The Road to Korea – What’s Next?

At the end of my previous post I got wait-listed. The news was very devastating and I cried. A lot. After the tears stopped I emailed my recruiter about what to do next. I could wait for spring intake and the only thing I would have to update is my application and my FBI CRC (Criminal Record Check). Or I could try other public school programs that had availability left and even hagwons (Korean private schools – the more complicated route). Sigh.

I decided to wait for Spring Intake.

The idea of trying to find and secure a position in Korea in less than month was stressful. My finances aren’t where I would like them to be (even after the donation help, but the timeline I posted here will show why). I have to move out of my apartment at the end of this month and I might be out of wi-fi at my house for a couple of months. Most interviews in Korea will take place between 7am and 5pm in Korea which would make it 7pm-5am central time in America. Not very ideal when you don’t have internet.

Waiting just ended up being the best option. It sucks but it’s not actually that bad. The school year in Korea begins in the Spring and the process will be different for those wait-listed. So if you have to wait don’t worry. I’m right there with you.

In the meantime, I’ll find part time work, practice my Korean (maybe I’ll become fluent!), help out with my sorority, and write a lot. I have already sent my recruiter my updated application and after he reviews it and sends it off to EPIK (the spring process officially begins August 1st) another timeline will begin!

Until next time,

Tiara “Kikyo” Giles

 

The Road to Korea – A Timeline

Hey everyone! It’s been a while!

I had been contemplating for about a month over what to write about next on my blog and also what to upload next on my YouTube Channel. I had honestly been contemplating talking about what I was up to over the summer but I was hesitant about telling you all.

However, I decided to go on ahead and talk about it here but not on my Facebook page. I’ll discuss it on YouTube later once I am able to focus and settle my mind down.

I applied to teach English in South Korea in March through Korvia Consulting (a recruiting agency). I wanted to face some fears, learn to get out of my comfort zone, and try new things. Why not apply to teach overseas?

But here is a brief timeline to show you where I am at in the process.

Somewhere Mid-June of 2016: I apply for my passport. I had been planning to travel to Korea for a long time but seemed to not have the money. This time I at least had the funds for a passport. The process was a little daunting since they thought there was something wrong with my ID and requested further forms of identification. My ID was fine. I just happened to be 22 with a leaner’s permit. I know. I know. I wrote about it here.

8/24/2016: My sorority sister sends me an email suggesting I try teaching English in South Korea. She stated a few other sorority sisters in the past had applied and got accepted to EPIK and loved the experience.

8/25/2016: My passport arrives!!! I also reach out to one of the sorority sisters that taught with EPIK. I don’t ask about living or teaching. I just ask about traveling to Korea, what cities to go visit, the food, the culture and so on.

September 2016 (I don’t remember the exact date): I began to research teaching English in South Korea and the various ways you can go about doing so. You can try teaching privately through a recruiter or finding a Hagwon (Korean private school) directly that has a job opening, or you can apply to teach publicly through programs such as EPIK, GEPIK, GOE and so on. You can also apply for public schools through a recruiter.

9/30/2016: I ask my sorority sisters about their experiences teaching in Korea for further research.

Sometime in October: The process freaks me out and I decide to hold off on it. I began to wonder if this would be right for me and if this was something I really wanted.

11/13/2016: I decided to look back into teaching in Korea and called my sorority sister that had recently moved back to America.

3/10/2017: I research a few recruiters vs. applying to EPIK directly, Hagwons and other programs.

3/15/2017: I apply to Korvia Consulting and open a GoFundMe Campaign. I had some financial hardships so I needed a little help preparing for Korea since it is recommended to set aside $1000 for the plane ticket and a minimum of $1000 to help with getting settled. I was honestly surprised at the amount of help I was getting with the GoFundMe. However, the goal only reached halfway but help still trickled in through other avenues.

3/17/2017: I am invited to have an initial interview with Korvia Consulting.

3/21/2017: My interview takes place at 11:30 pm CST over Skype which is 1:30pm KST March 22nd in Korea. I receive an email shortly after the interview stating that I passed. My recruiter had suggested that I apply for EPIK and that he and the rest of Korvia would assist me with the process.

3/30/2017: After I had begun to gather all of my initial documents for EPIK, I sent in my application.

4/4/2017: My recruiter requests revisions to my EPIK application.

4/6/2017: Revisions are completed and sent to Korvia Consulting.

4/7/2017: WAITING GAME #1. Korvia has sent my revised application to EPIK. This is the first long wait in the EPIK process since you will be waiting for EPIK to request to have an interview with you. If you are still in school you are in luck because you have classes, final exams, and graduation to distract you. If you have a job, you have work to distract you while you wait. I was also completing my TEFL course at this time so I had plenty on my plate to distract me.

5/6/2017: I graduate from Mississippi State University and I have joined the Korvia EPIK Facebook to get as much information as I can on the process while I continue to await my interview with EPIK.

