Monday, 25 August 2014

Docu...what now?! Oooh documents!

Wow, what a week it has been. I am pleased to say that I have now entered the next stage of my TEFL experience and am therefore one step closer to moving to South Korea. Whoooopi! Let me tell you about it....

...not about Whoopi Goldberg silly.

After completing the course, I received my TEFL certificate in the post on Thursday, coincidentally the same day as my 29th (oh dear) Birthday, which was an extra little treat. Shiny and new like the life I hope to be leading far away in Asia, it looked up at me like a small smiling lamb, happy to be alive after just missing the butchers slaughter knife...Phew! It is now 100% official, and I have a lovely reference letter to prove it as well. This was a major accomplishment and one that I would happily do all over again if given the time and patience. I am actually considering doing another 30 hour Teaching Young Learners course to bump up my CV, and also to gain some more experience before going away, so watch this space.

Next on the list was notarising my degree. ‘Whats that Sarah?’ I hear you all ask with anticipation and wonderment. Well, let me tell you...as I intend to teach in South Korea I need a little thing called a Degree. Fortunately I was lucky enough to have completed one of these many moons ago in my youth, so all I needed to do now, was to prove that it was REAL! In order to do this I needed to seek the help of a solicitor, which is where Alison came in. Alison, the solicitor (we’re already on first name basis) came to my rescue and took a copy of my Degree along with my Disclosure Scotland certificate (which is basically a Criminal Records Check). I don’t think that you actually need to get your Disclosure Scotland notarised but she was only charging a small amount extra so I decided to go ahead regardless. 

These documents are part of what you need in order to get a Visa in South Korea. It doesn’t have anything to do with the School you end up at, it is just necessary for the Korean Embassy upon acquiring your Visa. So, it is best to get these done nice and early so I am ready to proceed whenever that time will inevitably arrive. These documents are currently being notarised by the lovely Alison as we speak (or you read). Once she has done so, I can then send them off to the Foreign Commonwealth Office to get the documents apostilled. Which is basically a further check to show that they are definitely the real deal. Alison very kindly offered to do this for me (over a cup of tea no less), so I will probably take her up on that to save some time. Obviously she asked for a small fee but since we are basically family now, I thought best to go ahead and accept her offer. Thanks Ally!

You're doing it again...she is sadly not Alison Moyet!

Another milestone that was achieved this week, was the horrendous process of filming a video of myself telling the whole of YouTube why I would like to teach in South Korea. This was a mind boggling activity and took me the best part of 5 hours to complete. Self criticism is the worst, and I have never experienced it to such an extent when filming myself 5000+ times! I do not want to look at this face for at least a week! Terrible...and if you want to see it then you'll just have to waste the best part of an hour trying to find it! Good Luck!

Once this was completed I could finally sign up to a recruitment agency. Which is what I have done today...

Next time on ‘In Pursuit of Pavements’: Recruitment Agencies! Who to go with, who I went with, and the ins and outs of MOVING HOUSE!

Stay tuned...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A roller coaster ride of emotions...

To say that this week hasn’t been extremely difficult would be similar to saying that pigs can actually fly. I have however achieved quite a lot and in turn probably grown a little too - although not literally, when that will happen is still a mystery. I finally after what seemed like years, but in reality was actually more like a couple of days, received my results from my TEFL course. I am pleased to say that I have successfully passed the course and am now a qualified English teacher (as a foreign language). It has all been utterly worth it, and I can not express my gratitude to tefl.org, and the lovely people it has enabled me to meet and work with enough. I was so pleased to have finished the course, but it suddenly all dawned upon me...what next?

Of course the next thing is to actually start applying for jobs in South Korea, and it soon became apparent that this was all just a little bit too realistic for me. Yesterday morning as I was packing away my tiny life into similar size boxes, I stopped for a moment and thought about the events of the previous week. Whilst looking at a chair that I have carried around with me from place to place for the last 9 years, I thought about one of my closest friends that has just left the country this week for an unknown period of time, I thought about the books, DVD’s, ornaments and of course hundreds of photographs that I have been surrounded by for many years. I then turned my attention to the future and what it may bring. Leaving my home that I have had five wonderful years in was one thing, but leaving my friends and family would be quite another. It all got a bit to much and of course a small break down was inevitable, however after a good hug, a splash of water and a nice cup of coffee, I regained some sense of awareness and a realisation of why I wanted to do this in the first place.

Not quite all of my belongings...

I can't seem to shake the thoughts of travelling and living in a different country off, so how ever difficult this will be, and how ever many things I have to leave behind, I am sure that it will all be worth it in the end. If I can forget these doubts and remain positive this could be one of the greatest adventures. After feeling a severe lack of self confidence, I pack away the last book on the shelf which is ironically called ‘How to be Good’ by Nick Hornby. Classic.

I dust myself off and successfully manage to sort my possessions out into some sort of order, and I can now focus on the next stage of this journey: Recruitment Agencies. After reading many different articles, blogs and watching thousands of YouTube videos I have come to the conclusion that I should really go with an agency for my first job in South Korea. I have heard many good things about teacheslkorea and flying cows, so initially I think I will apply to one of these. It is of course possible to join more than one agency, but just so I don't become to overwhelmed, I think for now I will just focus on the one. I also need to make a highly amusing ‘video CV’ of myself, which I am sure you can not wait to see...although I think I may keep this one for my personal collection. 

However, before I can think about putting any of these plans into action, I first need to make one of the most important decisions of this morning...tea, or coffee?!

Always Coffee, lots and lots of COFFEE! ...Goooood morning London!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Did you just say South Korea?!

Let me start by taking you back to May this year, when I made a conscious decision to pursue other pavements in far away places. Big, small, old and new, most of the world is covered in these things and I came to the conclusion that I would like to walk upon their paths. The realisation of space being nothing more than just air, that is completely up to me to fill, made me want to take up a whole new concept that would inevitably alter everything that I was familiar with, and allow me to basically, see the world. Having made the difficult decision to do this, I now find myself upon this new journey where I wish to experience something new, something unfamiliar, and something that I can look back on and know that I have made the most of every opportunity I could have. 

The concept in question was a TEFL course that I am pleased to say I have just completed, and this will hopefully become my passport to the world. TEFL for those of you that do not know stands for ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’. The course itself was brilliant, and I urge anyone thinking of doing it, whether you would like to teach abroad, or to just simply gain a better understanding of your own language to (as the popular shoe brand of Nike once said) ‘just do it’! It has opened up so many doors to me, some of which I wasn't even aware existed and although it can be tough going, it is totally worth it in the end. This is what I now hope to do in either South Korea or Japan. Yes, teach!

The difference between the two countries varies significantly, and if I am honest I think I will have a greater adventure in South Korea, so I will be concentrating my search here. From what I have read, the people, the food and the overall impression I get of South Korea is that it is a friendly, safe and utterly beautiful country that has in the past had a tough time in the public eye. It is a completely different culture to that of my own, and this is what appeals to me the most. Plus I’ve heard that they have the most delicious cuisines around, all of which I will of course be documenting throughout my journey. As my journey has already begun here is one of the many things I will miss about the UK. An English delicacy (if you can call it that)...

The classic English Breakfast! YUM!
I will soon be boarding the ‘train of change’ and starting my search, which I am sure will be another learning curve that I will hopefully be successful in. The path on which I now find myself on is ever changing. Day by day, new experiences that I have, enable me to leap into a world that has endless options and opportunities. So here I am telling you my story complete with beginning, middle but no end, and hoping that you enjoy reading my restless pursuit to saying YES to life.

To be continued...

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