The EPIK Interview- My Experience

Last week EPIK closed applications for Fall 2017. Which means that there are still many people waiting to hear if they have gotten an interview and whether they have passed. Here is an account of my interview experience for everyone either curious or waiting nervously for their own!

Even after several interviews with hagwons and watching every vlog and reading every blog on the subject, I was still incredibly nervous! My interview was scheduled for 6am UK time so I woke up at 5am to make sure I was awake and alert enough for it. (The early start was no issue for me as I wake up that early daily for work already). At 5.30am I was already set up on the computer and fully tested the Skype video and audio. Whilst I waited, I watched some more interview tips vlogs.

6am on the dot, I get a message from a co-ordinator asking if I was ready. I said yes and then answered the video call.

The first 10/15 minutes of the interview focused on my application. I was advised on what mistakes I had made and how to correct them. My personal essays didn’t require any attention (yay!), but I did have a lot of constructive feedback on my lesson plan. It was my first one aside from one I wrote for my TEFL, and I went wrong by making the lesson too boring. I was given a lot of great advice from the co-ordinator to make the lessons a lot more fun and full of games.

The next 10 minutes of the interview was an actual interview. I was asked about dealing with culture shock, how I would make a class fun, how I would cope with co-teachers and how far I had gotten with gathering the required documents. My co-ordiator seemed to like all of my answers and especially liked how far I had gotten with gathering the documents.

After this, he then discussed the next stages of the process and then asked me if I had any questions. I did have questions, I had prepared a list of them! However they ended up being answered throughout the course of the interview! Embarrassed, I lifted up my list to the camera and explained I had no other questions. The co-ordinator laughed and said not to worry. The interview ended after being told when I should hear back by. The whole process lasted around a half hour.

For the next few days, I was really unsure if I would pass or fail. The criticism of my lesson plan had me panicking, but I also remembered how well I had answered the interview questions.

My worries were for nothing as I found out I passed 2 days later!

I’m sure if you are waiting for your own interview that you have read thousands of tips and advice, but here are my tips:

1- SMILE SMILE SMILE!

2- Be honest. When my lesson plan was being reviewed, I was honest in explaining it was my first try, and that I am open to criticism and advice.

3- Research the culture. When I was asked about working with co-teachers, I already knew a lot about how the work structure and hierarchy works in Korea, so I could answer the question with confidence.

4- Prepare questions. Even if they get answered during the course of the interview, show that you did prepare some.

5- Be yourself. EPIK do not want robots. They want exciting individuals that can hold a classes attention and can do the hard work.

6- Breathe. It’s super nerve wracking going into the interview, but you will find yourself relaxing into it after talking for a few minutes.

7- Enjoy it! How many people can say they had an online job interview for a position on the other side of the world? Enjoy the craziness of it!

Best of luck to everyone preparing for their interview! Feel free to leave your own advice in the comments, or ask myself any questions.

캡짱!

Meg x

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The Beginning of the Adventure.

So how does a girl from Liverpool end up deciding to make the life changing decision to move to South Korea!

Well I can tell you that I didn’t just wake up one morning and decided to up and leave!

The journey begins just after Christmas in 2016. I had just ended a 5 and half year relationship and was living with the realisation that I have never pursued any of my big dreams. I was turing 27 soon and many of my friends were getting married, having children, or having fulfilling careers. I began seriously rethinking the way I was living my life and why I hadn’t pursued my dreams of travelling to the Far East. And the answers pretty much came down to one word- Money. I have always lived a hand-to-mouth existence and traveling was always out of my budget. However, with the recent upheaval in my life, I was determined not to let something like money stop me anymore!

I began doing research into getting working visas and what job opportunities there is for English speaking people in countries such as Korea and Japan. And that was when I discovered TEFL.

And my life changed.

Tefl stands for teaching English as a foreign language, and here before me was a way to not only travel, but also meet new people, teach future generations and even make some money along the way!

After extensive research, I knew this is something I wanted. I enrolled on a online tefl course to get my qualification and at the same time I started applying for recruitment agencies in South Korea. At this point it was February 2017.

During the rest of February and March, I started gathering all the documents I would need for my applications. (I will write a separate post all about gathering the documents as a UK applicant).

In April, I also sent of an application to EPIK (the government ran English program in Korea). I was originally going to sunmit to EPIK through one of my recruiters, because they look over your application before sending it to the official program, however due to being told conflicting deadline dates and one of my letters of recommendation taking a very long time to get hold off, I missed the deadline by 3 HOURS. At the time, I was pissed. Especially as this was a recruitment agency that pretty much everyone recommends! However, in the end, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I sent off my application directly to EPIK with little hope, and also during April I had a few interviews with hagwons (private schools), but none of these went well.

At the end of April, I got the surprise of my life when I got an email informing me that I had passed the first stage of the EPIK application, and I had an interview offer! All of a sudden, all my optimism came right back and I put my all into preparing for the interview of my life.

I will do a post all about the interview process, but in mid May, I had the great news that I had passed! After a bit more correspondence with my co-ordinator, I shipped of my documents to South Korea, and today they had arrived there!!

Missing the recruiters deadline was such a blessing in disguise because I am hearing that applicants that submitted through recruiters are still waiting for hear if they have even got an interview offer!

Now for me it is the waiting game whilst I wait to hear if I will get a place with my preferred province (Gwangju). So to prevent myself from tearing my hair out whilst waiting, I decided to make a blog to record my own journey and to hopefully help others with their own.

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask! And please follow my blog because I plan to write many posts on other aspects of the application, and also the next stages of the journey.

호이팅!

Meg x