Tag Archives: South Korea

Top 10 Korean Sports Rules

2 Jun

1. BYOB always: the nearest g25 will always be your friend as will the lacks or lack of drinking laws in Korea. No trip the the World Cup Stadium in Seoul is complete with out a trip to the Home Plus next door. I’ve seen people walk in with full cases of soju and a large Costco style pizza.

2. Sing and dance: if anything it will improve your Korean a little and believe it or not soju will help with your intonation- really!

3. Be loud and proud: wearing your teams colors- hell even knowing your teams colors is a step in the right direction

4. Be consistent: I’m not saying got to every game and follow the them out of town but make an effort. If your seats are decent trying sitting there every game – you’ll make some friends along way.

5. Don’t be “that” waygookin: Yes Korea has a big drinking culture but that’s just it! It’s a part of the culture, so you showing up at the stadium. Losing your cookies or picking a fight before you get to the game is not the way to go. Use common sense

6. Don’t just pick a team- Pick a player: Know a little about him that way when they do something half decent you can sound like a real fan and impress neighbors. Nothing brings people together like trash talking.

7. Mark your territory : You will find this cushiony picnic blanket at your nearest convenient store or Daiso. These blankets (sorry I I feel this goes against every American sports habit but people won’t mind. Just grab some friends, food/drinks, lay that sucker out and enjoy the game.

8. Get social: Like everything thing else is Korea sporting events are social events, but I feel thats pretty universal. Keeping with tradition, invite everyone you know. In  Korea it’s the more the merrier. Sharing your fried chicken and beer will always make you friends.

9. Know your haters: Rivalries rule sports- hell it’s what makes watching exciting. Get to know your team and the teams that hate them.

10. Most importantly know the game: or at least have a vague idea of the game.  in Korea is relative easily because we’ve all grown up with at least the basic rules of baseball and soccer. When I went to Oz it took a little more to learn the rule of Ozzie Rules but hey that’s why your here to learn about things, gain knowledge know when to cry in your beer and when jump up and down wildly with the stranger next to you.

ESL Part 3: Visa Application

11 Sep

Once you receive your issuance number your ready for your application.

  1. Visa Application (and sometimes Interview)

I foolishly thought because I received my issuance number I was all set and my plane ticket was on the way, I was unfortunately mistaken. Your issuance letter is what you need to apply, and believe it or not just because you receive you issuance letter does not mean your guranteed to receive an E-2 visa. It’s all part of the application (which is conveniently linked below).


After filling out the application and attaching a passport sized photo, you will want to run it down to the near South Korea Consulate or pop it in the mail addressed to the Consulate ASAP- do not walk-RUN! TIME IS TICKING AWAY! Below is a link to the current consulates in the U.S (as of 9/10/11).


You may also need to interview and or bring a copy of your transcripts. I personally didn’t not need to to either, but its best to be prepared.  I’ve heard the interviews can go from a few minutes to 30 minutes and can cover the obvious, “why do you want to go to Korea?”, to “what is your teaching experience?” and even “do you enjoy taking drugs?”.

On Tuesday I dropped off my application in person to the lovely ladies at the Korean Consulate in Seattle with my $45 (remember cash or money order only).  I waited about 3 days and picked it up this past Friday. After you’ve gotten over the shock of seeing your visa and holding it in your hot little hands, its best to letting you school/recruiter know your visa number ASAP. I received my travel itinerary over the weekend. Because I left things so late I only have about 2 weeks till I leave, I’ve found most people have between 4 to 8 weeks. So now its time to get some farewell drinks in before you head off.

P.S. Learn Korean!

