Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Random unexpected required writing assignment.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that this post is in response to:

Early Departure Home:* Regarding your grant end date, according to the contract, you are not allowed to terminate your contract before July 18 except in the case of "compelling circumstances". All of your flights will also be to your home address in the case of these circumstances. One of these compelling circumstances may be that your school has requested you finish teaching after finals or the last day of school is before July 18. Another example of a compelling circumstance is that you are entering a graduate program and the first date of class is before July 18. Examples of non-compelling circumstances: You want to go home early. You want to travel. You hate teaching. You are attending a graduate program that begins in August. You are starting a job before July 18. Keep in mind that the ETA grant is also a job that you have signed on to for a certain period of time and that in all of your pre-arrival forms you agreed not to schedule anything that interferes with the end of the grant date period.

Given the number of you who have requested early departures, we are beginning to question the degree to which your cases are compelling. Even if your schools have agreed, they do not all want you to leave early. It's just hard for them to say no. This is particularly true in cases such as Jeju, where the board of education has called us to ask what's going on and expressed concern. Please re-evaluate how compelling you think your reason is and send me a persuasive essay (no more than 350 words or 1.5 pages double spaced) within the next 2 weeks, by Tuesday May 13. If your case falls into one of the above compelling circumstances, please put it in writing and send it to me by this date, also.* Mrs. Shim reserves the right to deny your early departure if the case is not compelling, even if your school has already granted this leave, for failure to clear the first part of the early departure clause.* Those of you who do not submit this letter will automatically have their requests denied.

Christine Lim, ETA 44
Fulbright Korea Grantee 2007-2008

I understand that the ETA grant is a job that I signed on to for a certain period of time. However, I have also known since last year that I would fall under the category of people who request to leave before July 18th. The clause that allows grantees to leave as early as July 2nd if necessary was one of the main reasons I chose the ETA grant.

I am beginning law school in August. However, unlike other programs my program starts in the beginning of August rather than the end. The reason I am leaving Korea early is to prepare for school. To me, leaving July 2nd to enter a graduate program that begins before July 18th is not only foolish, but also somewhat suicidal.

To further explain my reasons for leaving early, I’ve spelled out my anticipated timeline once back in the states.
- July 2-9: Arrive home. Start getting over jetlag. Begin unpacking one year’s worth of life and organizing and repacking to move to another state. Go to doctor, dentist, etc.
- July 10-19: Look at apartments and sign lease. Start shopping for furniture for apartment.
- July 20-26: Assemble furniture. Begin moving into apartment. Set up for life in apartment (secure Internet, TV, etc.).
- July 27-31: Final cleaning of apartment. Move in for good. Gather materials for school.
- August 1: Orientation begins.
- August 3: Classes start.

I truly believe that preparing to enter graduate school requires a lot of time and preparation. Apartment hunting is not something I believe should be done solely over the Internet. Deciding where I’m going to live requires my presence in that city, inside the apartments. Also, coming off a year of saving my Fulbright stipends, I will be spending time shopping around for the most affordable furniture. Consequently, cheap furniture usually requires assembly and thus more time.

I did not “schedule” law school to interfere with the end of the ETA grant date period. This is something beyond my control that I am also bound to by contract. Technically, I signed my law school contract before the Fulbright Korea one, and I only signed the Fulbright Korea contract because it allows for early termination of our teaching duties.

Additionally, my school has known since last October that I would be leaving “early.” This is one reason I didn’t switch homestays over winter vacation when my hostbrother graduated from our school. My hostfamily agreed to keep me since I was leaving after only four more months of school. After the horror stories they’d heard about other ETA-homestay experiences, they were nice enough to spare me that risk. At this point, I feel it would be a surprise burden on both my homestay family and my school (they didn’t budget for either my stipend or the 400,000won for July for my homestay).

In case you do not find this compelling enough, I have a bevy of other reasons, not stated here due to the brevity requirement, but available upon request.

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