First, I got my passport today. Yes! Only took about 2 weeks!
Second, after lots of thought and endless amounts of videos/posts/blogs, I decided to go with Korvia Consulting to help me find a job in South Korea as a teacher. I sent in my online application at the start of this week, and they contacted me soon after. I was surprised by the email, because they took the time to calculate my time zone for an interview time. They are in Korea, I'm in Arizona -- big time difference. They were an hour off, but the fact that they did that extra step made me feel pretty good about my decision.
For those who do not know what Korvia is, it is a consulting agency who works with some of the more common teaching programs in South Korea. They work with public schools, and they make sure that you get all of your paperwork in correctly. They also provide support, like helping you transition into a new culture, connect with other teachers who applied through Korvia and offer a free phone until you can get your own.
The interview I had with them Thursday night was my first of hopefully about two that I need to go through to hired. Korvia becomes a third recommendation when you apply through them. You need two recommendation letters from an academic or work related individual, but Korvia looks at your resume, asks you some questions and then sends off their impression of you and a recommendation to your potential employers.
I didn't really know what to expect from the interview before it happened but here's what did happen: We talked for about an hour, there was a lot of laughing, and we went off topic a LOT.
So, hopefully that is a good thing. The agent I spoke to was very nice. She seemed impressed by a lot of my answers to her questions, but I'm not completely sure. She reassured me that she saw no reason why I shouldn't find be hired. I told her I was pretty flexible, adapted well and I was genuinely interested in learning a new culture. I also seem to have given the right answers to the questions concerning teaching children. Hopefully...
The Korvia agent talked about how competitive the job market was, especially for EPIK (the program I'm applying to). She saw no reason why I shouldn't be hired, but she did say that it was first come, first serve. She also suggested a few things, which I will be considering to improve my chances.
I marked on the questionnaire she sent me that I didn't have any Korean skills, because I really don't. I see being able to form a sentence as basic, which I can't do. What I do know are a few words here and there, and I know about half of the Korean writing system (Hangul) without having to stare blankly at it for a few minutes. Still learning how to read it faster, which is a good thing to learn so I don't look like a crazy foreigner, staring intensely at a sign and sounding out the letters like a 4-year-old.
When it came to that part of the interview, the Korvia agent told me that she was really surprised by pronunciation of a province I had mentioned earlier when asked about locations I might prefer. I realized later that I had no idea whether or not that was actually the correct pronunciation, since I'd never looked up the name in Hangul. I suppose I've become more familiar with it than I initially realized, and I might just be able to indicate that I have some Korean language skills on the application form.
What Korean words do I know? Well, I know a basic greeting, how to say thank you, sorry, ask for water. I know how to say tree and can name some fruits... So, if I ever need to apologize to a tree, I'm all set.
Now that I have done the interview with Korvia, I need to prepare my application to send in later this month.
Things I need to finish:
- Lesson plan (part of application)
- Personal essay (also part of app)
- Receive recommendation letters (expecting one very soon, yay!)
There is more to do, but much of it will be done later and would stress me out if I thought about it now. I'm also starting my TEFL course at the end of this month, and planning to volunteer to help tutor ESL students soon as part of my practicum experience. I think I have one location where I can do this, so things seem to be going well.