Okay, so I understand that I fell off the radar with everyone for a while there. Allow me to explain.
The last few weeks I have been looking for jobs, but unfortunately, things haven't been going quite how I hoped. Long story short, a few jobs fell through and with my visa closer to expiration by the day, finding legal employment in the Czech Republic looks unlikely. I think Uncle G will forgive my recycling to explain further:
Basically you get 90 days after entry to file for a work visa, and the application takes around 30 days to prepare (sometimes longer, as I've found out). As September 5th marks 60 days, I'm in a bit of a bind. Taking the course sapped 30 days and then the interviewing process took around 3 weeks. I had been frantically searching for openings at schools that would be willing to give me a shot at this point, but nothing promising came along until a few days ago.
I got referred by a TEFL Worldwide employee to a school that has an opening. The catch is that I probably wouldn't be able to get the visa through in time, meaning I would have to work illegally. At many schools, this is not a problem, and perhaps a third or more of the teachers here in Prague have no visa and work illegally. This comes with downsides: a) it is impossible to leave the country, as you would be refused re-entry if your passport were to be checked by an authority; b) you pay taxes that you never recover; c) you have no health insurance; d) you risk deportation at any moment, once they track you, immigration police come to your door and inform you that you have 3 days to leave the country.
Many people get away with this and live fine with it. I weighed my options, and decided that perhaps a big ol' plan B operation may be in order.
I recently got in contact with a recruiter in Korea that found a job for a friend of mine here and can help place me just about wherever I prefer at better-than-average wages (an option that I didn't really have without my certificate when I was looking before). The salaries are more than double over there (~$2,500+), they pay for your plane fare to and from AND they provide single-apartment housing with utilities. I hear cost of living is low, so there is a possibility of being able to save around a few G's a month. Compared to Prague where my housing taps nearly half my 20,000 crown ($1,000USD) salary, leaving little left over for spending let alone paying my loans, it seems like a practical choice. I was agreeable to going there before and I still am. At the moment, I have two friends from UMass in Korea, and this morning I spoke with Domhnall on Skype (he's in Tokyo, Japan at the moment) and with the Japanese job situation not exactly what he hoped, he may be heading to Korea as well.
SO. Last night I booked a flight back to Boston, as I need to return to the U.S. to get visa paperwork/consulate interviews for Korea in order. My plan is to regroup, make a necessary preparations, and hopefully land a job sometime in late September/early October. I will have a job, an apartment, and a plane ticket handed to me by an employer and I'll be off.
My thoughts are that the culture shock that awaits in Asia will make for some good material. I'm excited.
And if anyone has concerns about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Ill and his bottle-rocket experiments, rest assured, teenage boys have posed more serious threats to national security.