Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is Korea worth it? You be the judge

Despite having lived in Korea for 6 years and having no run-ins with the powers that be (with the exception of a minor kerfuffle with one horribly sketchy hagwon owner in my first year), this is what I had to do to renew my E2 teaching visa for the upcoming year.

1. Get a fingerprint form from the Canadian embassy in Seoul.  This was after a trip to the CSI police station in my city where they told me, "We don't have fingerprint forms."  Hmmm.

2. Get the form in the mail.  Go back to the police station.  Get my fingerprints done.  Courier to my mother in Canada, along with my diploma and photocopies of passport and other such things.  She got a bank order and sent the form away to get my check done.  It can take up to 6 months.  It took about 6 weeks for me.

3. Order an up to date transcript from my uni in Canada to get sent to my mother.

4. Thankfully, my mother works at a law office so this next step was free and simple.  Photocopy the diploma and criminal record check and get them notarized by a lawyer.

5. Gather up the transcript, originals, notarized copies, photocopies of stuff, more money orders and send it to the Korean consulate in Vancouver via courier.  They do a little something and send it back to my mom.

6. She sends all this crap to me, in Korea, via courier.

I estimate it cost me (okay, well mostly my mother!) over $300.  It would have cost more if my mom didn't work at a law office.  And what if I didn't have someone in Canada I could ask to do this for me?  Impossible.  I still need to get a health check done as well.  And keep in mind, this wasn't for my first-time visa application.  I've lived in Korea for 6 years.

Is Korea worth the hassle?  I'm getting weary.


Conrade Yap, (Dr) said...

Biggest evidence that it must have been worth it: "You're still there."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have contemplated this myself. Since I was only planning on staying 6 months I did my " one free pass" but now with a plan/hope o stay longer I think it must be done. Ugh, not looking forward to it. Are they just attempting to discourage us before they replace us with robots?

Jason said...

I'd have to say 'it's worth it' for newbies and the under-5-year-expats...but the 5+-year-expats maybe not so much.

If you're not married to a Korean than the lack of long term roots and personal investment in making a 'life' there don't, in my opinion, make living/working there worth it after the 5 year mark.

I'm happy I left, and I think in retrospect should have left around year 3 to live/teach in other countries/cultures.

Anyways, I hope you still think you can be happy there for one more contract--good luck.

Jackie Bolen said...'s true what you say about lack of roots, with people always coming and going. That's the one thing that weighs heavily on my mind actually.