I returned to the US on December 21, 2019. Just in time for Christmas. Hung around Minnesota for a bit, but decided that there wasn’t much for me to do here.
Anyway…I moved to Washington DC at the end of February. After waiting, hoping, and applying for countless jobs, COVID-19 struck. It hit Maryland (where I was living) much faster than it hit Minnesota. After another few weeks, I drove back to MN.
Coming back to the US just in time for a pandemic was unfortunate. I kept thinking that if I had either left earlier or just stayed in China, I would have a job right now.
Back in Minnesota, under the stay-at-home order, I taught English online. Even though there was always the idea of waiting around for more jobs to open up, I worried as the days went on that it would take so long for Coronavirus to end and for the economy to pick up again. I didn’t want to be teaching English online for forever, but it seemed like the only option for the time being.
While weighing options and trying to figure out what to do in the longterm, I figured that going abroad again would be a good option. So, after some consideration, I have begun the process of moving to South Korea.
Here’s how it happened:
May 11: At 9:40 am, my best friend (who I met in China) joked that she wanted to run away to Korea. This wasn’t a new joke between us, but it was always just a joke. By 1 pm, both of us had emailed job recruiters asking some questions. By 2 pm, I had applied for a teaching job. By 4 pm, it was decided that we were moving to Korea.
May 12: At 6 am, we figured out exactly what we would need to do to get a visa. I then applied to more teaching jobs in Korea. By the end of the day, I had applied to 3 or 4 different jobs/recruiters.
May 13: I applied for a background check and drove to Minneapolis to get fingerprinted. I talked to some recruiters and scheduled a few interviews.
May 14: I had my first interview! It went well, but I didn’t think the school would be a good fit for me. I applied for more jobs with more recruiters. I also received an interview with a school (not just a recruiter). This is a big step (which I’ll explain in a later post), and basically meant that I had a job, but of course, I didn’t want to take the first job I got.
May 15-18: More interviews! More waiting for my background check to be processed! More thinking about Korean snacks!
May 21: I got a job! I’m going to be a kindergarten teacher. I’ll also have a few classes with elementary schoolers in the afternoons. It’s a small school in a great neighborhood. It’s time to really start the visa process.
July 8: Everything that could possibly go wrong with the visa process has gone wrong. My diploma documents were rejected (twice) meaning I had to quickly run around to get new ones, and my FBI background check apostille (authentication document) took 7 weeks instead of 2 then got lost in the mail before finally making it to Korea.
July 16: My visa application has been submitted in Korea! It’s time to hurry up and wait for them to send me a visa code.
July 24: It’s time to submit my application in Chicago. I need a doctor’s note, some documents, and the code issued by the Korean immigration office. Once it’s turned in, we’re in the home stretch. Basically, I’ll be leaving the US in about 2 weeks. I’m really excited to be moving to Korea!!
July 31: I booked a hypothetical flight. I’m not exactly sure when I’ll be leaving yet, but it will be between a few days and 2 weeks from now. I’ll decide when I’m leaving officially when I hear that my visa is done processing.
(Scroll down for FAQ’s.)
파이팅! 加油! 頑張って! Let’s go!
- Why Korea? Why not. It looks amazing, the borders are open (enough), I’ve never been there before.
- Where will you live? My school has provided an apartment for me.
- What about Covid-19? I’ll need to do a strict 2-week quarantine, along with being tested and recording my temperature and symptoms daily. They have lower infection rates than the US.
- Can you even travel right now? With a visa, yes.
- Quarantine? What will you eat? I don’t know anything really. My school is in charge of all of that.
- When will you come back to the US? 🤷♀️