Applying to the English Program In Korea can be a long process and so I thought I would share with you my wonderful EPIK journey timeline. It was really useful to see blogs give their timeline of their experiences during my application process. It made me less worried and patient with the whole process.
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Applying To the EPIK Program
19th February 2015-I did research on EPIK. I decided to go ahead after about a week and so asked two people to write my references.
11th March 2015- I ordered my certified birth certificate on gov.uk ( just google gov.uk birth certificate and you will find where to buy purchase).
27th March 2015- I submitted my application to Greenheart Travel with 2 reference letters ( I asked for my reference letters before I had even finished my lesson plan because I thought it would take a long time. It actually didn’t take a long time for me to receive my letters but everyone is different so give yourself enough time because you have to submit your application with two reference letters).
31st March 2015– I was asked to make some changes to my application, which I sent back the same day. It worked out with Greenheart beacuse of the time difference. When its is 3pm in England it is 9am in Chicago , so I was able to send back my corrections after work in England while they were just beginning their day in Chicago
I also received an email from Greenheart Travel to schedule an initial interview/chat with them to discuss my motivations, work experience etc and it was also a chance for me to ask some questions. (If you pass this initial interview you will be recommended/passed onto EPIK which kinda means you have most likely secured an interview with EPIK. Before my interview my with Greenheart I received a list of questions from them, which I made sure I prepared for to make sure I made the best impression possible with my EPIK interviewer.
I scheduled my interview with Greenheart the next day at 4.30pm in Chicago which was 10.30pm in England.
1st April 2015- I had my interview with Greenheart Travel and received an email the same day telling me about the next steps for teaching and that I will be referred to EPIK.
10th April 2015– I received an email from Greenheart Travel to let me know that my interview would be on 20th April at 9.20 in Korea which was 1.20am in England!!
I did a lot of research on Korea and the education system. Make sure you know why you want teach, why you want to teach in Korea specifically, what makes you a good teacher, how you would handle students with a range of English levels and some ideas on behaviour management.
20th April 2015- I had my interview at 1.40am on 20th April because my interviewer was actually late and then my microphone wasn’t working so had to find some headphones. Great way to start an interview lol
During my interview I was told about a few mistakes on my application that should be changed.
I was told to provide a letter from the school in Ghana I attended from 2008-2010 to confirm the education was in English -_-. In Ghana the universal language is English so it was kind of annoying because if I did pass the interview it meant now having to wait on something that I could not control.
I had not finished my TEFL course with the TEFL academy and so it was also requested that I provide a letter from the institution confirming that I was enrolled on a 120 hours course with a 20 hours in class component.
Gathering and Sending in Documents
20th April 2015-That same day at 11.21pm I received an email from Greenheart Travel letting me know I had passed my interview and that I could start sending in my documents.(For some people it can take up to two weeks to receive an answer and if in doubt just contact your coordinator or recruiter about it.) The sooner you send in your documents the more likely you are to get your preferred placement because they fill them on a first come first served basis.
21st April 2015- I contacted my TEFL provider for a letter confirming that I was currently completing the TEFL course which they sent me the same day and it cost me £15.
I also contacted the school I went to in Ghana from 2008-2010 to provide a letter confirming that all my lessons were in English. (Ps. It took about a month to get the letter sent because I had to ask someone in Ghana to pay for the DHL postage to Greenheart Travel for me.)
This is also when I decided to start getting documents certified and notarized lol. I didn’t want to pay for documents if I wasn’t going to pass the interview lol.
At this point I already had my transcript in a sealed envelope, criminal records check which took one week to get(not certified), a copy of my degree(certified) and I had been waiting for the certified copy of my birth certificate to come through since 11th March 2015. I eventually received my birth certificate at the end of May, it took almost 2 months to get it.
Once you have the documents you need, you need to get them CERTIFIED by a solicitor and then NOTARIZED/LEGALIZE by gov.uk (British people) .
Criminal Record Check: I applied for a basic disclosure criminal record check online which cost around £35 I believe. UK people please make sure to ask for it be signed so that you don’t have to go to a solicitor to certify it.
