links i find vital

where it all started for me! (btw it starts off with like a min of music)
a seoul radio station interview about bssk
a bunch of interviews with black expats in soko
find family on facebook: Brothas&Sistas of South Korea

Monday, November 20, 2006

paperwork prep

updated "paperwork prep" post from august 2010 here:
thank you to eslcafe user ttompatz for this lesson learned: get these things in order before you leave for Korea. or actually, start once you decide to teach abroad because you will need them for your employer wherever you end up. seriously, get started, b/c these can take a long time to get:

  • sealed official transcripts
  • passport
  • xerox copies of the photo page of the passport
    extra passport sized photos
  • your degree, or a copy of it certified by the Korean Embassy
  • a criminal background check
  • get a medical exam w/tests for stds.
Sealed official transcripts can be obtained from your college, i ordered mine online and got like 10 sent to me from my school for $15. i got them near a month later, all in their own individual envelope.

Make sure you have a recent passport; they are valid for 10 years i think? make sure it will not expire while you are abroad. It takes about 6 weeks if you renew by mail, but you can pay extra for expedited service. Either way, you can go online and check the status of the renewal here. it cost me $60 to renew my passport and i did it by mail.

You can send your original degree to your employer, but a certified copy of it is just as good, so long as it is certified by the Korean Embassy. so get another degree issued by your school, or copy yours and get it certified. i opted for a reissue from my school, it cost me $12.00 & took 8 weeks to come in the mail.
contact your nearest consulate for specifics on how to get your degree certified. Specifics vary from consulate/country to consulate/country - ie: the process in the UK is different from the US is different from Canada. find your nearest korean embassy by clicking here or here.

you also need a criminal record check.
bring plenty of extra id-sized or passport sized photos. get one set from an actual shop, and then take it to rite aid or somewhere and use their machine to copy it. you'll need two for your passport, two for your arc card, two for your medical exam, and jeez who know what else. bring lots, it'll save you the hassle of trying to figure out the photo machines in korea, which are of course all written in korean... do i press the green button? red button? didnt have to deal with it, lucky prepared me.

do bring extra copies of everything for yourself. if you dont want to stay at your school, you can try to get a letter of release to free you up to find a new job, but help yourself and be prepared to dip out by having all the above paperwork ready for the new school. it's a new job, so they will need everything fresh: your transcript, your degree, etc. Don't count on the old school being nice and giving everything back to you; it's best to just be over-prepared and have copies of your own. the new school will help you with the technicalities and will pay for the visa run, and hooray you'll have a different (hopefully better) job. many new teachers just leave korea after a few days/weeks/months like this guy. a shame. maybe if he'd had copies of all his stuff, he'd have looked into finding a different job instead of pulling a runner.

lastly, bring CASH (and a Visa +/ Mastercard for back up if you've got them, no where takes Discover). are you sure as to what your first payday will be when youre here, and how much it will be? have lots of money on hand, just in case. as for amount, i've read various suggestions from 600-3,000 USD. (update: i brought $1200USD and went through it like water, esp b/c of cdi, and having to buy everything in my home fresh. seriously, bring as much as you can. and bring CASH. ive yet to meet a person who had no problems w/using their credit cards/atm cards when they first got here.) if you dont have money, borrow from friends or family (dont be a jerk and not pay back, of course), or consider taking a cash advance on a credit card, if you have one, and then just pay it off right away with your first one or two paychecks.

1 comment:

David said...


It's mrd from ESL Cafe: I like your blog!

Mine is:

I leave for Korea with my girlfriend this Friday morning to move to Seoul. You sound like a cool chika! We should party!