Thursday, January 26, 2012


I was told I would have to complete a pre-orientation course online before I left for Korea. It was basically 17 lessons that I would study and take quizzes after.  After that, there are two tests.

Each lesson had a video that was about 20 minutes long.  I learned about the psychology of learning, as well as some teaching methods, and finally about the culture of Korea.  Since I am an avid note taker, it wasn't difficult at all, so I passed everything and got perfect scores on both tests.

The culture lessons were interesting, but learning about learning tended to drag on a bit. 

Job Offer

Back in December I was offered a job through the agency at the Seoul English Camp.  The name is misleading, as it is actually about two hours away from Seoul.  I was told I'd get benefits like extra pay every month.

However, it seemed like an isolated place, away from the city.  I really wanted to be placed in Seoul because of my friends and the life of the city.  So, I turned down the offer. I was worried at first, but they told me they would get me a place in Seoul.

Sure enough, about a month later I was placed in Seoul!

EPIK Interview

After I was accepted by my recruiter, I was then signed up for an interview with my program.  I was applying for SMOE which is part of EPIK.  So I had an interview from an EPIK employee.

This interview was conducted through Skype.  It took place late at night for me because of the time difference.  This interview is very nerve wracking! The interviewer was very nice, but I was asked a lot of questions that I hadn't been prepared for. They asked me what my teaching mentality was, as well as my personal philosophy. Of course there were a lot of questions on how I would adapt to Korea and culture shock as well. My biggest advice is to be prepared and make sure you look at their website carefully. Also, smile a lot! They enjoy enthusiasm.

The interview lasted roughly 30 minutes, though they can take up to an hour.

It takes a week to find out your result, but my recruiter told me early that I had passed!

Required Documents

Here are the documents needed to teach in Korea. (This specific list is for EPIK/SMOE candidates, but usually applies for GEPIK as well)

1) FBI Check with apostille stamp.

  •  You must send in to the FBI a request for a criminal background check.  IMPORTANT- Add a note in it saying its for teaching abroad in Korea.  There is a special stamp needed on it for this. Ask your recruiter when to apply for one, because if you apply too early, the background check may become expired by the time you go to Korea.  If you ask too late, it may take too long to get all your documents in order.
  • An apostille stamp can be received through sending your background check to Washington to the Office of Authentications.  It takes several months to get it back! So I highly suggest you go there and get it done in one day if possible rather than waiting. 
2)Sealed transcript (Final transcript!)
3) 2 recommendation letters (From either employers or teachers)
4) Dipolma with apostille stamp/Letter from university.
  • If you have not yet graduated from your university, you can get a letter from them, notarized, and used in place of the Diploma temporarily.  You will still have to submit a copy of your diploma and an apostille stamp on it.  This apostille stamp can be made through the state level though, so you don't have to sent it to Washington.
5)TEFL Certificate (Required if you are teaching in Seoul)
6)Residency Certificate (For tax exemption. This can also expire, apply when your recruiter asks you to. It costs $35 and can take over a month)

The first step to take when looking for a job teaching in Seoul is to get a recruiter.  Becoming an English teacher in a foreign country is very complicated, and I highly suggest getting a recruiter.  They will explain the process to you and help you the whole way through it.  They will also put in a good word with your application.

Recruiters are free, so it's basically like hiring free help.  I don't see why anyone would apply without going through a recruiter.  They will find you jobs and make sure you complete all of your documents correctly. 

I applied through the Korvia agency.  Their website is very helpful, and they even have a quiz to see if it's the right job for you.  I spent hours and hours on their site finding out all sorts of information before I applied.  It's very informative and they have lots of videos as well. 

They hire teachers in August and February.  I recommend applying for a recruiter 6-8 months early! I know this sounds crazy, but you will need all the time to get your documents ready.  There is a lot of waiting on documents to be processed with the government, such as background checks. 

The website has a simple application that you fill out and add your resume on. 

A recruiter will get back to you shortly and have you fill out a questionnaire for them. This questionnaire asks about your health, where you'd like to be placed, just simple personal questions.

The recruiter will then have an interview with you to make sure you are serious about this job.  This interview may be over skype or over the phone.  My interview was over the phone. (I thought it would be through skype and I actually dressed up! haha I felt silly afterwards) I answered some very simple questions like why I wanted to work in Korea, if I had ever been there, did I know any Korean... things like that. It was really no big deal, though a few times I had a hard time understanding my recruiter's accent. They are very kind and patient though, and will repeat their questions.


My name is Jessica.  I am an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea.  This blog is dedicated to my adventures in this foreign country.

I studied in Seoul last year, which was five weeks during the summer of 2011, my senior year.  For several years now I had wanted to teach in Seoul.  Studying abroad there was my try out.  I wanted to make sure that it was the right fit for me.  I had a blast and completely fell in love with the country! You can read my blog adventures from then here.

My first few posts will be the process by which I had to go through to become accepted into the teaching program in Korea.


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