The AT is different for each person…



This made me smile.

I’m working hard to secure an overseas teaching assignment. I have a verbal agreement with a school in Vietnam. The school is located outside Saigon (now called Ho Chi Minh City) and classes are predominately evenings and weekends.  I am trying to learn a few simple words and phrases in Vietnamese so I can at least say hello, thank you and I’m sorry when I arrive. It’s a very tough language and I suspect I will be the comic relief of the entire school. If I’m successful at securing the job, I’ll be doing SAT prep for high school students who want go to college in the USA. While I’ll work with students on English conversation, much of my classroom focus will be SAT math and science prep. So in addition to learning a new language, I’m reviewing Algebra, Geometry & Chemistry (which is going quite well) and Physics & Trigonometry (which I am NOT doing so well with).

Since I only have a verbal agreement with the school in Vietnam, I am continuing to look through other teaching opportunities, but they are only back up options. Verbal agreements are probably worth the paper they aren’t printed on. So……Just in case.

But, frankly, none of the above is as difficult as wading through the documentation needed to get a work visa. New global regulations have gone into place in the last couple years, mostly to combat terrorism and false documents. New words have joined my vocabulary, especially Apostille. It’s a French word for an authentication process and I need one for my college diploma to prove it’s real and not a fake created on the internet. That’s taken a month, but should be delivered this week.  I’ll also need a health check (which I can do in country), copy of my passport (got that) and my TEFL certificate (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).

The item that’s taking so much time is the FBI background check. First I need the background check, Then I need the apostille for the background check. So far, two sets of fingerprints have been rejected. The ridges on my fingers don’t show up well. Clearly, I should have been a thief. I sent a third set of inked prints last week through a channeler: someone who should speed the process along (from 6 weeks to one) but also charge four times the usual price. This (I hope and pray) will be back this coming week. Next I’ll pay a small Washington DC firm to speed through my apostille–which will take another 5 business days and more money than I’m willing to admit to. Ugh.

But at least I’ll have it done and will be ready to move onto the next steps. I’m ready to move from the red tape to the real adventure.

For those interested in teaching English outside the US, this blog post was one of the few I found helpful with the process. If you’d like to be confused AND have lots of time (or a desire to cure insomnia) go straight to the FBI website.

This is what a background check should look like. Suspect all mine says is "Mostly Harmless."
This is what an FBI background check should look like. Suspect all mine says is “Mostly Harmless.”

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I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

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