Friday, August 14, 2009

My Notice of Appointment -- aka NOA -- arrived today . . .

My Notice of Appointment arrived in the mail today from Korea. I read through other letters that were inside the package . . . and had to laugh when I read "Korea has four distinct seasons and they are typically different. Although Seoul offers numerous shopping districts, it is advisable that you prepare your clothes accordingly to the seasonal changes." I really wonder when the 'myth of four distinct seasons' will stop being used to give Korea some kind of special uniqueness that it already possesses within its authentic culture and history . . . probably long after I've left Korea I imagine.

Something else caught my eye in the letter: "Because of the new laws in Korea, we require these two screenings from every Native English Teacher." The new laws being referred to here are about HIV and drug testing for foreign teachers as part of the hiring and immigration paperwork process . . . as far as I know the law pertaining to this still hasn't been passed and signed by the National Assembly of Korea--anybody know if the testing is still only based on immigration policy not backed up by law?

Brian in Jeollonamdo's blog wrote about this issue this past June, (Updated) Taking E-2 visa regs to court.

If you're coming to Korea you should become more informed about topics like this. Brian, and others, have posted a link to the human rights report that was put together by Professor Benjamin Wagner. See Brian's post, Must read: NHRCK Report, "Discrimination Against Non-Citizens in the Republic of Korea in the Context of the E-2 Foreign Language Teaching Visa." and give it a read through.

Has something actually been passed into law regarding the HIV and drug testings as part of the E2 Visa process? Anybody know?

Regardless of all that I'll still be getting the HIV and drug test because this is part and parcel of what you do if you choose to live and work in Korea. I may not like it, but there's no real wiggle room on this issue.

The funny thing about the drug test is that nobody in a position of power seems to know what drugs are supposed to be tested for. I've tried to find out if there is a standard medical check form that native teachers are supposed to get when they go for their medical and to date nobody that has been asked at immigration offices and hospitals has any idea about it. This is puzzling when the general public seems to have such concerns about the ethical and moral 'qualifications' of foreign English teachers coming to Korea . . . one has to ask if this is such a major concern why a more organized and standardized approach has not been created to be used across the country . . .

One other thing that caught my eye in stuff I was reading today was in the E2 visa checklist form that the Consulate asks foreign teachers to fill out: "17) Are OR were you HIV (AIDS) positive?" I just skimmed through the HIV wikipedia entry just to see if there was something wrong with my memory; I can't believe the question has "were you" in it . . . is this a translation error? or some kind of . . . something? Really . . . I'm speechless. The thing that really just knocks me out cold is that the form has this at the top, "This form is to check the qualifications of the native teacher who applied for E-2 Visa. Please correctly and truthfully answer the following questions" (italics mine). I have developed a real 'fondness' for the word 'qualifications' and all of its variations . . . really, I love it.

Anyways, I headed out today to get extra copies of my university transcripts. It was a pretty nice day. I wish there was a bit more to look at and occupy myself with when waiting for the bus other than this view.

Back o' the bus . . . lol.

You know you're bored when . . .

Almost at UWO we drive by Althouse College, a pretty prestigious teachers college in Ontario.

Alumni Hall on UWO campus. I took the "Super Psych" course in here with 1200 other students. It was an awesome course.

This is the path that runs up to the University Community Center and library, etc.

Thames Hall--I had to do a couple of final exams in here, ugh.

And then I saw this little guy chilling out on the grass. I was trying to creep up even closer but someone walking by proved to be too much for him and he took off into the bushes.

The building in the background is where I took the majority of my English courses.

This is the UCC (University Community Center). I didn't realize it but they've built a new addition to the left and out of sight where the Student Services office has relocated to.

Here's the new Student Services office. This was long overdue as the older location was small and when semesters begin and end the lineups can be INSANE. At least now it looks like they have the space they need.

And, yes, back to the bus stop. I don't know how much accumulated time I've spent waiting at this particular bus stop but I'm pretty sure it's over 100 hours . . .

I noticed that they now have a digital schedule for all the bus routes that stop here, and it tells you how many minutes until the bus arrives--cool.

I decided to stop in at Westmount Mall - aka Dead Mall - to grab a bite to eat. I noticed the blind dog training center. I might go back some other time and see if they'll let me take some more pictures.

It looks like they've got a good setup. And the dogs are gorgeous.

After eating I decided to check out the new ginormous movie theater behind the mall.

There's a small arcade inside the main foyer.

Pretty nice. I think this is where I'm going to finally go see G.I. Joe and possibly District 9 this weekend.


Well, time to go see if there's anything on TV.


No comments: