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Please give me some advice..
« on: April 01, 2013, 11:21:37 pm »
I'll try to make this post as short as possible.

Basically, I worked with EPIK for two years and, this year, ventured into the world of hagwons.  My EPIK experience was, for the most part, not positive.  The main co-teacher I worked with was a bit of a control freak and had unpredictable behaviour - the less said about her the better.  In any case, I was also frustrated with the poor management at the schools in question when it came to my role.  I didn't feel anything like even a well-used native speaker. The usual complaints about EPIK, really - or so I've read on here and other boards. 

So,  about seven months ago, I moved north from Gyeongnam and came to the suburbs of Seoul for a hagwon job.  Also, a relationship I started back then has become one where I intend to get married to a Korean citizen next year (we are planning on doing the legal paperwork this year, though).  I'll come back to that later.

Let me start with the hagwon I work at now.  There are a couple of things that suggest it's worth thinking about staying.  The big one is that I don't work on Wednesdays -- in other words,  I only work four days per week.  This is a Kindy/Elem set-up, so no extra weekend work usually.  They have asked me to do some extra work for a yearly festival and outdoor promotional event, but those weren't much of a burden.  The contract is also not bad - it's a standard contract from what I've read, but it's honoured in a timely fashion and the provided housing is great.   No problems getting insurance or pension paid.

Now,  here are the downsides -- I don't at all enjoy teaching the Kindy students at the morning location.  I can put on an act and seem like I enjoy it, but it feels like I'm a big clown most of the time and I hate the feeling that this is mostly just entertainment for them.  The hagwon I work at for teaching elementary school students in the afternoon isn't much better - my classroom doesn't even have a whiteboard or blackboard to use, while the other teachers in the place get the better classrooms with computers and books and whiteboards.  I also have no material to use.  Everything has to be made from scratch or taken from the Internet.  I barely have room enough to move around in there with just eight or nine students, but it's more unbearable when my lessons are limited to things that one can do with paper, pencil, and flashcards.  I also have major issues with the directors of the place - they really have no business advertising their hagwons as English academies given their lack of background as teachers or educators of any order.  I feel like I'm there so I can help them sell the school to parents who think their children are getting quality small group time with a native speaker.  They don't care one whit about my actual classes.

If I were not getting married here, I would be happy to finish my time out and leave for another country once the contract is up.  But, it isn't that easy.  I need to stay here for one more year after this September - at that point, after the wedding takes place, we'd both like to get out of South Korea for the time being. 

I see a few options and would like to run them by anybody who might offer some advice.

A)  I stay with the job I have now.  I don't like it, but I know what I can expect.  It also is easy to deal with regarding paperwork and only four days per week is a great bonus.  They might be willing to talk about a release a week or two early for the wedding, but I don't know.  If they don't, life would be more complicated.

B)  I stay on the E2 visa and just get a new job with fresh docs.  That assumes the next job will be better, but that isn't certain.   Because of the marriage, I would need to quit a little early in the summer of 2014 - a public school would seem more logical because it's easier to give notice, but jobs like that in the Seoul area are increasingly hard to find.  Would hagwons be willing to negotiate about it?

C)  I switch over to a F-6 visa, rent my own place, and work part-time jobs until the time I leave.  Requires more time and a lot more paperwork, but seems to open my options a lot in terms of jobs and locations to work once done.  Not sure if getting the visa is assured, though. 

Thoughts?

(Apologies for the long post.)






  • cracker
  • Veteran

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    • April 04, 2011, 12:20:11 pm
    • Gangwon-do
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 07:22:18 am »

You know the process for getting a F-6 VISA right?

- you (as a couple) need to prove that you have over 30/40 million? won - it might be more I forget!

- you also need to prove you have means to support yourself - they like it if you have over 6 months on your current VISA  left.

- Evidence of having sent your translated Korean wedding cert off to your home country.

And a few other things - it isn't that difficult, but there are a few 'hoops' to jump through!

Also, if/once you get a F-6 VISA I don't think (legally) you can just do any jobs you want to? - Someone with more experience should be able to tell you about that.....



