Saturday, September 17, 2011

How we got here!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011
Today we are finally leaving for our Korean adventure!  It took quite a bit of time to get to this point!  In fact, we started the application process last year, but had to abort after being told we were not guaranteed to live together because we were not married.  A year later and happily married, we are all set to go.  This time around, the process started back in March, which seems so long ago already.  

We started by contacting Korvia consulting as they had been highly recommend to us by Simon and Martina of, and also Ryan’s friends.  After reading a bunch of reviews, we decided to ask Ann Park (of Korvia) to become our recruiter.  That was one of the best decisions we could have made.  Ann was there every step of the way.  We started by applying to the EPIK and SMOE programs first to gain some interviewing experience and since they open earlier.  Then we decided to go with the GEPIK program for various reasons.  (one of them being that we were intimidated by the size of Seoul).  From memory, this is what the GEPIK application process looked like for us:

1.  Fill an online application with Korvia (we also contacted Ann Park directly with our application)
2.  Get to know your recruiter (phone interview, email correspondence)
3.  Fill out a GEPIK application form
4.  Get your University degrees and Police check notarized by the Korean consulate (Now this was an adventure all to itself)
5.  You will also need some reference letters from employers or university professors.
6.  Prepare an introduction video (post on YouTube)
7.  Skype or phone interview with a potential school
8.  Once accepted, send all documents to recruiter to obtain immigration approval and VISA issuance number
9.  Visit the Korean consulate in Toronto to apply for E-2 VISA (takes up to 10 days)
10.  Pick up VISA, book flights, fly to Korea and start teaching! (here we are)

a. Have many university transcripts prepared and sent to you by your university.  Make sure they are sealed and have a stamp or signature.  You will need sealed transcripts for almost every step of the application process.  We needed 6 or 7 transcripts each.  Don’t wait until the last minute to do this.  
b.  Be prepared to dish out a lot of cash.  Everything costs money and you will have to send most documents by priority post or FedEx
c.  Make sure you read the document requirements before you send them to the consulate or  else they will send them back to you at your own cost.  To see the requirements and cost at the Toronto consulate, go to this link:
c.  Your recruiter will do most of the work for you.  We were going through our wedding preparations, end of year teacher stuff and moving while applying.  Ann made it pretty easy for us and told us what to do throughout the whole process.  However, make sure that you get your documents ready (notarized by the consulate) to be sent to your recruiter as soon as she finds you a job.
d.  Everything is much easier if you do it in person.  So if you can go the consulate directly, DO IT.  It will save you a lot of grief.
e.  Do not book your flight until your VISA has been approved.  We had a few snags before finally being approved, which could have delayed our departure.

If you have any questions about the application process or anything else about getting to Korea, just pop me a quick email at
If I remember correctly, the GEPIK application process starts on the 1st of June for the fall term hiring blitz.  Jen had her job offer by mid-June.  I had my first offer in early July but it didn’t work out.  Budget cuts in Korea took my job before I ever started.  I got my second offer on July 28th, while we were on our honeymoon.
The last few weeks have been absolutely crazy.  We came back from our honeymoon on August 5th, at which point we went directly to the Korean Consulate in Toronto  to apply for our VISAs.  My start date was slated for August 22nd so we had to hurry!  After an extended honeymoon in Toronto, Hamilton and the Niagara region, we drove back up north to get the final preparations in order while we waited for our VISA approval.  It took 7 business days and many extra documents for our VISAs to finally get approved; we almost gave up a few times during this last push.
On Wednesday, August 17, we were all set.  We booked our flights, said goodbye to family and friends in Smooth Rock and drove to Sudbury to say goodbye to family there, then took a red-eye bus to Toronto.  On Thursday, we picked up our VISAs at the consulate and checked in to our hotel near Pearson Airport (Hampton Inn & Suites - highly recommended... good bang for your buck).
At 8:00am this morning, August 19th, we took the shuttle to the airport, checked in to our flight, passed through security and waited for Korean Air flight 74 to depart for South Korea. At the end of our 13 hour and 30 minute flight, we will have lost a day, lost some sleep, and stepped out into a new country. Let the adventure begin!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thank you so much for this post! I'm thinking about applying to Korvia Consulting also. And I have a few questions: Should I have all my paperwork complete before even applying to Korvia? How was the interview process?