Archive for the ‘South Korea’ Category

A Hard Earned Korean Visa

A Hard Earned Korean Visa

The Korean Visa process can be costly and time consuming with the applicant having to either make several trips to the Korean embassy or mailing in documents and waiting for them to be returned.  It all depends on where you live; from what I came to understand when I did the visa process, if you live more than a 4 hour drive from the embassy you can mail your documents in.  There are fees associated with passports, police checks, transcripts, passport photos, the visa itself, and of course shipping.  These fees will vary so be prepared with cash on you when you are obtaining these documents.  The process can be broken down into 3 stages:
Stage 1: Gathering Your Documents
The first thing on the list should be a passport.  If you don’t have one, get one; if you have one make sure it isn’t going to expire while you are travelling because that would be less than convenient.   Getting a passport can take 3-4 weeks.  You will need at least 2 photocopies of your passport for the process as well.
Police Background Check
There have been some changes recently with regard to the vulnerable sector check that can be involved with a police background check.  Your best bet is to talk to your recruiter or school and see which one you need to apply for.  A vulnerable sector check will take 2 weeks to process while a normal police check can be done in 20 minutes.  You will need a signed letter head from your school requesting the vulnerable sector check.  Be sure to go to the police station in your region and in the morning as most offices close earlier in the day.
The kicker about the police checks is that they need to be notarized by both a public notary like a lawyer as well as the Korean embassy.  Get a public notary to do it first then bring it to the embassy where you’ll pay a small fee for them to stamp it and give it back to you.

University Transcripts and Degree
Transcripts can be obtained from the office of the registry at your university.  Your school ID or driver’s license will be needed to grab a pair of sealed transcripts.  You will most likely be sending over an original copy of your degree as well.
Passport Photos
It’s always a good idea to have a couple extra passport photos stashed with your passport while travelling so that if you need one at anytime it’s on hand.  You will need at least 4 for the visa process.  You school will probably request some and you will also need to bring one to the embassy later.
Contract and Health Statement
You will need to print off a copy of your contract with your new school and be sure to sign it.  Your school will most likely also send you a health statement for you to fill out on your own.  Typical questions are about your current state and questions about STD’s and drugs.
Stage 2: Shipping and Waiting
So now that you have all the documents together you have to Fedex it over to your school so that they can setup your visa on the Korean side of things.
The package should contain:
Photocopy of your passport, your original degree, sealed transcripts, criminal background check that has been notarized by someone like a lawyer and the Korean embassy, 4 passport photos, your completed health statement, and a signed copy of the contract that you have with the school.

Once this gets sent off you are maybe looking at a 2 week wait before you can head back to the embassy to apply for the visa.

Stage 3: Applying and Obtaining Your Visa
After you receive a visa confirmation number from your school you can head back to the embassy to apply for the visa.  Bring with you a passport photo, some ID, the confirmation number, and sealed transcripts from your place of higher learning.  You will have to fill out a visa registration sheet which can be found online so you will need the address of the school you are working for and any other information you have about your stay in Korea.  After applying for the visa you will be scheduled for an interview which is the final step of the whole process.  Upon returning for your short interview you will be handed back your passport with a shiny new Korean visa inside.  The visa will most likely be a single entry visa so if you plan on doing any travelling outside of the country during the year then you will have to shell out another fifty dollars or so to apply for multiple entry status.
That should about cover the Korean visa process.  This article was written based on a Canadian experience but the experience should be the same for an American as well. The only true difference is that American citizens will be given a “multiple entry visa” while Canadian citizens must only apply for a single entry visa”. Once in the country and when employment has begun, a Canadian can then apply for multiple entry which will allow them to tour and take trips outside of Korea, and return whenever they have vacation time. The application for a multiple entry Visa comes in at just around $50 CAD.  Hope it helps! It may seem like a lot of initial work on your end, but it truly is the experience of a lifetime. Just keep in mind that the decision to move and live in Korea will not suit everyone and your experience will vary. Be ready for a different culture, different food and different people. However as long as you enter the experience with an open mind, you will be rewarded with lasting and pleasure-filled memories.

Teach English in Korea | Get a TEFL Job Overseas

Posted by Drew On June - 8 - 2009

An Opportunity to Get Paid to Travel that you Should Grasp

An Opportunity to Get Paid to Travel that you Should Grasp

Korea:  It’s Worth It

By: Curtis Broker

So you want to teach English in Korea?  Well then let me bestow upon you some wisdom that I have acquired having spent a year in Korea and now very much looking forward to going back.  The first time I went over I tackled the whole process cowboy style, found a recruiter and before I knew it I was signing the first contract that came my way.  I had an amazing time my first year don’t get me wrong, but there are just some things that I know now that I wish I knew then. 


