Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Before you even think about teaching for AEON, read, read, read and read some more on employee blogs and reviews. If you still think you want to try this, know first and foremost that AEON is a BUSINESS!!! Not an educational institution per se. The main focus of the company is recruiting and retention of clients. Be sure to read faucethead's posts/blogs. They are very accurate and more in-detail than this post.
First let me tell you about my background. At the time I went to work for AEON in 2003, I had just finished my Master of Arts in Teaching Degree with a focus on Language Arts. I had lived in Japan previously when my father was stationed there and also when I was stationed there with the Army and I absolutely loved the country! I spoke enough Japanese to get through my day with little trouble. I was not fluent with the language by any means, but I knew enough.
If you decide you want to work with AEON, it is a very long and time consuming process with massive amounts of paperwork. The most curious part of the paperwork is the requirement that you give AEON your actual diploma, they won't accept a copy, nor will they accept transcripts. The interview process is beyond ridiculous. It's more like you are applying for a top secret clearance job for the government with all the forms and personal interviews rather than a simple teaching job. For my interview I had to fly from NC to NYC. No biggie. I'd never been to NYC and kinda looked at this as an interview/vacation to check NYC out. Also something I noticed with the company that really blew my mind. The requirements for the interview process are simply having a Bachelor's degree; it doesn't matter what field it is in. I interviewed and worked with people that had degrees that varied from math, history, physical education and geology. All they want is a college graduate. You would think they would want someone with an English, ESL or Language Arts degree, but that doesn't matter and here's why...
Once you go through the hiring process and arrive in Japan, you receive a list of rules and regulations that almost equate to being an indentured servant! No kidding, you'd be surprised at what they expect from you. One part of your job is to take flyers and pamphlets to train stations and pass them out. REALLY??? This is what I signed on for??? They allude to recruiting the company during your interview process but never really go into how you will actually do this. Another part of your "public relations" duties is to basically "kiss every client square on the ass" no matter how they treat you. Most clients assume that "gaijin" (means "outside person" and usually in the derogatory sense, but not always) don't speak a lick of Japanese. With this assumption in hand, some will make comments around you that can be very insulting and demeaning. EVEN IF YOU DO UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY SAID YOU HAVE TO SMILE AND TAKE IT, NO EXCEPTIONS!! This is rare and for the most part, the Japanese people as a whole are extremely gracious and polite. But as with any society, you have the occasional jerks. This was the same with the management that were Japanese. One regional supervisor of mine actually referred to me as "the asshole that listens to rock music". Really!! Mainly because he could never remember my name and I found this odd because it is almost considered an insult in Japanese culture to forget someone's name especially someone you work with or are closely associated with.
I'm not going to rant any further on this. I could write a book. The experience as a whole is great if you really like teaching and dealing with people. If you don't like BOTH of these aspects, then don't bother. You will be miserable. Also, the pay is very low considering, around $25k (US) at the time I worked for them and Japan is EXPENSIVE!!! Especially if you work in one of the larger cities such as Tokyo. If you do end up working for AEON, try to find a location out in the sticks! No worries if you want to be where the action is. Japan has a very good train system and you can get to a big city in a few hours in most locations.
If you are young and fresh out of college and want to check out a different part of the world and travel, then it wouldn't hurt to give AEON a shot. Just make sure you do your research on the company and the culture of Japan. It's nothing like "Tokyo Drift" or most movies you may have seen set in Japan. Knowing the culture is extremely important!!! DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! Good luck if you give it a shot. It's worth while and you can have a lot of fun discovering a new country. But remember, this is a different country, this ain't Kansas Dorothy!!