I've been talking to my wife for a couple years casually about becoming a watchmaker, but it wasn't until just recently that I realized this is definitely what I want to do, and now I can't stop thinking about it. I think my situation might be a little complicated, so I will tell you and I'm hoping someone experienced can help by pointing me in the right direction.
I'm 28 years old, married to a Korean woman and living in Korea. I've lived here four years, married three of those, with a special VISA that allows me to live and work here indefinitely. I've basically settled down here and call it my home now, and I have made a career out of teaching English here. I should also mention that I have bought an apartment and a car, parts of the equation when thinking about whether to stay or move away for a long time.
I'm an American citizen, I have a BA in liberal arts and a Minor in Russian. I'm also getting my TESOL certification now (for teaching English to non-native speakers) which will be completed the end of July.
My wife thinks things are going well now, and I agree except for the fact that I know this isn't what I love to do. I can't go into it now, but just be assured I know watchmaking is what I want to do, and I'm willing to relocate and give up a career here for a chance to pursue this. I don't mean to sound corny, but it's been calling me more strongly each day to the point that it's all I can think about.
I've been looking into watchmaking schools and they are non-existent in Korea. I know there are some schools in the USA, but it seems like they don't accept many students and then it's mandatory to go to the school to take a test... which is quite impossible for me right now without taking a lot of time off of work and spending a ton of money. If I have to apply to multiple schools within the USA, then this idea becomes quiet impossible. But this is just as I understand it from my limited knowledge.
I would like more to go to Switzerland, but they too require going there to take a test before telling you if you're eligible or not. Someone told me that it's possible to go there and teach English (in Switzerland) and in during my teaching there I can attempt at applying to get in. This is a new option I hadn't thought about before.
Another option is to do an apprenticeship here in Korea. Is this a good idea? Would this be as well recognized as if I had received training from an established institution? Also, I'm not sure of the etiquette about contacting and negotiating such an arrangement with a master watchmaker. Should I pay? I've heard it should be done for free, but I can't imagine such a thing in this day and age, with the amount of time it would take on their part. Also, though I've only started the search this morning, finding watchmakers in Korea seems to be quite difficult. There are a lot of low level watchmakers who work for companies, but the number of professional, fully-trained watchmakers may prove to be very limited. But more time and searching is required to tell with this...
So, this is basically my situation. I was just hoping someone here maybe knew how best I should approach this. I'm very inexperienced with this, so any advice is welcomed!
Thank you so much for your help!