So tomorrow night I will be leaving to return to Korea. After much hand-wringing over whether my visa would arrive on time, I received it this morning, much to my relief.

It was a close shave last year as well, and much of the reason for this can be attributed to the complexity of the visa application process. Admittedly the process has been significantly easier this time around, given that I now have experience of it.

As I have not yet left for Korea, it seems inappropriate to go into too much cultural depth just yet. So for now, I have some advice for prospective English teachers in Korea regarding the pre-Korea stage of a Korean adventure.

As I said, the visa process can be daunting at first, especially given that it must be done piece-meal over a course of at least a month. However, there are a number of websites out there that outline the process more fully and accurately than I could possibly do here. I would recommend using the agency Flying Cows (www.flying-cows.com) who helped me to organise my first trip. If you sign up (free of charge) you gain full access to their member’s area and their team of support staff. They are based in England, but their advice and support has proved to be invaluable.

Towards the end of my time last year in Korea, I was already planning my return. Given that I would have a year of experience on the resume I was working on the assumption that it would be easy to get a good job (and a good salary) this time around. After my return, this quickly proved to be a naïve way of thinking. I guess I had not been banking on how much the economic problems in the west may have affected people’s desire to get away. The Hagwon job market seemed absolutely saturated and I didn’t receive a single offer for over 2 weeks. My second piece of advice is, therefore, to apply to as many agencies that you can find (I tracked down over 40) and badger them ceaselessly about getting you a job. Dave’s ESL café (http://www.eslcafe.com/) is the place to start, but a simple Google search will turn up countless other agents desperate to place you in schools (whether the schools want you or not…). Most of these people will be Koreans with varying degrees of English, but as most of the contact is done via email, this shouldn’t prove to be too much of a problem.

Right, I’m off to pack. Next post will be live from Korea with some photos of my new home.

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