EPIK Placement – GWANGJU!

This morning I woke up to see the e-mail I have been waiting to receive for what seems like an eternity.

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Gwangju was my preferred location so I could not be happier. Of course, I would be happy with any placement, as I believe each city and province has its own personality and charms.

Now comes the wait for the notice of appointment, contract, and visa application. Exciting stuff!

Ad astra per aspera,

– Jeffrey


The small details: Make the most of your EPIK application

Most of these suggestions are dependent upon your timing and personal preferences~

1. Apply directly

I say this even though I applied through KorVia consulting. The general rule is that recruiting agencies have a later application acceptance date (around April 1st) than applicants who apply directly. As an example, for Fall 2016 intake, direct applicants could submit their applications on February 1st, 2 whole months earlier than us recruiter applicants.

However, I HIGHLY recommend KorVia should you choose to use a recruiter!

2. Strategize your preferred location and be open to any location

forestCheck that box saying you are open to other locations if you cannot be placed in your preferred location! Being flexible is a huge deal.

Seoul, Busan, and Gyeonggi-do are generally viewed as the most competitive locations. If you have your heart set on a metropolitan area, you may be best served to go avoid listing Busan and Seoul, and instead, apply to a smaller metropolitan area such as Daegu, Ulsan, Daejeon, Sejong city or Gwangju.

In other words, choose a less competitive metropolitan area or else you may be placed in a place like rural Gangwon province (no hate on Gangwon, though. They have the Olympics coming up!). Rural areas have their own charms and you may find that you are best served in the countryside.

Of course, by all means, if you really want Seoul or Busan write it down. Continue reading

Apostilled Criminal Background Check – EPIK Fall 2016

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After receiving your cleared Identity History Summary Check from the FBI, you will need to have that document apostilled by the Department of State in Washington, D.C.

You have the option of using a channeler to expedite this process, or you can do it independently. I went with the independent option via mail  since I expedited my initial background check results and had time to go the normal route.

Documents you need to include in your package – Continue reading

Form 8802 Application – Residency Certification

Let me just start by saying that this topic is a HOT MESS. It may be because it is tax related that I automatically had a predetermined attitude that this would be a complicated form to complete, but the 16 page set of directions that go along with it seem to justify my confusion and frustration.

So after I passed my EPIK interview I received an email from my recruiter telling me that I need to apply for a residency certificate to avoid double taxation.
South Korean won Free IconThis is only applicable to teachers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States. Candidates from Canada and Ireland and those who resided in Korea for more than 2 years are NOT applicable. For those who cannot apply for this income tax exemption, your income tax (3.3%) will be deducted from your salary. By submitting your residency certificate to your school(employer) in Korea, you will prevent about at least  ₩800,000 (per year) of income tax in Korea per year being deducted. Continue reading

Say “김치”! EPIK Application “Passport Quality” Photo


“Applicants must attach a professional photo in the box provided. The photo should consist of the applicant’s head and shoulders. Make sure to smile and look friendly as this is going to be your school’s first impression.” – EPIK Fall 2016 Application Directions

I recommend taking your own photos to avoid paying too much and ending up with a photo that you are not happy with putting on your application.

What you will need –

  • List Free IconDigital Camera / Smartphone with camera
  • A white or off-white background (I used a school whiteboard)
  • Good lighting
  • A tripod or someone to take the picture. Now is not the time to test your selfie skills!
  • “Professional” attire (neck-ish down).
  • A smile 🙂

Continue reading

Expedited FBI Criminal Background Check: Accurate Biometrics

Anyone applying to EPIK knows about the dreaded “FBI Criminal Background Check”. No, most of us (I assume) do not have a criminal past, but because the process is notorious for being drawn out, sometimes delayed (looking at you government shutdown!), and adds more time to an already seemingly unbearably long line of “wait and see” necessities required to apply to EPIK.

In the words of Sweet Brown:

Ain’t Nobody got time for THAT!

Shipping truck Free IconSpeeding up this process IS possible. Of course I will say that with every part of this application process, a lot of what you choose to do depends on time and money. I personally wanted to have all of my documents in hand so that as soon as I passed my EPIK interview (knock on wood) I could send off my documents and be in the queue ASAP.

I did my research and discovered that the FBI has a list of “Approved Channelers”. These channelers operate so that they get your fingerprints, they send them to the FBI and the FBI sends the results to them in literally only days vs. the WEEKS (Months, possibly) it usually takes when you do it alone. Continue reading

EPIK Timeline – Fall 2016 (An ongoing saga!)

Here is the timeline of my EPIK application process 

Stage 1

  • July July 2, 2015 – Degree copy notarized
  • July 8, 2015 – Notarized degree copy apostille by KS Secretary of State
  • January 18 – Enrolled in Online TEFL program
  • January 20 – Fingerprinted at local police station
  • February 1 – EPIK begins accepting applications for Fall 2016 intake
  • February 2 – Photos uploaded and cropped via epassportphoto.com
  • February 11- Completed Online TEFL program
  • February 21 – Applied to KorVia Consulting
  • February 21~ish – Sent fingerprints to Accurate Biometrics for expedited FBI CRC
  • February 23 – KorVia skype interview scheduled with Jessie Kim (She is the BEST!)
  • February 25th – KorVia skype interview
  • February 26 – Fingerprint background check completed by FBI
  • March 14th – Submitted EPIK Application to KorVia for screening
  • March 17th – EPIK Application new portion added – changes made and approved by KorVia
  • March 22 – CRC Apostilled by US Department of State

    STAGE 2

  • April 1st – EPIK Application sent to EPIK HQ by Korvia
  • April 7 – Email from EPIK inviting me for a skype interview for April 11 (April 10th where I am!). Interview scheduled earlier than expected due to “Internal Procedures”.
  • April 10th – Ready for interview – testing webcam with recruiter when she tells me EPIK need to reschedule.
  • April 10th – Interview rescheduled for April 14th @ 9:20Am KST (April 13th for me)
  • April 13th – Interview with EPIK. Asked to revise lesson plan.
  • April 18th – Passed EPIK interview
  • April 19th – Submitted revised lesson plan and EPIK application to my recruiter for screening.
  • April 20th – Sent documents to Korea via UPS
  • April 25th – Documents arrived at KorVia office for screening.
  • April 25th – Documents Forwarded to EPIK HQ same day by KorVia.
  • April 25th – Mailed Tax Residency Certificate application to IRS
  • April 27th – Residency Certificate application arrives at Department of the Treasury
  • May 12th – Notified that my documents have passed EPIK HQ screening
  • May 19th – Received Tax Residency Certifications (Form 6166)
  • June 13 – EPIK announced that first batch of placements coming this week
  • June 14th – EPIK stops accepting applications for Fall 2016 intake

Stage 3

  • June 17 – Notified via KorVia of Placement with the Gwangju MOE
  • July 1 – Preliminary Orientation information released by EPIK coordinator on FB page
  • July 6 – NOA and Visa documents sent via DHL from KorVia
  • July 7 – NOA and Visa documents arrive
  • July 10 – Visa documents sent to Korean Consulate in Chicago 
  • July 13 – Visa documents arrive at Chicago consulate via USPS
  • July 21 – Started and completed online pre-orientation 

Passage of Time Free Icon

Ad astra per aspera,