I realized that while I said what type of visa I was trying to get, I never explained what type of visa it was. There are many different visa type in Korea and the particular one I will be applying for is an E category visa. There are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, M, and T visa types and each group has sub categories that fit with a specific description of what the applicant can do while on a particular visa. As I am going to Korea as a native English Teacher I will be applying for an E2 visa or a visa for a “Foreign language instructor who plan on teaching conversational language” (Wikipedia). Now under this visa I am not allowed to teach grammar or literature, only conversation.
This is an important distinction as doing more than you are authorized to do can cause you to be deported or issued a 30 days notice to leave the country. This is a current “problem” for some English Teachers in Korea right now as these teachers are finding out that they have been doing things not allowed in the visa description and their school cut corners (sometimes knowingly). While, it is in no way the fault of the teacher as they english contract doesn’t always have the exact translation and therefore all these teachers are seeing is “foreign language instructor”, it still is still illegal.
Now if you are going through a government program such as EPIK, GEPIK, or SMOE this is not something you will have a problem with (after all the government also issues visas). If you are going to work for a private institution you need to ask questions such as “What will my jobs be?” “What type of visa did you plan on giving me?” and then do your own research so you know what you can and cannot do. If you have time you can also search youtube to learn more about these types of things.
Hopefully, this will help all of you as you start along the visa process!
There are so many things that go into preparing to live in another country and while some things are easy, others are mini nightmares, like in a holy crap I jumped off the deep end and forgot I couldn’t swim kind of a way.
When you accept a job to teach in Korea you will find that there are many steps in applying for an E2 visa and if you are like me and have yet to graduate this process can get a whole lot more complicated. Thankfully, going through Korvia means that I don’t have to duke it out with the immigration office in Daejeon over the wording of my documents but it is certainly disheartening to be hitting such a hefty roadblock so soon. I have submitting my background check (notarized and apostilled), 2 letters of recommendation, sealed transcript, 3 copied of the signed contract with my school, TESOL certificate, my resume, a copy of my passport, and passport quality photos. All good and then the catch… Korea needs an apostilled version of your diploma or in place of it an apostilled Letter of Expected Graduation. As I will not receive my diploma until the end of December I opted for the graduation letter, only to find out (and though my advisor had copied the language of the example letter) that my letter would not be accepted until my semester finished in December. It is frustrating and costly but I have hope that it will all work out in the end.
Not the end of the world as it only takes 3 weeks from submission to turn around in the visa process but the question remains on if the school I signed a contract with will waited the couple months until I have officially ended college. I want to be a transparent source of information as I had not heard of people having a problem like this. Therefore, as I find out more information about what will happen to my job, I will detail it here so that if other people have to go through this they can see how things were handled through me as an example.
I have neglected to post in awhile as life caught up to me and proceeded to whack me into shape. Alas, I have gotten it together (as one can try anyway) and am back to update/discuss my journey to Korea. A lot has happened in the 2 months since I decided that teaching in South Korea had to become a reality rather than a dream.
Roughly a month ago I received an email from a lovely lady named Jessie, a consultant at Korvia, about a position that she thought would be a good fit for me. I was impressed by the fact that although she was not “my” consultant she had looked through other consultants’ teacher profiles to fit what the school was looking for. Long story short, I got an interview with the school and on the day of my Skype interview Jessie was there to help me along. I was able to Skype with her beforehand to check the audio and video feedback and to ask any questions about the interview. Once that was done the real interview started and went fabulously! One week after the interview, I heard back from Jessie and was thrilled to be offered a job in Daejeon, South Korea for an affiliate of the International school in the area. Now I had known that if I was offered a job I would sign the contract in no time at all but I also knew that I would need a bit of time to process the fact that, assuming everything went as planned I would starting a new life in 5 months and that thought was, in all honesty, a bit scary.
I am a worry-wart by nature and as fun loving as I can be, I can get tripped up along the way. Once I accepted the job I, like many others, thought it would be smooth sailing from here on out but if you have lived in another country before you know that the visa process can bring you back to reality VERY quick. In an effort to keep this from trailing on I will talk more about the visa process in tomorrow’s post!
Anecdote: Being a student in the last semester of University can be daunting as you try to navigate the world and secure a job for the future. However, over the years (and other jobs in-between) I have learned that being true to who you are as person makes you shine in interviews and that humility in admitting to the things you don’t know shows that as a human you have flaws but you can overcome them as you grow! So pep-talk aside hah You Can Do It!
Having titled my first post “The Leap”, I found myself stuck in the awkward and scary phase after that metaphorical jump. I have no idea where these next 5 months of preparation will take me as I transition from a college student to a full time working adult and being new to blogging, closer to word vomit on a page if you ask me, I find the prospect daunting. Very daunting. 5 months may seem too early to start writing about this material but I thinks its a good way of getting my thoughts out and to document things (the process) as it happens.
To begin I have always known that I wanted to teach English abroad and throughout my time in University I have researched the steps to get to the final destination. To start I decided early on that with its rich culture, beautiful language and history South Korea was the place for me. There are several different government programs to go through to teach English and I will go into more detail on those in a subsequent post. That being said, the two main tracts are public school and private institutions called Hagwons (more like cram schools) in which an English teacher can be placed. Based on my experience (English Major, 2 TESOL certificates, no teaching experience), the company I went through, KorVia, thought that I would be most comfortable and more qualified for a position at a Hagwon (학원).
With that crucial interview decided there are 5 things remaining for me to do. Create an introductory video, obtain a background check, obtain 3 letters of recommendation, get a medical evaluation and most importantly, graduate from College. Oh and then once that is all done I need to find a place at one of the schools.
So much to do but thankfully I have time. Next time I’ll go into more detail about getting a TESOL or TEFL certification, the company I went through, and the difference between public and private schools in South Korea.