Hello world (friends and family)! Welcome to my pilot post!
I’m excited to start my blog about moving to and living in Daegu, South Korea. To get things started I’m going to talk about embarking on a crazy adventure for two reasons: 1) it seems like moving to Korea to teach English is wildly popular but everyone seems to get to this point in unique ways so I want to add my story to the numerous blogs out there, 2) should any poor soul happen across this blog looking for advice about getting the ESL in Korea process started I hope they find this information helpful.
So this is basically what happened [I’ll try to keep it concise but as any of my professors know… this is a challenge]: I graduated from a four-year university with a degree in English. That pretty much got the ball rolling. After fruitless attempts to break into the publishing community, I got a job through my neighbor at a medical services company scanning documents. Thrilling. One fine day, out of the blue, I texted my friend Maren who, somewhere in Boulder, CO, was also in a cubicle and wrote, “want to teach English abroad?” to which she replied, “yes!” or something to the effect. And honestly, that was it. We were both really unhappy with our post-graduate prospects and we had honestly tried to get the career of our dreams right out of the gate. I know this line is becoming a broken record, but the economy was really bad when we graduated… it still is. That is partly what this blog is about. Would I have traveled to a foreign country in the next year had the economy been better? Would I have chosen to actively become an expatriate if the promises my university made me had come to fruition? Would I be leaving for Korea in 3 weeks? I don’t know. I love traveling and was recently abroad. So yeah, I would probably be making another journey even if I did get my dream job. I love teaching and I love connecting with people so teaching abroad was certainly not out of the question. However, I do believe that, in part, I made this decision because I, like many others, was frustrated with what my country could currently offer me and my freshly minted degree and Korea can offer me more.
From a simple and slightly facetious text, Maren and I found ourselves trying to make a decision between Japan and Korea [my Uncle and his wife taught for a year in both countries and inspired me to look at these countries mainly] and after weighing the pros and cons of each we decided on Korea. The benefits were better, the demand seemed higher and therefore the position more valuable and the intrigue of living in a country that I knew nothing about is what helped us to decide on Korea.
After hours of research [especially on Maren’s part!] we decided to go through a recruiting company to get to EPIK. At first, we didn’t know we were getting to EPIK and we had to decide between private or public. I’ve now learned, this is a notorious question among NETs in and we decided the benefits of public [and the security of public] out-weighed the benefits of a Hogwan (Private School). I hesitate to talk too much about our experience with EPIK, our recruiting company, or public schools since I am still in the very beginning stages of experiencing all of these decisions. What a I will say is that so far I am satisfied with our experience with our recruiting company and I have been reassured that our decision to go with EPIK and public is a good one with many positive experiences to back that up. I’m excited to embark!
Whenever I tell someone I am leaving in less than a month to teach ESL in Korea they always ask the same thing: do you speak Korean? Why Korea? Do you know anything about Korea? Well, no… because it sounds fascinating… I’m learning. And I’ve learned a lot so far! I think I can say, with decent pronunciation, ‘hello,’ ‘thank you,’ and can answer the phone. Not a bad start. I really have to figure how to ask where the toilets are.
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