan at the airport. At customs, your residence card (zairyu kado) will be made, and you can request for the permit, which is a stamp on the back of your residence card, to be made on the spot. It only takes five minutes at the airport and saves you the trouble of travelling to the immigration bureau.
Searching for a job:
There are many websites to look for part-time work, the more popular one being townwork. When doing a web search, you can refine your search with options such as “international students welcome”. You can also ask around for seniors or friends who already have part-time jobs to introduce opportunities to you.
By default, you would be expected to have minimum conversational level Japanese to work, but some places are fine with international students with beginner level or even zero Japanese. I recommend finding places that are run by foreigners, especially people who speak your language, as they are more likely to welcome international students.
Alternatively, you can teach a foreign language to local Japanese people too! You can teach English or another language, and the perks of doing so is getting to set how much you charge and having the flexibility of setting your own schedule for teaching.
Enjoying your job:
So let’s say you have landed yourself a part-time job – congratulations! Apart from the extra allowance you earn, you also get to practise using Japanese, widen your social circle and learn new things. Being in G30, it may be hard to interact with Japanese students in school because our classes are separate, so part-time work is a great opportunity to meet the locals and interact with them. Personally, I managed to make friends while at work, and I am so thankful for that.
Also, do not forget to practise good time management in order to balance your time well to cope with your studies and work. (Do also note that there is a limit to how much international students can work!) The experience is fulfilling and enriching, so I highly recommend trying to work at least for the experience. 🙂