Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thinking Aloud: Teaching English Overseas

Location: Sri Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Hmm. In the process of applying for work (teaching English) overseas (South Korea), it appears we've run into a speed bump.

Background: we left the US at the end of October. Over the course of November we lived in Bali and attained our TESOL certification. Now we're laying low in Thailand and searching for work in South Korea, but Rebecca's conversation with a job recruiter unearthed some unanticipated information (seriously, certain authoritative websites direly need to update their content).

As of the beginning of 2010, third-party visa applications are forbidden for first-time teachers to private schools. Applicants for the E2 work visa must submit their requests from their home nations--we would have to return to the US to apply for our work visas. Personally, this fills me with dread: it was so difficult to get out of the States initially, if we return I'm 80% convinced we'll never leave again--the end of the Grand Adventure. (Rebecca thinks it might be possible to submit the application from Guam...)

We could apply for work in a public school with a third-party visa application. However, we wouldn't be able to start work until August (assuming we can find work), and we would have to start applying in March because South Korea is increasingly popular for English teachers. Soon it will be as hopeless as trying to teach in any major European city.

As of Sept. 2010, all teachers applying abroad are required to submit a notarized copy of their four-year degree, authenticated with an Apostille. I interpret this to mean that I can request a copy of my diploma ($20), write a letter saying this is my degree, sign it, and get my signature notarized (have to find a notary here in Thailand); or I can have my College Registrar append a letter affirming its veracity and request that be notarized as well. As for the Apostille, I would have to submit the degree to the Secretary of State in Minnesota, inform him it's intended for South Korea, and pay five bucks for the Apostille stamp.

Official transcripts must arrive in stamped, sealed envelopes, but this is nothing new. I was troubled with having them sent to my apartment (when I had one, in Minneapolis) because I thought that would compromise the transcripts' validity, but apparently they are sealed and stamped inside another envelope, so they're good. I have two copies of my transcripts from both ARCC and SCSU, so I should be safe.

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