Wednesday, June 27, 2012


It has been a few months since I have started my preparations for my adventure in Seoul. All the while I have been scouring the internet for others' experiences in preparing paperwork, obtaining a visa, packing, etc. While I have found some information, I feel like there were still many questions that remained unanswered, despite an enormous amount of Google searches.... Hopefully this blog can assist those future teachers of Asia in their preparations.

First I will tell you about where I am going. I will be teaching at a private school in Seoul, South Korea. It is a language school, and I will be a foreign English teacher. (Pardon me if my blog does contain some grammatical or spelling errors; yes, I can be anal about these things, but this is also a personal blog that I write on my spare time for FUN. So I may not be too picky as I type... bare with me.) I decided that before I settle into a career and family, I wanted an adventure (preferably one that can also pay the student loans stacking up...) So, I did a 60-hour TEFL certification (which I came to find out I did not really need...) and started applying at recruiting sites. I applied at several, but the one I ended up working with was the one who personally reached out to me to set up a time, and worked with my chaotic retail schedule. I worked with out of Canada. I have not had any complaints, but go with whichever recruiter floats your boat.

After an initial interview with some guy in Canada, who wanted to know basic things like Why teaching? Why Korea? etc, they confirmed my place with their agency. I did NOT pay for this service! If anyone tries to get you to pay them, DON'T DO IT! These recruiters make their money from the schools that we work for; do not pay them a dime! Anyway, after that interview, my primary contact was a Korean (I assume) who also spoke great English. I think of her as my middle-man. She basically found out what levels I wanted to teach, what type of school (public or private), my resume/qualifications, etc. Then she basically found school(s) that fit my criteria, and I fit theirs.

Once a suitable school was found, she emailed me some information on them. If the sample contract looked good to me, she would set up an over the phone interview with the school directly. (I accepted an interview from the first school she asked about - how was I to know the difference?!) The interview has been my ONLY direct contact with the school. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but it seems pretty normal when you work with a recruiter.

One other thing my contact did was put me in touch with another teacher currently at the school I was interviewing with. This was a HUGE help! There are many websites that "rate" schools and work experiences, but I have found that those are biased and only the very unhappy seek out the sites to vent to. So, after reading some unsettling claims on one website, I was able to email my contact at the school and talk candidly about my concerns. She definitely gave me a better perspective. I felt much better after speaking with her.

During my interview, the director of the school asked normal interview questions, some of which I had prepared a little bit for. I kept my resume in front of me (since I knew she was also looking at it) and referenced that. She asked a few questions that threw me off such as "What is the most important aspect of learning English?" and "What do you do to relieve stresses of daily life?" I had to think on my feet but it ended well. I felt very good about the interview!

Only 2 hours later, I received an email from my recruiter saying that the director liked me a lot and has decided to offer me a position. She sent a contract offer with all the details for me to look over. I only had about 2 full days to look it over and make a decision. The schools are usually in need of people year-round, and are trying to fill spots ASAP. I had no idea what I was looking for, so I signed and faxed my signature back. (Since this time, I found a website where veterans of teaching abroad will look over contracts for loop holes and pit falls that inexperienced teachers may fall victim to. It is here at "Dave's ESL Cafe." Thank goodness by the time I found it and uploaded my contract, no one found any major flaws!

In my next blog, I'll go into all the details of collecting paperwork! What a tedious business... Hope you're either very interested or have nothing else to do! ;)

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner