Remember that coin toss I mentioned before?

27 01 2011

Yeah, we’re looking at heads instead of tails.

Heads: FML. Tails: Smooth Sailing.

I received my visa number from my school on Tuesday, and started to prepare my documents to send to Seattle. Mychaela called just to confirm everything we needed to send so that we could get the final ball rolling in this whole painful process.


We do, in fact have to go to Seattle. She was told that because we were given a number instead of a returned, signed copy of our contracts and a letter of appointment, we would have to go to Seattle for an interview that takes 5 minutes. I get to drive for 10 hours for a 5 minute interview.

Five. Minutes. No alternatives.

It’s a good thing there’s no school next week, or you know, I might miss a day of work.
Aaah, to have a consistent income again. I can’t wait.

So Tuesday, I get to go visit the Korean Consulate in Seattle. I’m hoping to see some family and friends before I go while I’m up there. Hopefully everything goes smoothly and we get our passports returned to us in one piece!

this side makes life easy.


Think good thoughts for us! Hope for tails!

Korean E-2 Visa Process: The Triumphant Phone Call

7 01 2011

On Monday, all but $6 of my November paycheck went to FedEx. I finally got all of my documents back, signed and sealed with the proper Apostille documentation.

Seriously, $110 to send my documents to Korea? It would have been tons cheaper had my recruiter made the stupid photo copies themselves, but NOOOOOoooo, I had to send 4 identical copies of a 15 page document, plus photo copies of all the other documents. Shoot me now.

After I emailed them the clearly marked tracking number and the website, only to get a message back that asked, “What’s the tracking number?” I began to realize that this roller coaster is either going to go flying down in a flaming death spiral, or things were going to get strangely easier. It was beginning to look like the Indo coin toss. Heads, dealing with some complicated fiasco that really ends in no positive result, usually involving some sort of a.) traffic jam, b.) bureaucratic procedure, c.) a natural disaster, or d.) all of the above. Tails was usually always my favorite. This usually involved a.) phenomenal student activities, b.) weddings, c.) Storm, or d.) any adventure I went on. Hopefully Korea can live up to the high bar that my life in Indonesia set.

In my most recent email from my recruiters in Korea, I was told I needed to contact my nearest Consulate General as soon as possible to find out if I needed an interview, (as mentioned again in a recent post.) So I called, but they were closed, so I called again today. After understanding only 2 phrases while listening to the options in Korean, “Hello” and “Thank you for calling,” I was offered only one option in English. “Press 7 now.” Alright. That was easy enough.

After being directed to the visa specialist, Nellie (immediate thought: “again/another one?!? Heads or tails?”),  I asked about scheduling an interview for an E-2 visa. She asked if I was going to work at a public or private school, and what program I was going with. She was very friendly and helpful and gave me the best answer I could have hoped for.

“No, you don’t need to send us all of those documents. Actually, you don’t need an interview at all.”


Glorious angels started singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love Seattle, but if I don’t have to drive 6 hours to get there for a 5 minute interview, I’ll gladly take the other mail-order visa option. For those of you who are going through the same process, here’s the final list of documents you’ll need to send. Please call and confirm before you send these things, just the be sure.

  1. Completed Visa Application
  2. Valid Passport
  3. 1 Passport Photo
  4. $45 USD Cash or Money Order
  5. 1 Official Sealed University Transcript
  6. Notice of Appointment from Korean School/Program
  7. Completed, Signed Contract
  8. Self Addressed, Stamped Return Envelope

Mail the docs to your local Korean Consulate, and in about a week, you should have your shiny new E-2 visa!  Hooray tails!

Is this really a huge issue? Tips for the Korean E-2 Visa Consular Interview

5 01 2011

This is the email I received from my recruiter, unchanged. I find it hilarious.

Personal Interview at the Korean Consulate
You might be wondering, and in some cases… worrying about the Personal Interview which you will need to schedule and pass at the Korean Consulate. The Interview is intended to eliminate any candidates who are deemed unsuitable by the consulate’s standards.

Some of the things the Korean Government is concerned about are drug use, criminal record, mental health, education and employment history, and your general intentions for going to Korea to teach. The most important ones to watch out for are the drug related questions.

Some of the questions our applicants have been asked by the consulate include:

“Have you ever used drugs or had a drug problem?”
“Have you ever had an alcohol problem?”
“Does anyone you know do drugs?”
“How do you know if someone is high on drugs?”

The obvious answer to the questions would be “No” as any wavering on a reply might have them doubting you. Korean society has absolutely no tolerance for drugs (ignoring the fact that alcoholism is a rampant social problem) and any admittance to their use will be looked at unfavorably. Please treat these questions very seriously, even if they seem unnecessary. However, also keep in mind that you will need to pass a medical exam in Korea, including a drug test once you arrive. If there is something in your past that you’re worried about, please let us know right away.

Recently, some applicants have been asked questions about their general knowledge about Korea and why they believe they will be good teachers to the children. It is a good idea to give this a thought before the interview, and perhaps a good personal exercise in determining how ready you are to take on this adventure.

The interview itself takes only a few minutes and should progress very quickly. We have not encountered any problems as of yet and none of our teachers have been declined based on the interview.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us right away.


Seriously? Apparently ESL teachers have a high rate of alcoholism or drug related issues… haha.

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