Unique Travel Opportunities Available
Have you ever dreamed over cultivating mushrooms in South Korea? How about speaking French while working among penguins in the Arctic? A South Korean visa and a French research institute have one thing in common – they both need candidates who fit very particular requirements. If you happen to be qualified and you’re looking for a memorable experience, consider these unique options.
South Korea’s F-4 Visa
With South Korea’s F-4 visa, immigrants can renew in a local office instead of returning to their country. While normally their immigration laws are strict, the F-4 visa provides a loophole, specifically for foreigners who can trace their lineage to South Korea. Qualified candidates can obtain an F-4 if they fulfill extremely specific requirements – such as being a business owner, a scholarship student, or a bread maker. As of February 2012 candidates can apply for an F-4 if they are highly-skilled in an approved field.
One of the easiest tests to pass is the “Craftsman Mushroom Seeds” exam. This has led to an unexpected phenomenon – waves of visa hopefuls learning about fungi. Signs across South Korea advertise schools specifically designed for passing the test. Others buy study guide books that allow test-takers to coach themselves. Even with intense preparation, this class is not an easy A. Students typically study 60 to 80 hours and most fail the first part, a written exam. Those who make it to the second part, which involves lab work, stand a much higher chance of passing with a 94.2% success rate. While the majority of graduates don’t go on to become mushroom farmers, those sincerely interested are welcome to help expand the industry.
Work in Antarctica
If you’re more interested in a colder climate, The Paul-Emile Victor Polar Institute needs French-speakers to round out their staff. While applications from biologists are abundant, the Institute struggles to fill 40 positions in its six bases. All candidates are required to speak French, as three of the bases are located on France’s sub-Antarctic islands Kerguelen, Crozet and Amsterdam. The Institute also resides in the Arctic’s Spitzberg base as well as two bases in Antarctica.
The jobs aren’t just for scientists. Many live on the bases full-time, so the Institute needs a support staff that includes titles from carpenters to mechanics and pastry chefs. Female candidates stand an even better chance since in the past, men drastically outnumber women. One base, Dumont d’Urville in Antarctica, only has six women compared to 24 men.
Of course, the drastic freezing temps mean that working in these facilities isn’t for the faint of heart. Employees must stay at the bases anywhere from 12 to 14 months straight. An applicant faces a medical exam with a psychological evaluation, as they’ll need to work with a small group on a remote base. Temperatures go down to negative hundred degrees (Fahrenheit), but they can also go up to bearable summer temps on some bases. If you thrive in nature and long to see the North (or South) Pole, this could be the life-changing opportunity for you.