I don't mean to, but I wake up early. Either the rush of nerves or a decision I've yet to make urges my eyes open. Mulling around the kitchen, I piece together breakfast. Toast. Eggs. A small piece of feta. Eventually, I bring myself to my laptop and stare at the ridiculous PowerPoint I'd made last week. It lists all the pros and cons between the two programs in Korea for which I've been interviewing. I need the same documents for both, so either way I begin piecing together papers. Apostilles and diploma copies, background checks and transcripts. When it's just turned light enough outside, I take a break and go for a bike ride by the water.
Eventually it's late afternoon and I've made a decision. I bring my folder of documents to a local FedEx shipping location. My over-dramatic English Major brain is already building up a short story of metaphors as I pass rows of houses with their neatly mowed lawns and children playing in gardens. From down the block I hear students being let out from my old Greek-American elementary school and I smell a mix of souvlaki with dukbokki and even crepes from at least three different restaurants.
Sometimes the world builds symbolism for you.
I walk into the FedEx office, thinking that at 8 years old--when I would have been the one racing out of school--I would have never imagined making this move. The man behind the counter waves me over since I'd just gotten off the phone with him, and he knows I need help.
"Korea?" he says when he looks over my documents then nods his head at all the posters written in Hangul along the walls. "I came about sixteen years ago."
"Have you gone back since then?"
"A summer here and there." He glances at the address I hand him. "What are you going for?"
"Teaching," I say. "I'm a little nervous, to be honest."
"Don't be. Everyone will want to feed you, though, so watch out."
I laugh. "At least my Greek grandma trained me for that."
The man finishes printing out the label in both Korean and English. "Greek!"
"Giassas? Ti kaneis?" he says.
Hello, how are you?
"Kala?" he asks.
Are you well?
Despite the nervous bubbles in my stomach, the nerves at seeing my documents placed on a tray marked for international express, I answer ''yes' in both Greek and Korean:
Compared to my usual EPIK Guide, today's post is a bit different. While the last two had been more focused on the pros and cons of each program as well as the details concerning EPIK's initial application, this is more of an....update, I guess.
So I made it to the interview, passed, and mailed everything to my coordinator. According to my FedEx tracking number, the package has been signed off and is currently in EPIK's offices. The only thing left for me is to wait for a placement, which can be nerve-wracking at best. I'm a bit of a control-freak (to absolutely no one's surprise), and waiting around to be told where exactly in Korea I'll be is a...challenge.
So let's talk about the interview then. It'll keep my mind off the thousand what-ifs I'd otherwise create just by sitting around.
What You'll Need
Letters of Recommendation
Before I begin, here is a direct link to EPIK's website.
This application includes the components listed above. As it's the very, very first thing EPIK coordinators will see of you--your ticket to an interview!--you'll want to be as thorough as possible in filling it out. The first six pages or so are house-keeping: educational background, work-experience, and the whole shebang. Keep format in mind as you run through the details.
I know most people are worried about their lesson plans and essays most of all, so I'll begin with those. As an update to my own EPIK process, I'd been invited to and passed the interview stage! Expect a post about that interview prep/experience as well as general feelings and emotions going forward. (Sneak-peak, I'm screaming.) Finally, to be transparent, I'd received feedback on my lesson plan due to its better application as a high-school lesson, so I'll tackle that further down as well.
Either way, this is what I did to get a positive result, and while I can't guarantee anything, I can share a little (or a lot) about what the initial application had been like for me...
Pedagogy and Reflection
We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience