The Waiting is the Hardest Part

After my interview with EPIK on Thursday, my interviewer told me that my recruiter would let me know if I’ve been accepted in two to three days.

My recruiter just e-mailed me and all she said was “Please print out this final application form when you submit all your documents =)”

Does that mean I’m in? Or will it be determined after I submit my documents?

I don’t know. I was expecting something more formal, I suppose?

I e-mailed her back and now I’m sitting here, waiting for a reply, even though I was to get up for work in five hours.

Suddenly, Japan?!

I graduated from Seton Hall University in 2013 with a BA in Art History. For the past two years, I’ve worked multiple part-time jobs all while applying for full-time positions in my field. The closest I’ve gotten is one of my two current jobs: being an administrative assistant in a small, non-profit history museum between 10-15 hours per week. My other job right now is retail.

Now, I’ve been applying for more and more teaching English abroad positions and the number of interviews I’ve been asked to do is astounding. Why doesn’t anyone want to interview me in the field I have a degree in? *sigh*

Anyway. In addition to EPIK, I am being asked to interview with AEON, Amity, and ECC. I already knew about AEON and Amity when I started this blog. However, I just got the e-mail from ECC, and this is the interview that will make the biggest difference on my final decision (if I’m offered a position, that is).

In one of my older posts (click here), I talked about wanting to be in Japan, but feeing like South Korea would be the best option, financially. Now, I’m rethinking Japan because it seems a little more tangible.

ECC only hires around Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. I would like to be in Nagoya or Osaka. Monthly salary is good (252,000 yen/month) and the work week is only 29.5 hours, which would leave lots of time for conducting private lessons to make some extra cash. Additionally, ECC offers 7 weeks paid vacation, which is more than any other program I’ve seen. Traveling is super high on my list if I teach abroad, so this is a sweet deal. Teachers do have to pay for rent, but ECC helps find you an apartment and you are not responsible for key money or deposit money.

Oh goodness. The struggle is so real.

Has anyone worked with ECC before? Any feedback to add to my pro/con list would be greatly appreciated!

Food for Thought

At this point in time, I have been invited for interviews with the following programs: EPIK, Aeon, and Amity.

EPIK is my first choice right now, but I am certainly keeping my options open.

In addition to thinking about which country/program I would like to ultimately go with if chosen, I’ve also been thinking about Oreos.

Will I be able to get Oreos abroad? Will they cost me an arm and a leg? And Heinz ketchup? Burritos? Bagels? Pizza?? (Being from New Jersey, bagels and pizza are incredibly high on my list of necessities.)

Anyway, was some food for thought. And now I will proceed to watch Bob’s Burgers.

Back to School

Working on my TEFL certificate is like being back in college again, except without the all-nighters, the bad cafeteria food, or being able to seek refuge at the radio station 24/7. (WSOU represent!) Also, to be honest, I only took one online class when I was an undergraduate and I hated it. There’s just something really impersonal about the virtual “classroom.” But I went for the online training with the two in-classroom days because it was literally half the price of other programs that were entirely in-class.

*sigh*

Anyway. The phonemic alphabet is killing me. I have never used this in my life. Except when I see phonetics next to like, Wikipedia words. And even then I overlook them because I’m all “what is this nonsense.”

phonet

I’m also having flashbacks to my third grade class and all the different verb tenses and participles. My teacher back then, Miss Grouleff, was a stickler about grammar. She must have done something right because I’m not doing as horribly as I thought I would be.

Coffee would be really good right now.

TEFL Training with i-to-i

I bit the bullet and signed up for a TEFL training program this morning. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I was considering going with i-to-i after speaking with Josh, one of their representatives.

So I put in on my credit card.

For $549 (not as bad as it could be, but I still wanted to die a little), I will receive a certificate for 140 hours. 120 hours are online and 20 hours are in-class. I will spend two full days in NYC doing the in-class segment in June. Additionally, Josh threw in a Specialist Course for teaching one-on-one lessons. This usually costs $50, but after expressing the fact that I saw a 10% off coupon on their website, Josh threw it in for me because he said they weren’t offering that deal anymore. Whatever. I’ll take it. I’ll take all the certificates.

Anyway, I started the online section today and it’s pretty sweet. The course is broken up into Part A and Part B. Each part is broken down into different sections. Within each section, there are things to read, videos, short answers, and fill-in-the-blanks. At the end of each section, there are Progress Checks, which are little quizzes to test what you’ve learned. You have to score 80% or above to progress to the next section. I am up to section 3, and at the end of section 3 there was a Checkpoint. This consisted of 5 essay questions that I had to answer. They have to be graded before I can progress.

I dig it.

And just as a side note or a disclaimer or what have you, I have not been paid by anyone to write about i-to-i. This is just my personal opinion and experience. So there’s that.

To do list 3/30/2015

Things I have to do to start preparing for EPIK as well as getting my elementary education certification in New Jersey:

1. Sign up and take a 140 hour TEFL class (I am going with the i-to-i Professional Certificate)

2. Re-take my elementary education math PRAXIS (and pass this time)

3. Take my 24 hour pre-service program: an introduction to the teaching profession

4. All the documents. All the paperwork.

Interviewing with KorVia

I had my initial interview with the KorVia Consulting Agency last night. The only thing was that I thought it was for tonight because apparently I didn’t convert the time difference correctly.

Anyway, I had just come home from a friend’s house when I got a Skype notification: “Hello Tia. Your interview is in 30 minutes. Please let me know when you are ready.”

Panic.

Immediately, I ran to my closet and threw on a blouse, went over my list of cities, and profusely apologized for the confusion.

My recruiter, Sarah, proceeded to video call me and the interview began. After going over my resume, Sarah decided I would apply for EPIK, which is probably the most well-known of the South Korean government programs. She asked me which cities I was interested in, and I gave her my list. Sarah told me my best bet would probably be Gyeongju, in the province of Gyeongbuk (you can only choose one city/province when you apply). I’m happy with this choice, though. Gyeongju, once again, is known as “the museum without walls.” Is that perfect or what?

The rest of the interview went very well, in my opinion. Sarah was very friendly and very good about answering all my questions. She liked that I do children’s programs at my current job, especially since Gyeongju is looking for elementary school teachers!

I will have to get my TEFL/TESOL certification, though. I had been looking at an online course originally, but Sarah told me that I need to have a few in-class hours. Hm. We’ll figure this out later.

Right now, I just have to fill out the EPIK application and get two letters of recommendation. All in all, I’m feeling pretty good!

Where?

I’ve been doing tons of research on where I would like to be if I end up going abroad. While I would love to live in Japan, South Korea is seeming like the better option at this point. EPIK, for example, reimburses your entrance fee, takes care of your rent, provides you with a settlement allowance, takes care of 50% of your health insurance, and offers 18 paid vacation days. All in addition to your monthly salary. To me, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Now, picking a city or province.

I have pretty much eliminated Seoul and Busan from my choices. I want to be somewhere urban, but I don’t think I want to be in such a metropolitan city.

Things that are important to me include that I am placed in an urban area with adequate public transportation, there are lots of cultural opportunities at my fingertips (read as museums. Lots of museums), and I am located near some sort of natural setting (beach or mountains being my preferences). I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but maybe it is.

So here is what I’ve come up with so far:

1. Jeju Island

– Considered the “Hawaii of Korea.” It’s an island, so there are lots of natural formations, like mountains and craters. Jeju is home to the Manjanggul Lava-tube, which houses the largest known lava column in the world. There’s also a teddy bear museum and a green tea museum.

2. Gyeongju (in Gyeongbuk Province)

– Known as “the museum without walls.” I like the sound of that already. This city apparently has “more tombs, temples, rock carvings, pagodas, Buddhist statuary and palace ruins than any other place in South Korea” (www.lonelyplanet.com). The Gyeongju National Museum is also considered one of the best in all of South Korea.

3. Ulsan (in Gyeongsang Province)

– Home to the world’s largest shipyard and the world’s largest automotive assembly plant (Hyundai). Ulsan has beautiful beaches as well as seven tall mountains. There’s also a traditional earthward village (Onggi) and a whale museum!

4. Changwon (in Gyeongnam Province)

– So many beaches and parks. There’s a musical fountain and Yongji Lake, “Cherry Blosson Street” (which blooms in April), Seongju Temple (which is over 1,000 years old), and the Gyeongnam Art Museum.