  • Harpoinseoul
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    • March 23, 2011, 06:49:03 pm
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Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 07:58:15 am »
I am not so certain if the above criteria is acurate. I have an F-2 and will be looking at getting an F-5 or F-6 in the near future. Do some research about what is actually required.
Here are a few things to consider if advice from someone who has been married to a Korean for 13 years:

Dream harder. If your fiancee has concerned parents, they may not want her mattying a guy who works at a hogwon. (No offense!) Where do you want to be 5 years down the road? Are you hoping to continue with education? Get more training? Fill some nieche? They will want to see that you have some plan that will - "take care of their daughter".

What kind of work do you enjoy doing? Getting an F Visa will free you up to a number of possibilities. I'm going to jump out on a limb and say that you are more likely an N (iNtuitive) in MBTI. We tend to prefer working with older people. (E.g. High school, university and adults.) You might want to focus on tailoring your future to these context. Might doing private lessons be a good thing for you? Do you want to be your own boss? Do you prefer to have more financial security? How self-motivated are you? (These are sort of "Life Coaching" kind of questions. :-)

You might want to look at your own Korean language fluency. (Is it something you want to work hard on improving, or not?) Is there a job in there that your unique skills set could carve up for yourself? How long do you both want to live in Korea? Is she really willing to leave her family behind and go abroad? Tough questions, I know. Tell us more!

I wish you the best!
Skype Video Counselor in Coquitlam, BC

Make the best use of what's in your power; take the rest as it comes.

The thing that upsets people is not what happens; but what they think it means.

Epictetus (55 - 135 C.E.)

Inter-faith spiritual counselor
http://www.harpo.ca


Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 08:53:35 am »
Harpo:

I have met her parents and they know.  I plan to study for an advanced degree in Australia or New Zealand after we get married; they know all about this.  I also agree that I like working with older people a lot more.  It is why I want to get another degree in the first place, along with trying to be a better teacher in general.

I passed the beginner level TOPIK with flying colors and am studying now for the intermediate level test.  A bit harder, but I plan to take it next year before I leave South Korea.  I do want to be fluent for her and her family.  It is one of my top priorities.  Right now, I would say I am conversational about life needs and basic topics.  Deeper level conversations about politics or philosophy aren't possible at the moment.  I hope that will change in a year or two.

I like the idea of private lessons, but it seems complicated setting up your own schedules and getting everything in order with travel and time.  What do you do with your F visa, if I may ask?  How have you adjusted to your life here in Korea for a long term period?

We do want to come back later, but she loves to travel and we both want to live and work in a variety of countries before settling down here.  I don't really like the USA as a place to stay in for the long term.  She wouldn't either.  Her parents know about what we are going to do with living abroad and have stated no objections to it.





Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 08:56:00 am »
I vote A. Only 4 days a week? It seems your only serious complaint is the fact that your classroom is small and you don't have a white board or a computer. Maybe you can try and ask for a new classroom for your second contract. 

Why risk going into a worse situation when your current one isn't so bad.


  • Crowded
  • Adventurer

    • 54

    • September 26, 2012, 12:10:48 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 09:23:09 am »
You do not need to prove you have 30-40 million won. I know this for a fact because I got my F-6 about 2 years ago.

You also do not need to prove you've sent your translated marriage certificate to your home country. Seriously. Where are you getting this information?

If you get married in Korea, you are married in Korea. Nowhere else. If you want to be married in your home country, you have to get married in your home country.

Some things I know you do need however, are your Korean partner's family tree documents which we forgot the first time I tried to get my visa. You will also need them every time you renew the visa too.

PS. Option 3 is not a good idea from my limited experience. I tried to do the oddjob English teacher gig awhile back here in Gyeongnam. It had too many financial ups and downs to be anywhere near stable.


Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 09:53:29 am »
You do not need to prove you have 30-40 million won. I know this for a fact because I got my F-6 about 2 years ago.

A fact huh? Because immigration policies never change, right? When it comes to Korean immigration, two year old information might as well be a thousand years old.

From what I'm aware of, you need 30 million won in the bank OR you need to have a job (employment certificate). But it's immigration so enforcement will always vary.


  • popeye2u
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    • 877

    • April 05, 2011, 09:45:37 am
    • S of N. Korea
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 09:54:04 am »
The best advice to give you is get out of the teaching profession.  It doesn't sound like a job that is suited for you.  Think well and hard about what you like and what you want to do with your life.  I teach adults and they love games as much as the children I teach!  Just know, teaching isn't for everybody. 
Illegally Screwed By Employers in Korea:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1628928127347749/


  • country09
  • Expert Waygook

    • 653

    • January 05, 2011, 10:04:21 am
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2013, 09:57:26 am »
As a F-6 visa holder I agree that you do not need to prove that you have 30-40 million won.
In terms of translating your marriage certificate, that will need to be done later when you plan to move back to your home country. It is purely for your home country's records and has nothing to do with getting an F-6.

