Getting my E-2 Korean Work Visa & a 6 Month Goal

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E2 Visa

There it is-E2 Korean Visa!

I just got my E-2 Korean visa this past week – whoop!  Looking at it, the fruit of my efforts and travel goals begin sinking in… I feel nervous, weird, most definitely excited and I even begin to feel like I might be a bit Korean!  Most of all, this visa stands for the achievement of a goal.

When I applied for this ESL teaching position 5 months ago, I thought it was going to be a breeze- like filling out a long form/questionaire, writing an essay and flashing my passport. Afterall, it’s a popular work-travel choice for many traveler’s and graduate students looking for an expat experience. What I eventually realized was that this process required so much more…

An example of the application process for the position of an English teacher in South Korea:

Application packet #1:
-Online form

Application packet #2
-8 page form
-Written essay

1st Interview w/ Recruiter

Application packet #3 (2 copies required)
-Application form #2
-2 letters of reference
-Official copies of school transcripts
-Official documents (certified & apostilled criminal background check + college diploma).

Additional copies of official documents and transcripts
(*Optional* extension of the teaching term or  future decision to teach in another country)

2nd Interview w/ Ministry of Education (EPIK)

Apply for E-2 Visa :
*Required: Copy of signed work contract, Employer’s Notice of Appointment, Passport, 1 Passport photo)

Book my OW flight

Total expense: Approx $200 (dependent upon your state’s fees and not inclusive of flight)

Wow- can you say Mary?

Packets for my final application

Applying for your GRRR in Self-Belief:
In gaining an E-2 work visa abroad, the most vital ingredient was faith and self-belief.  Finding the will and courage to believe in your own abilities to accomplish your goal is 75% of the up-hill battle.

The choices and decisions we make towards creating a satisfactory life is like playing at our own personal stock market. Life is only a gamble, when a) you don’t know what paths are available to you and b) you base your decision upon a coin toss!  Behind Door #1: Continue upon a known road, which is feeling lifeless and stagnant (a 50% gamble but you know the odds of its answer) Behind Door #2: Following one’s heart into the unknown and trust it to move us forward. Hmmm… vague, right?  Nevertheless, it IS an advance from stagnant, and the dark can enlighten one unto  many things. For instance, it may present a better solution, outlook or life, that had not been considered. If nothing else, for me, this choice would produce a well-needed break from my career, a new perspective on life and a means to travel and enjoy photography.  This remaining 50% of my gamble offered a 100% of potential.  My odds in gambling were pretty good, but I still wouldn’t take them to Las Vegas…

The 6 month goal:
Can large dreams be achieved in a short amount of time?  I have no doubt there are people who might be able to manage this goal in lesser. For me, six is my turn-around number. It’s about the number of months that activated my last life altering decision: Get into an MFA program and move to NYC… (Ready, set, go!) Whenever you discover a goal to define your life by (even if temporarily), life immediately becomes clear…crystal, in fact! In order to win the odds, your stakes and GRRR energies must be focused 100% on moving forward. I mean *physical* steps (reading the book, The Secret, and visualizing your goal coming to you is not enough).  If you’re on a short timeline, you may need to raise your energies to 110%… 120% or 140%.

Back in August, when I launched my goal to move my life abroad by February 2010 (Ready, set, go!),  I didn’t have a clue if it was possible. I researched “work options in my field” and “secondary jobs abroad”… my eyes nearly imploded from internet research and I hardly saw the light of day from my cave.  My only concrete plan in my schedule was move home to Hawaii by December (to spend the holidays with my family) , then launch from there. Where? Who knew. Doing what? Something that would give me a work visa! There was no backup plan- just ultimate career suicide. But, I committed 110% of my efforts to bridging my trust in myself and my desire and had faith I’d eventually arrive at a solution.


By actively pursuing my goal each day, I increased the probability of my  achievement.  I’m nearing the end of my 5th month and I have a Korean work visa and flight ticket in hand. In mid February, I will be launching my new life in Korea. My 6 month trajectory is right on target,… and with several days to spare.

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10 Comments. Leave new

  • You should also mention that your particular case applies to Korea only. It’s a lot less complicated if you want to teach in other countries. For example, Japan does not require your documents to be apostilled. And it seems that China will take just about anyone who’s a native speaker, I know foreigners teaching there who got their jobs and visas without ever showing a copy of their university diploma.

    • @budgettrouble: I appreciate your catch on that, thanks! Will make the correction. Yes, my application process is very specific to SKorea and my program. SK is one of the more stringent countries, even down to requiring criminal background checks (which totally surprises me b/c we’re adults dealing with minors & its a scary world out there… even MTV requires a crim. bg check of its field crew!) BTW- wish I stumbled upon your Budget Volunteer Opportunities page earlier. It’s pretty comprehensive & closer to what I thought volunteer programs should be!

  • “In gaining an E-2 work visa abroad, the most vital ingredient was faith and self-belief. Finding the will and courage to believe in your own abilities to accomplish what you want is 75% of the up-hill battle.” –This is so true about so many things in life.

    Thanks for spelling out what the process is to get a VISA and teach abroad. I’m sure a lot of people have no idea what’s involved. Man, I hate paperwork.

    • Normally, I’d be there with you about the paperwork, Gray. But after losing a chunk of my life to the internet & research, paper was nice….it was taaaactile. I could see people eye to eye. LOL. I’d say the research work was the most challenging- after that, everything felt like a breeze. =-P


    Hold steady to your course. Weather the storm. Don’t give up the ship. The beacon is ahead, the sea is calm. The crowds all on deck, cheering you on.

    Daddy 88′

  • I like how you compartmentalize those 2 choices via Door #1 and Door #2. Once you commit to a path, even if it deviates (and it will) putting in 100% is easier than one thinks. Door #1 becomes null and void, less appealing, and any past regrets are gone. Viola Christine, an adventure begins!

    • Yeah, once you have a lock on what you want, the dark clouds and confusion rolls away. There’s always those moments of brief self-doubt that things may not turn out, of course. Sometimes, the arrow bows no matter how straight you shoot it or there’s external factors you have no control over. But generally life opens doors when your heart is the key. Your own adventure sounds like is shaping pretty nicely- are you getting excited?

  • It’s nice to know that Visa paperwork is just as complicated in any country!

    It’s all part of going through door number 2, right?


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