Jobs. We all need them. Those that don't have them, want them. And those that do have them, are usually looking for a better one. As my boss's retirement approached, I was constantly getting asked what my new job would be. Even when I said my plan was to teach English overseas, I would regularly be asked specifics about a job I hadn't even started to look for. For months, a guaranteed question in every conversation I would have with my mom was "did you find a job yet?"
I had heard and read a lot about the great demand for English teachers overseas, so I wasn't really worried about finding something in the end. I felt it better to take my time to prepare, in what I felt to be the "proper way". I wanted to get my TEFL teaching certificate first, then sort out exactly where I wanted to go, and then I would worry about finding an actual job. The first two steps took a bit of time (see previous post for my story on those), but finally in November I was ready to tackle step three. I've previously gone into why I've decided to do this, but now let's talk about the how.
Over the summer, I met many people who shared their previous experiences of teaching in Korea with me. All of them had been good. When I asked them how they found their jobs, most just told me that they had looked online (places like Dave's ESL cafe and the like). I had looked on the job board on that site and was completely overwhelmed. I didn't know what offers were considered good, which were bad, which came from reliable companies, or which from the shady places you read about on the net. During one of these conversations in September, I was speaking with a friend who had previously gone over to teach in Korea and he recommended Canadian Connections to me. They are a recruitment agency based out of Toronto that deal exclusively with teachers going to Korea (and not just from Canada, so don't let the name fool you!) I read over their website and looked at some of their online videos. Seemed like an ideal way to really kick-start this adventure. I thought with their experience and contacts, they would help make the job search and everything leading up to actually starting the job much easier to manage, and hopefully much less stressful. Turns out, I was right!
I sent them my ESL teaching-geared CV (it's meant to be a different layout that your standard CV), within a week, I had had an interview with one of their recruiters and had 4 job offers by the following week! I considered them all carefully, since they each had their own pros and cons. To live in Seoul but work in a private institute or live outside the big city but work in a public school? Ultimately, I made my decision to be at a public school just outside of the capital in Incheon - Korea's 3rd largest city, home of the country's major airport. Being 3 times the size of Ottawa, and only a 1 hour subway ride from Seoul, I thought this was the best option for me. So, as of April 21st, that will be my new home for a year!
For those considering teaching in Korea, I do recommend Canadian Connections. They've been great to work with and have been very patient with all of my questions. I also recommend taking a chill pill while going through this process. It can take a while for the paperwork to go through and no matter how organized you are, there's only so much you (and the recruiters) can do. Right now, I'm playing the waiting game for my contract to come in. I had sent all of my documents in back in December hoping to speed up the process, but so far, no such luck. I just hope it comes in soon! Once it does, I have to go to the Korean Embassy to apply (and get) a work visa. All this before I leave in just over a month!
It's so hard to believe that I have such a short time left at home! I will miss my friends, family and Fabian - indeed my whole life here in Ottawa - so much while I am gone! I hope to spend as much time with them as I can before I leave! They say time flies when you're having fun. This one time, though, I hope that expression doesn't hold true!