Getting all of your documents in on time in order to apply for a visa can be a headache but once everything is in Korea the next step is to just wait. I hate waiting, but hey its a lesson in patience… Anyway, this past week I was able to get all of my documents in and have the manager at my school set a meeting with the immigration office in Daejeon. Once that meeting is set, the manager will go and deliver my documents in person. Simply enough, and once immigration has everything I have to wait 2~3 weeks before I hear about the status of the application. From there it will be another 5~7 business days before I receive the necessary paperwork.
Now some of the things that I want to expand upon are timelines. 2 of the things that take the longest are the apostilled FBI background check and the apostilled degree/letter of expected graduation. That is because in order to get the background check through “normal” channels it takes about 2~3 months to receive a result, send it to be apostilled, and receive it back. Which if you’re in a time crunch like I was, this is not feasible and was one of the reasons I went through a recruiter like Korvia. For me it took about 2 weeks total because Korvia partners with a FBI-approved channeler and I got my results in about 4 days for $50. Another Korvia partner, Monument Visa Service, helps by expediting the apostille process and from the time I faxed my information to the time I had it back in hand was about 8 days later for $50 as well. I recommend services like this as you receive documents sooner and the sooner you get things the easier it is to get everything in within the 4 week deadline.
Now the Degree/Letter of Expected Graduation is a different story as this is something that is taken care of by the State Department in the state you live in/graduated in. Indiana does not charge for the Apostille (Go Indiana!) and you can walk in and have your stuff done in a matter of 2 days. Unfortunately, I mailed mine in and had to wait about a week and half before I asked my dad to walk in with a copy and get it done for me (turns out the person in charge of apostilling documents had been on vacation so maybe thats why and my recruiter was not thrilled but hey whats a girl to do!). Go Dad!
Deadlines are very important when trying to get a work visa in any country so remember to start early that way you are not surprised if things take longer than normal to be completed. Also, make sure you read up on the type of visa you should be receiving so that you can have an idea of what will be required of you! Once you have checked off the box, kick back and enjoy the wait (or in my case try to get all my stuff for graduation on order)!
After dealing with a family matter over the past weeks I found myself back here and wondering where to start again. Loss makes us stronger as we move forward with our lives but it also makes us evaluate the way we have lived our lives up to the present moment. Deep stuff, I know, but I have found my path to be even more enforced. Whether you want to teach abroad or you already live abroad away from family, you have to take on a different mindset as if a family emergency happens you may not be able to drop everything and go in a instant (if you can, you are a very lucky individual). You also come to realize that even worlds apart the love from family is the strongest pillar to support you.
Sometimes its easy to get caught up in your dreams and you fail to take into account the reality/entirety that every part of that dream entails. And while people have said to me that dreams are blinders to living a full life, I disagree. Dreams are ways in which we find the things we love and they should grow as we do. Dreams don’t always come true and they are not always what we envision but they are rays of hope when we struggle, when we fall, and the lights that keep guiding us to the peak after the long metaphorically climb.
My initial dream was to teach English as a second language and I wasn’t picky as to where I would teach (this was Grade 9 mind you). In Grade 11, my growing love for Korean music and culture made my dream grow to perhaps teaching in Korea. My dream grew as my likes grew and I grew. So to all those dreamers out there, dream with full hearts and starlit eyes as the future is only limited by you. You are the ones who are the masters of your own fate and as long as you are true to yourself, you’ll find the lights even in the darkest of places. [That was a little Dead Poets Society/Harry Potter mash-up for you all :)]
So Dream On~
Until next time!
So you want to teach in Korea? Well there are several things to take into considerations~
One of the most important things to understand is that if your major is not an approved one, such as Linguistics, you will need to obtain a TESOL/TEFL certificate in order to teach. You can get such a certificate through the American TESOL institute, as I did for mine, or other approved one in your country. Secondly, you will need to hold citizenship in a country where English is an official langauge or primary langauge and you can find more information about this on South Korea’s education website (http://english.moe.go.kr/main.do?s=english).
Once you’ve taken care of that you’ll need to think private versus public schools. The pay is different, the hours are different, the amount of vacation is different and so on. The pay is usually a higher starting salary in the private schools, called Hagwons, and this type of school is more along the lines of a cram school that students attend after their normal school hours. That being said the hours can be later in the day, lets say maybe from 14:00-22:00, and you will be teaching a variety of levels. These private schools also have less vacation time and from what my recruiter said vacation time is usually assigned by the owner of the school. Very different right? Also important to note is that private schools DO NOT recieve government funding, so in the event that the business fails you may find yourself without a job.
The similarities are that both provide housing, reimbursement for flights and usually 50% of medical. I personally will be looking to the private schools as the recruiter that I went through felt that will the little experience I had teaching I would be most qualified for a Hagwon. I would recommend that anyone who wishes to teach go through a company like KorVia (http://www.korvia.com/) because it makes the process less confusing and you have someone who can help match you to a school, private or public, help you with the required paperwork and the visa process. Plus a lot of these companies will pick you up from the airport and help you get to your place!
If you have more questions feel free to comment!
Picture from http://thenews-chronicle.com/south-korea-turns-off-propaganda-after-north-expresses-regret-for-mine-attack/
When I was 15 years old I began to experiment with music in the hopes of growing into my own tastes and relinquishing that of my parents. Little did I know, I would begin a journey that would bring me to where I am today.
Prelude complete. I have always been in love with Korean culture from the moment I heard my first Kpop song and here I am 8 years later starting the process to teach in South Korea. Although nothing is set in stone and I have no idea if I will get a job, I have decided to take the metaphorical leap into the unknown and start this new chapter in my life. Only one catch, I need to graduate (Dec) first. Oh, and get matched with a school but who’s worrying!
Thus, this blog will be my brain child and a chronicle of the process that will unfold in the next 4-5 months. Enjoy!