Now that the hard parts are over its time to try to learning as much as you can because no one like being the a**hole who can’t even say “hello” or “thank you”. With a quick trip to iTunes you can find plenty of FREE ESL podcasts and lessons. Most with come with links to websites where they want you to pay  for more lessons. That being said it’s still cheaper than Rosetta Stone. Since I’m a cheap-skate I opted for KoreanClass101.com, the website is great and the dialogue shows up on my iTouch while I’m listening. So far I can say:

Hello: Ahn-nyung-ha-se-yo

Thank you: Kam-sam-nida

Korean BBQ: Bul-go-gi

Delicious: Mas-is-seo

It’s a work in progress…

Packing List for Korea

6 Sep

(provided by a well travelled totally awesome ESL teacher friend of mine – without her permission)

– sheets (I’d go full-sized, just in case you get lucky with your bed situation…the sheets here SUCK)
– feather bed pad (if you like a soft bed…if you like hard beds, then Korea is definitely the country for you)
– pillows
– towels (hard to find anything bigger than a hand towel here)
– robe
– shower loofa
– deodorant
– toothpaste
– lotion (it’s expensive here)
– tampons
– bras & underwear (sizes can be an issue here…as can quality)
– shampoo & conditioner (only if you’re brand-sensitive…I’m doing okay with what I have, but I do miss American brands)
– medicine (like ibuprofin, birth control, etc)
– favorite, non-perishable foods (mac & cheese, oatmeal, etc.)

ESL Part 2: Gathering the documents

4 Sep

After you’ve received your contract or even before you received it you can start getting your documents in order.

2. Rounding up the following documents:

  • Apostilled* Criminal Background Check certified by the FBI and apostilled by the State Department (Secretary of State). Your CBC is invalid after 6 months.
  • Apostilled*copy of your bachelors degree must be apostilled by your State Secretary. You should plan on bringing your original with you to Korea
  • A copy of your passport
  • Five passport sized photos
  • Signed contract with all pages
  • Self Medical Check (your recruiter will send you with your contract)
  • Two sealed copies of your Official Transcripts

It’s best to start as early as you can, even before you receive job offer. You will spend a lot of time waiting for your transcripts (3 weeks), your diploma copy must be apostilled by your State Secretary (4 weeks), and you all important Criminal Background Check will be  processed (6 weeks-8 weeks) and then apostilled by the State Department (3 weeks).

The Federal Criminal Background Check (CBC) is easy enough. I went down to the Seattle Police Department and had my finger prints done, took 5 mins then dropped in the mail with the cover letter provided by the FBI on their website (see the link below)


When you send your prints off be sure to included a self-addressed envelope with adequate postage. This process can take up to 8 weeks, mine took 6 weeks. After you receive your FBI certified CBC pop it in an another envelope and mail it off to the State Department, yes, all the way back to Washington. It will take about 3 weeks and around the same time you should also received your apostilled diploma copy from the State Secretary in Olympia, WA.

You have to keep an eye on the calendar because the CBC is invalid after 6 months. I waited 2 months after getting all my documents together to find a job. Now I’m 6 weeks shy of that 6 month mark.

ESL Part 1: Finding a Job

4 Sep

The next few posts will outline  the steps you need to follow in order to get your E-2 and start teaching.

1. Finding a job

  • Dave’s ESL Cafe (www.daveseslcafe.com), this site have forums, multiple job boards and even lesson plans. This where most people look first, however there are a lot of scams out there. The #1 rule I’ve learnt is you should never pay for recruiting services. I’ve had friends go to other countries and paid for the TESOL certificate and with that came a guranteed job- that is a different case.
  • It is also worth looking in to government sponsored programs like EPIK (Korea), JET (Japan), NET (Hong Kong), etc.
  • I found mine through http://www.goodenglish1st.net

In Korea there are three different types of employers for prospective ESL teachers: public schools (government run programs usually), private schools, and hagwons (private language institutes). When I was searching I didn’t find many private school programs, and if I wanted to work for a public school I needed to go thru EPIK, which only accepts teachers around September and February- it is also highly competitive and doesn’t seem to pay as much for a first time ESL teacher, how ever you do have the job security and more public holiday off than working for a hagwon. Most first time teachers work for a hagwon. In a hagwon there are typically two shifts- an AM and PM. My contract states I will be working from 2:30pm to 9:30pm Monday thru Friday. I get 10 paid vacation days and most public holidays off. The typical salary for a first time teacher is between 2.0 and 2.7- this is based on the lowest and highest I was personally offered, you will also usually get a private studio apartment- usually furnished (video to come).