However you will need to provide documentation from your embassy that states you are not married currently and some other questions. It is very easy and you just need to go to the consulate in Korea. This is to get your marriage certificate which is then used to get your F-6

I am not sure about needing a certain amount of time on your E-2 in order to get your F-6. I had over 7 months left on mine but it did take them almost 3 months for them to process my F-6. This seems a little questionable since you are being sponsored by your Korean partner but it would be worth calling immigration to find out for sure

As for jobs I would not recommend going solo until you can build up a network. Staying in your hagwon may work out for you in this way. Try to build up relationships with these kids and their parents. Use your Korean to speak with them about their child. Overtime build phone records of your students then in a couple years advertise that you are looking to do private lessons.

Hope everything works out for you. Also once you get your F visa check out AFEK. They have a great network of support for people looking to build a life in korea.


  • cracker
  • Veteran

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    • April 04, 2011, 12:20:11 pm
    • Gangwon-do
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2013, 09:58:46 am »
Quote
You do not need to prove you have 30-40 million won. I know this for a fact because I got my F-6 about 2 years ago.

You also do not need to prove you've sent your translated marriage certificate to your home country. Seriously. Where are you getting this information?

If you get married in Korea, you are married in Korea. Nowhere else. If you want to be married in your home country, you have to get married in your home country.

Errrm - have you seen/checked the requirements in the LAST TWO YEARS since you got married?

The 30-40 million won thingy - can be cash in a savings account/property investment you do have to show that you (between the two of you) have X amount.....

Immi asks for a copy of your wedding certificate from your HOME COUNTRY - if you get married in Korea, you have to prove that you've sent your (translated cert) off to your home country. They ask for an original - but if you go to your home Embassy in Seoul, you can get an 'official document' that proves that you have sent off the K form to your countries relevant office (GRO for UK).... - WHY? I guess to make sure 'we evil foreigners' aren’t flooding to K-land with wives/husbands in your own countries - I think this is maybe due to problems with some K/Philippine 'sham marriages...'

Also – technically the F-6 VISAS are only for 1 year terms now (have to renew every year) – again I think down to Philippine brides ‘going missing’ – BUT this is at the discretion of local immi officials, so if they or nice, or if you impress them they might grant 2-3 year F6 VISAS…….


some more info here:
http://hiexpat.com/korea-blog/getting-my-f6-visa-the-end-3971.html (not my blog)

Quote
There was some discussion on why we didn’t have an American wedding certificate but a translated Korean wedding certificate. It wasn’t an issue, just some talk. The point of the English translation is really beyond me, since they can’t read it anyway, but whatever.

^ This confused me too - they wanted my English marriage cert - but I was married in K.

The way to get around this, is to have your K wedding cert translated into English, and (if your Embassy does this service), give it to them - to file in your home country.

They issue an 'official document' saying they've sent it to your home country.

This will act in place of your 'US/UK/AUS wedding certificate!'  :lipsrsealed: - why they can't just MAKE IT CLEAR I really don't know!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote
Yes, there is no US marriage certificate for us. The Korean marriage certificate translated notarized and then authenticated by the US embassy was suitable. However, the US embassy does not connect with the American government to let them know you've been married. They just say that the certificate is real and valid. It's fine for here, but later we'll still have to register our marriage in my home when the time comes. I reported it on my taxes this year, just so later there will be proof somewhere that I reported it back home.

http://hiexpat.com/korea-blog/getting-my-f6-visa-the-end-3971.html

^ re-reading this blog (comments section) it seems that US ppl don't have to send their wedding cert to the US as they don't do this service (unlike UK) -

The best way to find out if have your wife call the SPECIFIC immi office you will deal with - get the name of the SPECIFIC person that she speaks to.

We did this and they emailed us an EXACT check list of the things we needed to provide......





« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 10:20:30 am by cracker »


  • cracker
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    • 233

    • April 04, 2011, 12:20:11 pm
    • Gangwon-do
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2013, 10:28:59 am »
To people reading this thread in days/months years to come.

Moral of the story is - the rules (can be/ARE) slightly different depending upon your nationality.

