At long last, one of us has a job in Korea. Jen’s still waiting for a position, but I received an offer shortly after my first interview, with Avalon English School. If all the paperwork goes through smoothly, I’ll be headed to Korea in a little less than a month.
I wasn’t sure about my phone interview. It was conducted while I was on the road, right after wolfing down some ribs at the landmark barbecue restaurant Rendezvous in Memphis. I took the call and headed outside to an alley. My interviewer sounded like a disinterested American female, but I was told many interviewers will sound this way and it’s best to maintain enthusiasm despite their lack of it. She didn’t even say her first name. Combine this with the noisy alley and I felt an increasing lack of confidence.
I had little time to prepare for it, too. The night before hitting the road to visit Jen’s father in Arkansas, I received a call from Adventure Teaching and had to head out to a wifi hotspot around midnight so I could download the contract details. This is normal because Korea’s 14 hours ahead and it was daytime. What I wasn’t expecting was an essay prompt – 500 words on one of nine provided topics. I went with “Is torture ever justified?” and stayed up late arguing against Dick Cheney’s favorite talking points, then woke up early to go out and email it before we got on the road. At the end of the interview I asked about my essay and was told it hadn’t been received yet.
After that, I went back into the restaurant and hogged a fresh pitcher of beer, regretting my lack of preparation and overall poor form. Also, pitchers are good for crying into – I like to share the salty taste of my lamentations with others.
Almost a week later, back from Arkansas, I received an email with a job offer and a contract attached. The details are pretty standard for English teachers: Provided apartment, roughly $2,000 monthly salary, health insurance, airfare to and from Korea reimbursed by the employer, and severance pay. I read that Avalon is a particularly desirable private school to work for, so I signed the last page, scanned and emailed it back. Now I’m just waiting to find out exactly when I leave.
I was told the job would put me in Bundang, a city with very recent history. It was planned by Korean officials and the project wasn’t completed until 1996! From the city’s Wikipedia page:
The local government announced on April 27, 1989, that it would undertake construction of a futuristic and environmentally conscious city with a population of 450,000 people.
While I strongly believe in organic city growth and mixed zoning, I can definitely get behind environmentally friendly policies. That means I don’t have to own a car – a post for another day – and can expect clean air and water. Also, Wikipedia says “futuristic.” I’m keeping my fingers crossed for jet packs.
I’ll post more information as it comes. Sorry it took me so long to get this post up. In the meantime, be on the lookout for news about Jen. Adventure Teaching is trying to get her a job “in or around” Bundang.