EPIK: English Program in Korea. http://epik.go.kr is a program run by the Korean Government to employ English speaking people with English teaching jobs from USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, UK and Ireland (are the countries that I have run into.)
Obtaining a job: For some the process is much simpler but because I have really ‘good’ Irish luck I had a hard time. I am from Oregon, USA so this information should be pretty general until you get into the legal stuff- that tends to be more specific.
STEP 1: Finding a recruiter- What the hell is a recruiter? Great question. A recruiter is someone who is the liaison between the EPIK people and Korean Government and yourself. They are supposed to help you through this sometimes confusing process and notify you about upcoming deadlines and documents. Some recruiters that I have been seeing that people are using are KorVia (who I used), Teach Away Inc, Footprints and that is all I remember because there were GOOD things said about them. There are sooo many recruiting agencies its up to you, the job seeker, to find a good one.
[Side note about recruiters- they really are just the buffer between you and EPIK~they are not employed by EPIK nor are they members of Korean government. EPIK has some strange policies and don’t like it when their confusing documents aren’t completed right. The recruiter should be the one who kind of ‘holds your hand,’ during the application process and is someone who would be easier to get a hold of than being in contact directly with EPIK. Once in Korea- your recruiter has little to no contact with you. All in all I felt that having a recruiter was a positive in my experience since I had no idea what I was doing and I was confused pretty much every step of the way.]
STEP 2: Fill out the online application to get the ball rolling. Usually this entails a photo of yourself, resume and some basic questions about education and where you live.
STEP 3: The 15 page application! Ahh this application covers questions from where you want to be in Korea to where you have lived the past 10 years. Any gaps in your application will “look suspicious” to the Koreans. This application also includes a 500 word essay about why you would make a good English teacher and what your philosophy is on education. Along with this application and essay two scanned original copies of letters of recommendation.
STEP 4: Phone or Skype interview- About 45-60 minutes. This phone interview came after a long while from the date I submitted my application.
QUESTIONS THEY ASK:
- Questions a lot about your application
- Why do you want to go to ________? the province that you indicated.
- Why South Korea?
- What do you know about South Korea?
- What will give you the most culture shock in South Korea?
- Is your family in support of you going?
- Do you know about squat toilets?
- How would you react if a teacher struck a child in front of you?
- What if you had a confrontation with your co-teacher?
A lot of other that I don’t really remember it was such a blur but really long. After this…you wait.
STEP 5: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.
STEP 6: An official e-mail stating that you have a job or don’t have a job with a specific province!
STEP 7: Package to South KOrea
Along with the application you need;
- Application (with the corrections that the interviewer mentions)
- passport photo (2)
- 2 original letters of recommendation with letter head and ORIGINAL SIGNATURE addressed to “To Whom it May Concern or EPIK”
- Official sealed transcripts
- Criminal Record Check (notarized and apostille)
- Apostille of your diploma and criminal record check (Apostille: A special sign established in 1961 for certifying foreign documents. It will be an official stamp that is issued by the the state department. It is different from a notary which can be officiated at any bank among many other places, an apostille is done by the state government only.)
- If needed, a form of recognition of getting your teaching license or TEFOL certificate. -Which you will bring with you to the orientation once you get a job.
STEP 8: Wait wait wait wait wait wait! Send in a few more documents if needed and then….
STEP 9: NOA AND CONTRACT. Now, let me tell you, I started this process in December of 2009 and I got my contract and NOA in July. So depending on the time that you apply the process seems very drawn out.
STEP 10: VISA. After you recieve your NOA and contract it is time for you to apply for your visa and your tax residency form (8802.)
STEP 11: Buy a plane ticket!
STEP 12: GO TO ORIENTATION!!!