The VISA Process for Teaching in Korea

The visa process is ever changing and even in the span of just eighteen months since I applied the first time the requirements have changed.  This is what I would recommend any person do with regards to the order of things that need to get done.  As soon as you know you are going to Korea and will be leaving within 6 months head out and get transcripts from your university (a 3 year degree is required to teach in Korea), and grab a police background check (this needs to be notarized before bringing it to the closest Korean embassy where it will be notarized again).  This should start you on your way to getting all of your things together.  Once you find a job and agree to a contract its all engines go on Fedexing everything over to your school.  Use Fedex because there is Fedex in Korea as well.


The package should contain:

Photocopies of your passport, your original degree, sealed transcripts, criminal background check that has been notarized by someone like a lawyer and the Korean embassy, 4 passport photos, and a signed copy of the contract that you have with the school.


Note there are fees associated with obtaining most of the things on the list so de be prepared to pay for them as well as sending things over isn’t exactly cheap either.


Preparing to Head Abroad to Korea

There are plenty of posts and articles with advice on what to bring to Korea.  People have lots of suggestions and a lot of them are valid.  It is hard to find some things in Korea but you can usually find them and not having most of them isn’t the end of the world.  If you’re over 6 feet and have massive feet consider bringing your own shoes and don’t plan on buying them there.  That being said nothing is impossible to find and things can always also be shipped over to you.  This time when I head back I will be packing a lot less than I did my first time around.  I won’t need all the undershirts, the year’s supply of dental floss, and brand new socks.  For my build which is 6 ft with an athletic frame I had absolutely no problem finding clothes or shoes. 


Flying to Korea

I remember my flight the first time over to Korea was non-stop 14 hours and relatively painless.  You will most likely fly into Seoul but you may very well fly directly into your city as well.  Either way your school should have made arrangements to pick you up or have arranged a ride to where they are located.  Don’t fear not being able to find your way around the airport or to your pick up point.  There are lots of very helpful people working at tourism booths airport staff that are more than happy to help you find your way. 


Living Overseas in Korea

Once settled into your apartment, which should of course be supplied by your employer, you can start to get a feel for what everyday life will be like.  Travel in Korea as extremely easy for everyone without a car.  Get hooked up with a transit card (I believe in Seoul it’s a T-Money card).  You can use this on the bus or subway or even to purchase things from vending machines with just touching it to a sensor.  They make life a lot easier if you will be using public transit often.  Eating is another concern most people have when travelling to a foreign country.  Speaking from experience I really enjoyed the food in Korea and the culture and tradition that surrounds it.  There is a wide variety of new foods that are delicious.  Yes some are spicy but you can ask for things that aren’t, yes, there is a lot of Korean barbeque but even a vegetarian can find meals at these establishments.  There are of course chains that are familiar to us like McDonald’s and Burger King in the larger towns and cities.


Going out on the town can be an absolute riot once you know your way around.  Ask a fellow teacher to show you the hot spots for foreigners in your city.  There is usually a bar or two or three that are frequented by other teachers such as you and often are the meeting places for the best social events such as softball leagues, movie nights, or ski trips.  I wouldn’t recommend going to Korea by yourself and not getting involved in a social circle such as this.  English movies are shown with the original soundtracks and Korean subtitles so there isn’t a problem there, lots of places have the menu in English as well but any language barrier issues are usually over come with a little work. 


Learning the Language While Abroad

As far as learning the language is concerned, things are easier than most would think.  Korean isn’t like Chinese where there are thousands of symbols that each mean something different.  Korean is a phonetic language and the symbols can be explained using sounds in the English language.  I often tell people when talking about learning how to read Korean that it is much like a code language that you may have made up in elementary school to pass secret notes.  That’s at least how I relate it to my life.  With a little hard work you can have the basics of reading Korean down in about two hours.  You won’t know what you are reading but you will be able to sound it out phonetically.  This skill comes in handy when getting around the country; you can use it to double check things with signs that don’t have any English.  Reading the menu is a lot easier when you know what your favourite item’s spelling is.  It also of course goes hand in hand with learning how to speak the language as well.  Getting together with a Korean or joining a language exchange and making a real effort to learn the language and make friends which will greatly enhance your year abroad.


Think about it.  It’s an entire year in another country; make the most of it.  Keep an open mind and try to get out the most you can to experience the culture first hand and don’t be afraid of making a few mistakes.  Koreans are a kind people and are more often than not happy to lend a helping hand.


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