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.
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!
“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