Also rules change all the time and these changes are not always updated into the relevent websites!

Also mix in with this the fact that each immi centre/manager can add their own weight into this equasion.

Ask two people the same question and you might get a different answer/ruling!

SOOOOOO - always have a fluent Korean speaker, check the latest facts from the specific office (call) AND write down the name of the person you speak to!

Email is good too - then you have a trail of communication!

One more thing - the new photo you must provide MUST be a black and white passport photo now, not a colour one.

Another change :)


  • country09
  • Expert Waygook

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    • January 05, 2011, 10:04:21 am
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2013, 10:45:01 am »
Agree with Cracker. Sometimes I forget that we are all from different countries and that is one of the main reason you will find such major discrepancies with each individual. That said if you are looking to get a F-6 or any F visa I would hope you would have done the research through immigration first before comming here for answers.

Anyways lets get this thread back on track for OP.


Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2013, 10:56:56 am »
The best advice to give you is get out of the teaching profession.  It doesn't sound like a job that is suited for you.  Think well and hard about what you like and what you want to do with your life.  I teach adults and they love games as much as the children I teach!  Just know, teaching isn't for everybody.

This advice does not help her current situation. She has already stated that she needs to stay in Korea for another year and a half. It'll be pretty difficult to "get out of the profession" at this time. Also, I'm sure the OP would have stated that she didn't like teaching if she wanted to continue into a different career. She said she wanted to try adults. Teaching 5 year olds and teaching adults are completely different.

The OP seems to be expressing that she she doesn't feel satisfied with her current position, because she does nothing but sing and dance. Some people might feel satisfied with their life acting like a clown everyday, but I know I wouldn't. That doesn't mean teaching isn't for her, it means she needs to find something that fits her better.


Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2013, 12:42:21 pm »
The best advice to give you is get out of the teaching profession.  It doesn't sound like a job that is suited for you.  Think well and hard about what you like and what you want to do with your life.  I teach adults and they love games as much as the children I teach!  Just know, teaching isn't for everybody.

This advice does not help her current situation. She has already stated that she needs to stay in Korea for another year and a half. It'll be pretty difficult to "get out of the profession" at this time. Also, I'm sure the OP would have stated that she didn't like teaching if she wanted to continue into a different career. She said she wanted to try adults. Teaching 5 year olds and teaching adults are completely different.

The OP seems to be expressing that she she doesn't feel satisfied with her current position, because she does nothing but sing and dance. Some people might feel satisfied with their life acting like a clown everyday, but I know I wouldn't. That doesn't mean teaching isn't for her, it means she needs to find something that fits her better.

Quick reply on break time.

First, popeye:  I like to teach.  It sure as hell beats all the pointless office and part-time jobs I had back in the USA.  I'm not sure where you would get the idea I need another profession to move on to.  I'm trying to get an advanced degree in teaching English in a year or two so I can find better positions in the field and be able to travel more in the future.  I started my interest in ESL/EFL back in the States where I helped Chinese immigrants in Boston learn English as a volunteer when I had spare time (5-8 hours per week).  It was the best (non-paid) experience I ever had.  If I had more work like that, I would feel incredibly happy and fulfilled.

Cutieturtle got the gist of the problem.  It has nothing to do with contractual obligations, or teaching in general - it's more that I don't work well with young 5-7 year old students, even though I can play the part for a hagwon.  I have always enjoyed the elementary school students a lot more.  At least I can communicate with them and teach them more than just the alphabet, fruits, and so on.  As a result, I don't feel like the right person for the job. 

Even so, given what people have posted, it may make the best sense to stay on for another year and wait it out.  At least I know this place treats me well in terms of the benefits and that is what I need to live on for the next little bit of time.  Getting into another hagwon means a whole new six months of stress and job searching and worries about if anything will be stable at the beginning.  Also, most places I've looked at on the internet seem to have Kindy classes, so it looks to be unavoidable.

Sorry for the edits, but I would like to thank everyone who has contributed.  The F-visa might be best to put off until I have more long-term plans in Korea (at which point the F5 would make more sense, anyhow).



« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 12:48:49 pm by lsterneleftthebuilding »


  • Harpoinseoul
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    • March 23, 2011, 06:49:03 pm
    • Coquitlam, BC
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Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2013, 01:35:03 pm »
Harpo:
What do you do with your F visa, if I may ask?  How have you adjusted to your life here in Korea for a long term period?
I work as a uni EFL lecturer; Inter-faith pastoral counselor; life coach; actor; folk singer; guitar teacher...
I love living in Seoul.
Skype Video Counselor in Coquitlam, BC

Make the best use of what's in your power; take the rest as it comes.

