Documents: Sent to Korea

More updates–
I sent in all my paperwork (everything that I’ve been working on gathering since October) yesterday.  Just that act in itself feels like a huge burden has been taken off my shoulders.  It all seems a bit more real…and yet, at times, it still doesn’t.  I don’t know if the fact that I’m moving to South Korea in the next two months has really hit me yet.  I think it does a bit every so often, but it still doesn’t seem real.
Next steps:
*wait for everything to get to Korea and to be approved
*If ok, then a week after I’ll receive a PIN number for my visa from the Immigration Office in Korea along with an application form and instructions.
*Next, I apply for my visa at the nearest consulate’s office–in Chicago–then about a week later, I receive my visa and I’m flown to Korea.

….

Wow.

Apparently these last few steps all happen pretty quickly.
I still have a lot of wrapping up to do here..and I’ll be telling my current job (now that it’s finalized) and putting in my notice.
I think that will be the first taste of “wow, this is actually happening” for me.  Quitting and then selling my car, etc.

I’m still really behind on my TEFL course stuff too.  Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be finished by the time I leave, but I’d really like for that to be the case.  I don’t want to have to worry about getting that finished on top of adjusting to being over there.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
–JK Rowling

Contract: Submitted

I was offered a contract with this school a few days ago, and I had a bit of time to look it over and to send it to a friend of mine (that has been extremely patient and generally awesome through this whole process :-D) that has been teaching in Korea for over a year.  She’s on her second contract and has a bit more experience in what to look for than what I did.  Also, sent a few emails to current teachers at the school to find out what I’d be in for…and…after a bit of tweaking on the contract…I submitted it tonight.
Meaning..I now have a school to teach at in Korea and I start February 20, 2012.  Wow.
I’m a huge mixture of terrified and nervous and a bit excited too..but mostly nervous and anxious currently.  However, it is really nice to have that out of the way.

As far as paperwork is concerned, I believe all that I have left it to wait to receive my Apostilled FBI background check and to send all of my documents off to Korea.  Two things.  Wow.

And then, there’s the matter of telling my job and completely wrapping up my life here in the US by February…notifying cell phone companies, selling off the car, canceling insurance policies, getting in last minute doctor’s visits…etc etc.

Not sure if I mentioned it yet but I’m also taking a TEFL course online through ITTT.  So far, the course has been really helpful.  It’s basically a teaching certification that covers English Grammar 101 (and how to teach it) and classroom basics.  I still have a ways to go for the course, but so far so good.  I’m just extremely busy with trying to coordinate everything…but it’s all for a good reason, so it’ll be alright.  🙂  A huge thanks to my amazing set of family and friends that have been so so supportive.

Fairly brief post..but another milestone under my belt.  Good night!

“To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

A job!!

I’ve been waiting for this email..! 🙂

So, it’s not *official* yet, but I was just offered a position at a hagwon (private language school).  Everything looks good, and I’m in contact with a previous teacher, and so far, it still sounds good.
With this sort of thing, since English schools are a business, you should do as much background research on the school as you can.  Some schools are known for not treating their teachers very well/not paying on time/paying less than on the contract…so it’s best to check around to make sure you have a general idea of what you’re getting into.  You still won’t know for sure til you get there..but checking ahead of time helps prevent bad situations.
Well..that’s what I’ve read /been told…so hopefully that holds true for me 🙂

Anyway..back to the job…I started using a second recruiter (RBI Korea) along with Footprints (which seems to mostly have jobs in Seoul), and they found me this one.  Had the phone interview Wednesday night/Thursday morning at 3am (yes, you read that right) and found out early this morning via email that they want to hire me.

My contract is supposed to be emailed to me on Monday…I review (revise as needed) that…and if I still like them..then I sign and send it back.  THEN, I officially have my first teaching job in Korea.

After that, it just comes down to finalizing my visa.

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Side note:  I cancelled my gym membership today (give 30 days notice)–Phase one of breaking away has begun.
I also need to tell my apartment complex that I won’t be renewing…needs to probably happen sooner rather than later.

I still can’t believe I’m going to be in Korea in two months.  (oh.my.gosh.)
I’m excited to have a job working with little kids though 🙂  Yay!!  Fun! 🙂

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.”

A whole lot of “hurry up and wait” + Backstory

This first post is basically just going to be a bunch of backstory, and basically a place for me to log all that I’ve been working on for the past few months.  I’ve been abroad before, the most recent was a solo backpacking trip through Europe and the UK, and I really wish I would have written down all the work that goes into a trip like that before I went.
I had an amazing time, and kept a sort of journal while I was there, and hope to do the same while I’m on this trip…except now including the pre-trip preparations.

For the next year, I will be teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to elementary and kindergarten students in South Korea.  I’m a traveler at heart, and love working with kids…and have considered being a teacher here in the US before…so this seems like a great opportunity.

—-
The process:

So, assuming you’ve never applied for a work visa before, let me just tell you now…it’s a ton of paperwork (er..and money).
I knew that going into it, thankfully, but I did find out that the best way to do everything is by just taking it one day (or step) at a time.

I started this process back in October 2010 and aim to be in Korea by this February.  I have a friend currently teaching in Korea and she recommended using Footprints Recruiting to assist me with all the paperwork and getting everything ready for a visa.
I got in contact with them, had a Skype interview and talked with one of their reps on why I wanted to do this, why Korea, etc. and they got me started on the process.  I first filled out a form on their site, included my resume and current photo and was off!
Everything needed:

1. Authenticated copy of degree with Apostille (or Korean Consular seal if in Canada)].
2. Authenticated Criminal Background Check with Apostille (or Korean Consular seal if in Canada)
Teachers from the USA will need to submit FBI criminal background checks and this will take up to four months. (See the visa guide for more information).
3. Passport (a copy of the photo page).
4. Health Statement (in the back of the visa guide).
5. Footprints Waiver Form (attachment).
6. Go to Youtube and make a video sample for the schools to see. (See the Video Sample Submission attachment for more details).

Once you have sent scans of the above items to me, we can begin to introduce you to potential schools.

Other items that need to prepared:

7. University Transcripts (3 sets, MUST be sealed).
8. Your resume.
9. Digital Photo: This would be sent along with your resume, cover letter and voice sample to potential schools that you are interested in. Please keep the photo professional-looking: it will represent you as a teacher!
10. Five (5) passport sized photos.

Er..yeah..I’m a bit lazy and just copy/pasted directly from their email. 😀
The process is a whole bunch of hurry up and wait…everything is on a deadline for the most part, and most of the government documents can take weeks to be sent back to you.
The background check itself can take up to 6 weeks (sometimes longer from what I’ve heard elsewhere) to be returned…I sent mine in October, soon after I even first considered that this might be something I might want to do…and just got it back last week.

Anyway, that should be it for now.
I’m watching Elf and need to get some dinner started. 🙂

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— Mark Twain