This weekend my brother came home from Long Island so we could all have one last dinner together as a whole family! We ate at a place in my hometown where I had my last meal at before I studied abroad to Korea in 2017. We also ate here when I was notified of my Fulbright finalist status! It will be over a year until I see my brother again.
The goodbyes have started. I’ve been staggering my goodbyes with different friends every few days and although it’s been emotional, it’s been positive and hopeful. Although I have some apprehensions leaving for a year, my friends have all remained super supportive and have expressed how proud they are of me. It makes me so happy to know that I have such thoughtful, close-knit friends in my life. They mean the world to me and I’m happy that they’re only a text away.
I also had my last goodbye with the faculty at the high school I student taught at this year. We went to trivia night at our local bar. There’s this digital jukebox at the bar where you can use an app to add songs to. After multiple failed attempts, my co-workers were finally able to get the Korean national anthem to play over the sound system at the bar, which is honestly nuts. But we felt triumphant. I would ask for no other kind of send off from them.
As for other business, I only just got half way through with my TEFL course, so these next few days will be spent grinding through the entire course. It’s a little bit upsetting because I rather be spending this time with friends and family that I’m not going to see for the next year. I’m going to pick up my visa tomorrow in NYC. I sent the tax exemption form out but have gotten no response. I also redid my fingerprints for the FBI and received my results back within the day. Now all I have to do is apostille it and I’ll be good to go. I still need to make a few copies of my passport photos to give for my ARC at Incheon airport. I also made a little shopping list of some small things I need to pick up before I fly out.
This time next week, I’ll be starting my new life on the other side of the planet with a new group of friends. A new family. A new school.
I’m kind of freaking out because my fingerprints were rejected by the FBI for being “too messy”. They recommend I get them digitally scanned since there’s less room for error, but I’m not really sure how to do that since I have to print them on a specific fingerprint card. I reached out to some people in my Korea cohort to see what they did and I got responses within minutes! Many used an FBI channeler, which usually costs around ~$50. I think I might just spend the money and go the same route considering the free way did not totally work out for me Using an FBI Channeler would be faster and also more secure.
I also still need to fill out IRS Form 8802. A lot of people in my cohort have been having issues with understanding it and filling it out. Someone in our group posted this guide to completing it. It goes into a lot of details and de-mystifies it a bit. Better finish that up soon…
I still haven’t applied for my visa yet (I know, there’s been a lot going on, ok?) so hopefully I can do that this Monday. Last time I applied for a Visa at the Korean Embassy in NYC it was pretty simple and I received it about a week later, so I’m not too concerned?
And the biggest, most daunting thing is to finish my 120 hour TEFL course in time before I leave! I only just started Unit 3 and it’s 20 units!
Yeah… you could say I really have my work cut out for me…
I’m going to try SUPER hard to keep this blog maintained while I’m in Korea.
Not Fulbright or Korea related, but I figured I should get used to writing my thoughts down either way so I’m going to talk about graduating!
Yesterday I graduated Ramapo and everyone keeps asking me how I feel. Is it bad that it hasn’t really hit me yet? I had a bit of an anti-climactic end to the semester. Because I was student teaching, I was only really there once a month to meet with my teaching cohort. And not to mention, this is the first time ever that I had absolutely zero finals. So going to graduation just felt a bit… strange. Part of me feels like I already left Ramapo a while ago.
A lot of big things are changing, and for once I’m kind of just enjoying the ride. I definitely have my work cut out for me in completing all my docs and forms for Fulbright (which I’m honestly falling behind on). Tomorrow is my graduation party and I promised myself that after that, I’ll register for the TESOL course and get my fingerprints done for the FBI background check. Honestly, it’s kind of hard to feel like I “graduated” when I still have a pile of work to do…
Maybe it’ll hit me later. For now, I’m going to try to make posts at least once a week. Hopefully that carries on throughout my time in Korea!
A personal journal and gallery of my 2019-2020 South Korea Fulbright ETA experience!
OnePaigeAtATime is not an official site of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State. The views expressed on this site are entirely those of Paige Timmerman and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.