The thing that upsets people is not what happens; but what they think it means.

Epictetus (55 - 135 C.E.)

Inter-faith spiritual counselor
http://www.harpo.ca


  • SugarBabe82
  • Waygookin

    • 20

    • September 05, 2012, 07:33:56 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2013, 02:09:38 pm »
Hey guys I dont know if this question belongs here, but I like to know about Korean teachers.
Where do they get their materials for class?
My co teacher I used to work with said that there is a website for Korean teachers who swap work with each other and share. Do you guys know the website?
Please forward it to me.
I have a new co teacher and she doesnt know of any sites > I told her all the ones I know and use ALL EXCEPT FOR WAYGOOK > we should be getting other new fresh ideas and material.
I feel bad for her because shes never taught English before so I make and share material for her/ with her too. I caught do this helping the whole year I have my own extra classes to do. I believe in team work yes, but both helping too. Okay all I need is the Korean teacher sharing website, if there is in fact one > maybe old teacher was using waygook too lol.


Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2013, 02:15:23 pm »
Hey guys I dont know if this question belongs here, but I like to know about Korean teachers.
Where do they get their materials for class?
My co teacher I used to work with said that there is a website for Korean teachers who swap work with each other and share. Do you guys know the website?
Please forward it to me.
I have a new co teacher and she doesnt know of any sites > I told her all the ones I know and use ALL EXCEPT FOR WAYGOOK > we should be getting other new fresh ideas and material.
I feel bad for her because shes never taught English before so I make and share material for her/ with her too. I caught do this helping the whole year I have my own extra classes to do. I believe in team work yes, but both helping too. Okay all I need is the Korean teacher sharing website, if there is in fact one > maybe old teacher was using waygook too lol.

I've heard of this mythical website too, but could never find it. Would like info on this as well.


  • taeyang
  • Moderator - LVL 4

    • 5507

    • September 08, 2010, 08:35:10 am
    • daejeon
Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2013, 02:28:56 pm »
Hey guys I dont know if this question belongs here, but I like to know about Korean teachers.
Where do they get their materials for class?
My co teacher I used to work with said that there is a website for Korean teachers who swap work with each other and share. Do you guys know the website?
Please forward it to me.
I have a new co teacher and she doesnt know of any sites > I told her all the ones I know and use ALL EXCEPT FOR WAYGOOK > we should be getting other new fresh ideas and material.
I feel bad for her because shes never taught English before so I make and share material for her/ with her too. I caught do this helping the whole year I have my own extra classes to do. I believe in team work yes, but both helping too. Okay all I need is the Korean teacher sharing website, if there is in fact one > maybe old teacher was using waygook too lol.

I've heard of this mythical website too, but could never find it. Would like info on this as well.

the two that i'm aware of are i-scream and indischool.
use google to search the site

site:waygook.org XXXX

replace 'XXXX' with your search term


Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2013, 06:34:57 pm »
Harpo:
What do you do with your F visa, if I may ask?  How have you adjusted to your life here in Korea for a long term period?
I work as a uni EFL lecturer; Inter-faith pastoral counselor; life coach; actor; folk singer; guitar teacher...
I love living in Seoul.

LOL what the heck is a "life coach"? Face it bro, you're an ESL teacher just like the rest of us.


  • Harpoinseoul
  • Expert Waygook

    • 682

    • March 23, 2011, 06:49:03 pm
    • Coquitlam, BC
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Re: Please give me some advice..
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2013, 07:03:47 pm »
Harpo:
What do you do with your F visa, if I may ask?  How have you adjusted to your life here in Korea for a long term period?
I work as a uni EFL lecturer; Inter-faith pastoral counselor; life coach; actor; folk singer; guitar teacher...
I love living in Seoul.

LOL what the heck is a "life coach"?...
Quote
Life Coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client's personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make your life be what you want it to be.
Skype Video Counselor in Coquitlam, BC

Make the best use of what's in your power; take the rest as it comes.

The thing that upsets people is not what happens; but what they think it means.

Epictetus (55 - 135 C.E.)

Inter-faith spiritual counselor
http://www.harpo.ca