In Korea, the internet might be high-speed, but important information often travels slowly (at least in the work world of a Native English teacher); and the EPIK (English Program in Korea) application process is no exception. Maybe it’s their roundabout way for grooming EPIK teachers to have the patience and flexibility that’ll be required of them once they’re on the job. Or maybe it’s just the usual wheels of bureaucracy turning slowly. Very, very slowly. Either way, once you make it through the process and are actually teaching, you’ll have developed enough patience to make Mother Teresa look like a whiny little brat.
Below is a timeline of how the process worked out for me as I applied for the Fall 2014 intake. It might not be the exact same for everyone, but it should definitely give you a rough idea of what to expect if you decide to apply in the future.
Late January 2014 – Ordered Criminal Background Check (CBC), Sealed Transcripts, Asked for Letters of Rec
February 2014 – Obtained notarized copy of bachelor’s diploma
Early March 2014 – Received CBC. Sent CBC and diploma to get apostilled.
Late March 2014 – Completed EPIK application (submitted at earliest possible date: April 1, 2014).
Early April 2014 – Skype interview with EPIK and email stating I passed (received a few days after interview)
Mid April 2014 – Hard copy of documents and application sent to South korea
May 2014 – Waiting.
Most of June 2014 – Still waiting.
Late June 2014 – Email stating I’ve been “accepted” into the EPIK program!
Early July 2014 – Anxiously waiting some more.
Mid July 2014 – Email detailing what city I’ll be working/living in: Ulsan!
Late July 2014 – Notification of Appointment/Contract, received; and E-2 Visa application documents sent in for processing
Early August 2014 – E-2 received from Korea consulate; NOA/Contract signed and sent back to Korea
August 17, 2014 – Depart for EPIK Orientation (August 18 – 26, 2014)!
At times it will seem like the hoops you have to jump through are endless, and the hurry-up-and-wait game will get old. When it gets to that point, just remember that it’s all worth it. And try your best to understand that the transition of living and working in another country is much more complicated in reality than it is in your adventure-seeking head (I struggled to wrap my head around that concept all the way up to the very end). Also, bear in mind that the Korean government is evaluating over 2,000 applications from people all over the world in this process. So of course it’s going to take awhile. But once you’re walking off the plane in Seoul, you’ll be glad you didn’t give up.
Got a question about the EPIK application process?
I’m happy to answer it if you leave it below in the comments section!