Applying to EPIK #1 – One small step for man…

So welcome, intrepid adventurer, to this post about the EPIK application process. If you are reading this, I assume you are aware I came to Korea with EPIK in the Fall 2013 intake, which means that one year ago I was in your shoes. That is to say, wanting to apply but frantically searching the internet for advice at the same time. I am going to begin with a disclaimer – this application will have a UK based bias. Other folks, most of this is general information. It is just some specific things (such as going to the embassy, tax information and that kind of thing) I can’t help you other folks on. US folks, there is a bunch of information out there for you (Shimmering Seoul always offers bloody good advice on this sort of thing and is extremely useful).

Now that is all over, let us begin. For the initial stages, you only need submit an application form and two scanned letters of recommendation. Seoul applicants, you also need to fill out the Seoul Attachment Form. We will start with a look at the application for itself. Having looked over it, I don’t think it is any different from the one they used when I applied. Page one is simple enough and just covers your general information such as name, DOB, gender and nationality. The only bits I will discuss are sections four and five.

Section Four – This part of the form covers Korean heritage and citizenship. The questions here are simple enough (Are you ethnically Korean and does the Korean government consider you to be a holder of Korean citizenship?). As far as I am aware, the only difference this makes to your application is the kind of visa you will apply for later on. I can’t be certain, as I am not ethnically Korean.

Section Five – This section is important. It covers the times you will be available for interview, as well as the way they can contact you for it. Skype is the preferred way of undertaking an interview and I don’t know anyone that didn’t undertake their interview this way. The best piece of advice I can offer here is be as flexible as possible. Yes, this might mean an early morning or late night interview (in fact, that is basically a guarantee). However obvious it seems, the more you are available the easier it will be for them to interview you. On my application, I listed every available time and had my interview around 1pm KST (which was early morning back home in the UK).

The next several pages mostly cover your educational and previous teaching experiences. As you are applying to EPIK, I will assume you are already undertaking a TEFL qualification (now a requirement for applicants). When I applied I was undertaking my TEFL course and had some voluntary teaching experience. List anything you have, even if it is only two weeks. You must also write list the contact information for your two references. I will talk about these letters later in this post.

Placement preference is up next and I would suggest doing some research about the different provinces and things. Many people want Seoul or a similar large city. However, I would say don’t discount the provinces and smaller cities. I live in Cheongju, which is the capital of Chungbuk province. And it is great. Well placed for travel within Korea (central), not too big or small, great travel links (30 minutes from Dajeon) and a range of activities within the province itself. The only downside is it has no coastline at all. But you are never very far from one. Everything else on these pages is self-explanatory. If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I will do my best to help.

The medical assessment section is up next. My advice would be fill it out as honestly as possible, except maybe for the mental illness section. I know of people here who had certain issues but didn’t mention them on their application, as there is a lot of social stigma attached to them in Korea. I won’t go into that here but it will make the whole application much easier. Again, the next two pages are self-explanatory.

As for the lesson plan and personal essay, I will upload them in separate posts later on today.

The letters of recommendation – I used a lecturer from my university and a teacher at the school I volunteered at. The only real advice I can offer is make sure the person knows you well (though if you have teaching experience, it would be wise to use someone from their as a reference). Make sure they sign and date the letters. With my application, this wasn’t the case and it was missed in the first round. It was not a big deal but added to my stress as I had to re-gather them when I was also sorting out things like criminal record checks.

The Seoul form is something I didn’t fill out, as I applied for Chungbuk last time. The only issue I can see on it is regarding the schools. In Seoul, they are only hiring for elementary schools at the moment. I think this is due to a scaling down of the programme itself within Seoul and other metropolitan centres.

Well, this post has gone on a bit. Check back for the next post soon. And good luck if you are applying. You won’t regret it. Coming here has been a great experience for me.

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