Otherwise known as "the time I thought I was going back to America". I went over how I got my job at Digital eMation, a Korean animation company, here. I also did a follow-up post. So, now that I have the job, I needed to get the appropriate visa. When you go to Korea as a native English teacher, you have an E-2 visa. When you come as a specialist in certain industries, you need to get an E-7 visa. There are several things you need when applying for an E-7 visa and you can read about them here. I can tell you right now, that neither me nor my vice president knew about all of this so that’s what made the trip a little interesting.
We get to the immigration office and I have my passport, my ID card, my resume and whatever documents my vice president brought to represent Digital eMation’s end of the deal, such as the employment contract and what not. We’re waiting...we’re waiting. We get to the desk and the guy we’re dealing with asked what job I’m getting the visa for. My VP let him know it was for a 3D artist. So, he gets out this humongous book and starts searching for the job title. He’s looking...he’s looking. He’s like, nope, it’s not in here. I’m thinking, “Oh no!” I’m going back home. I thought I found my dream job and I may be going back to America instead. Essentially, I’m freaking out.
Luckily, my VP had a cooler head. She didn’t take no for an answer. She told the guy to keep looking in the book. It’s in there. So he keeps looking and he eventually finally finds it. Woo! *wipes brow* He sees the requirements for that position and asks for the documentation. He looks at my resume and says that for this position, I need letters proving that I’ve had one year of work experience in my field. Rut roh! I don’t have that. I don’t know what it was, but the Korean gods were looking down upon my head because he told us about the computers off to the side and said I could type up some letters and bring them back over to him. Thank you, Mr. Immigration Man!
So, I took some of my actual work experience and elongated some time frames. I contacted two people I had worked with to let them know that if they are called in reference to the jobs I worked with them on, I extended the time frames so I could get my visa. They were both cool with it. We finished typing up the letters, printed them out and brought them back over to the desk. My visa was on its way to being processed.
From the surface, it doesn’t seem like this was that big of a deal, but I had already worked in Korea for a year so I had learned some things about Koreans and Korean culture. When my grandmother passed away, I learned that my some of my co-teachers didn’t consider me worthy of bereavement so I definitely “got” that “one blood” mentality from that experience and others. So for me, the fact that my vice president fought so hard to get my visa processed was a big deal for me and she’ll always be my hero for that.
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