5/17/2017: EPIK scheduled an interview with me for May 23rd my time.

5/18/2017 (or around there): I find out a sorority sister of mine also applied for EPIK. However, she has applied directly through EPIK and had already passed her interview with EPIK.

5/23/2017: EPIK interview went well with requests for more revisions to my application (specifically the lesson plan and a new recommendation letter).

5/29/2017: I PASSED!!!! However, the email points out that passing the interview doesn’t secure me a place with EPIK nor does it secure my preferred location. The reason for this depends on how soon you get your documents in the EPIK for approval. Once EPIK approves your final documents they will recommend you to a school who will then send you a contract upon acceptance. Thus, making you official with EPIK.

5/30/2017: After seeking advice on how to revise my lesson plan for the application I send in my updated application. At this time I have all final documents for EPIK except my apostilled FBI background check, which USPS had lost in the mail just before I received the news of passing.

6/12/2017: Final documents sent to Korvia Consulting. WAITING GAME #2. The worlds longest waiting game. You’re warned about it. You think you’re prepared, but you’re not. Excitement and nerves are at its highest. I join the EPIK Fall 2017 Facebook group.

6/16/2017: Korvia Consulting has received, reviewed, and sent my final documents to EPIK HQ that same day. However, another error had been noted on my letter of recommendation. I contact my professor that same day to get it fixed. Placements begin to roll out on the EPIK Facebook group. I begin to feel excited and stressed all at the same time.

6/20/2017: I received my updated recommendation letter and mail it to Korvia Consulting. I join a Kakao Talk group with other people from Korvia waiting to hear back about placement.

6/23/2017: Korvia receives my updated recommendation letter and gives it to EPIK HQ the same day. More placements roll out on the Facebook group. My stress continues but it hasn’t been a month yet so I am okay.

6/28/2017: THE SCARE. During this waiting game we get a scare thinking that we all had been waitlisted and EPIK stopped giving out placements. However, it was a misinterpretation of an email a recruiter received from EPIK that discussed the deadline for receiving final documents. Placements would continue to be given.

7/6/2017: EPIK Coordinator posts to the group that they would be rolling out online pre-orientation on the 17th of July. I begin to worry, but I had not been waiting for a month yet.

7/13/2017: At this point, I’m so nervous that I break down and email my recruiter. I hadn’t heard from him since I sent him my updated LoR and my sorority sister had just received her placement. I was beginning to worry again when I had finally become calm for two days prior to emailing him. He responded thirty minutes after I emailed him informing that I was still getting placed. I wasn’t sure if that meant I was being recommended but I hoped that was so.

7/18/2017: Devastating News: I got wait-listed and my application is pushed back for Spring 2018 with EPIK. I am now thinking of what to do and have emailed my recruiter to discuss being wait-listed and other options with him. I also email professors about acquiring updated rec letters.

Important Note: If you don’t get placed in time for fall orientation you get wait listed. This means that if someone quits, loses their job, or does not show up for orientation you will be called in to work. If you are not placed for late intake you will be put down as priority for the spring intake. (Same goes for those who apply in spring and don’t get placed) There is also still a chance of getting cut while waiting for placement but that’s extremely rare.

I’ll update this timeline as more things happen!

Until next time,

Tiara “Kikyo” Giles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching English in South Korea, Maybe?

Hi folks!

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Last year I created a GoFundMe campaign so I could study abroad. However, that didn’t work out. I was only able to raise enough to buy the digital camera I needed for the trip and nothing more.

Now, I want to try again. I have a minimum wage work-study job on campus so it doesn’t pay much. Saving has been kind of hard. I decided to do another GoFundMe campaign to help me actually get to my goal of teaching overseas. I feel like this is a great way to serve a community and truly get to know another culture besides my own.

You don’t have to donate if you don’t want to. If you do, I really appreciate it! I want to keep you guys updated on my life decisions. That includes my dreams, successes, and failures as a new adult.

When I do go to South Korea I’m going to be making tons of videos about my experiences and writing blog posts. Of course, the flash fictions will still be there.

Anyway, here’s the link to the GoFundMe. Share away and help a sister out if you can.

https://www.gofundme.com/tiara-teaches-in-south-korea

Until next time,

Tiara “Kikyohatake” Giles

Feeling Lost

Right now as I am writing this my stomach is literally hurting from the anxiety I had put myself through today. I’ve tried really hard to just stay calm. Take deep breaths. To stop myself from researching so much about the very thing that’s stressing me out. Continue reading

Traveling: First Passport

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Did anyone besides me get a passport while in college? Did you have a learner’s permit? Yeah. I know. I’m 22. Why do I have a learner’s permit?

The reason why I don’t have a learner’s permit would call for a medium length story that would then call for an extremely long life story. We don’t have time for that. Continue reading