I had a lot of trouble certifying my CRC because you need to get the original certified and not a copy which some solicitors didn’t understand. I ended up sending it to Hague Apostille to be certified and notarized which cost me £76 and took a week to get back to me. This hurt me a bit, I am not gonna lie because it only cost £5 to certify the copy of my degree and my birth certificate didn’t need certifying since it was a certified copy from gov.uk( the government).
Copy of Degree and Birth Certificate- To certify the copy of my degree it cost £5 and to notarize the copy of my degree and birth certificate it cost £30 per document on gov.uk. It took approximately 3 working days to get these documents back.
Between April 2015- May 2015-I sent all my documents to Greenheart travel via DHL (Two copies of my application signed, transcripts, signed reference letters, notarized criminal record check, notarized birth certificate and a notarized degree certificate)
22nd May 2015- Greenheart Travel let me know that my documents had been received and have been sent to EPIK.
28th May 2015- I got an email from Greenheart Travel saying that EPIK would like me to make some revisions to my Lesson Plan and that they had noticed a few mistakes.
28th May 2015- I sent back the corrections the same day.
3rd June 2015- Greenheart Travel confirmed that EPIK had accepted my revisions and were going to recommend me for a place.
8th June 2015– I sent Greenheart Travel my TEFL certificate.
9th June 2015- I got an email from Greenheart Travel that my documents are complete with EPIK.
19th June 2015- I received an email from Greenheart Travel titled ” Congratulations Welcome to Korea” It was an email informing me that I had been placed in Ulsan(I had actually requested Daegu but they were not recruiting for my intake) and asking if I wanted to accept.
19th June 2015– I emailed back to accept the placement.
At some point orientation information which gave dates were posted in the EPIK August 2015 intake fb group ( THIS FB GROUP IS SEPARATE FROM THE GENERAL FB GROUP). I had not received info about my contract but I still bought my place ticket anyway even though we are told not too, I just made sure it was a flexible ticket. My view was if anything goes wrong I will just go to Korea for a holiday. I did this because the prices of tickets were going to rise and we pay our tickets up front and then get reimbursed later. I flew Emirates which cost about £525 and I traveled for 19 hours with a 3 hour wait in Dubai.
Once a ticket has been bought, please remember to purchase travel insurance! I did not until I had left and World Nomads allowed me to do that. Since you can purchase World Nomads travel insurance even when if you have left your home country it is the perfect travel insurance provider to use pre or post travel.
Pre – Orientation and Getting My Visa
16th July 2015– I received an email telling me to start the online pre-orientation which I finished in a week.
17th July 2015– Greenheart Travel had received my NOA( notice of appointment) and contract from EPIK and were forwarding it onto me.
27th July 2015– I received my contract via DHL from Greenheart.
3rd August 2015– I went to the Korean Embassy in London to apply for my visa. It cost £82 for a single entry under 91 days. You don’t need a multiple entry visa because when you get to Korea you will apply for your alien registration card which you can use along with your passport to get back into Korea if you travel. If you plan on travelling before receiving your ARC then you will need a multiple entry visa.
(PLEASE GO ONTO THE EMBASSY WEBSITE AND ASK EPIK /YOUR RECRUITER FOR ANY DETAILED INFO)
10th August 2015– One week later I picked up my passport with my Korean visa 🙂
16th August 2015-I flew to Korea 🙂
17th August 2015– I landed in Korea and stayed in a hotel overnight
18th August 2015- Orientation started 🙂
I hope it helps you to see what sort of timeline I had.
JUST KNOW THAT EVERYONE’S TIMELINE IS NOT THE SAME. EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON WHEN YOU APPLY, SEND YOUR DOCUMENTS IN, HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR OFFICES OF EDUCATION TO TURN AROUND THEIR PLACEMENT OFFERS ETC..
The process of applying for the English Program in Korea was quite stressful, as you can see it took about 6 months from sending in my application to going to orientation. I will say it was all worth it because I had such a great time in Korea!
If you have any questions please let me know 🙂
Other Useful Info
Have you found out that you have been accepted on to the EPIK program but are wondering what to do while you wait to here about where you will be located? Let me give you some ideas with “10 things to do while you wait for your EPIK placement”
Want to know what life is like living in Korea? Here is my Life in Korea Playlist to ease your mind about living in Korea.