So let me just start by saying I’m terrible at blogging. I’ve had blogs on and off since probably 1999, and I always get to a point where I don’t update. Hopefully I can keep this going!
I thought I would start by answering some of the most common questions I’ve been getting about Korea.
What are you going to do there?
Teaching for the EPIK program – English Program in Korea.
Why Korea, and not another country?
There are a lot of reasons I chose South Korea. I could go on forever so I’ll just say a few.
1. They pay well. More than any other country I researched. They pay for my apartment, and my flights. It seemed like the best opportunity to live well while saving a lot of money!
2. It’s small and easy to get around. I’ll be able to experience the whole country while I’m there. They also have everything available there I could want to do from skiing, to laying on the beach, hiking, culture, entertainment, music, etc. Really, they have everything!
3. South Korea was never a place I ever would have thought of to visit. I knew someday I would travel to China, Japan, Thailand, etc. I knew hardly anything about South Korea, so I thought “Hey, How about living there?” It also provides a good home base to travel to other countries while I’m over there!
4. Schedule – Normal working hours M-F. About 20 hours teaching a week and the rest “lesson planning” or “desk warming” as I’ve heard current EPIK teachers calling it.
Where are you going to live? Do you have to find an apartment when you get there?
The school is setting me up with an apartment. Go on YouTube and search for “english teacher apartment in s. korea” if you are curious what they are like. I have been placed in Gyeongbuk province in Korea. I won’t find out which town or city until orientation. Scary, yes! But I knew this could happen when I signed up for this, so I’m up for whatever. The great thing is, I don’t have to pay rent. The school is responsible for furnishing and paying for the apartment. I will also get extra money to buy things for the apartment, or the school will take me shopping. I will be responsible for all the utilities, internet, etc. in the apartment.
How long will you be gone? Can you come home?
My contract is February 2012-February 2013, so I’ll be gone at least one year. There are options to extend, and renew, but I can’t really say yet how I’ll be feeling in a year. Maybe I’ll want to come home, maybe I’ll want to stay, or move on to another country. We’ll see! I probably won’t come home within the first year unless it’s an emergency. It’s expensive and I’ll have to pay for it myself, so it would be very hard to do.
What are you bringing?
Packing is hard, but since I’m a small person I’m hoping I will be one of the few who can fit into Korean sized clothes. I’ll probably have to loose some weight, but I’m totally fine with that! I’m bringing enough clothes to fill one giant suitcase (not to exceed 50lbs), and another smaller suitcase plus 2 carry-ons. It will be mostly clothes. I’ve been doing a lot of research, and it looks like most things I can just buy there. Also bringing my laptop, iphone, and a few other random things.
What school will you be at, and what age will you be teaching?
I won’t find out until orientation. Kind of crazy, but I’m up for whatever I get. It’s all about the adventure! I put elementary as my first choice, and given all my experience I will hopefully get placed at an elementary school, but I really have no idea.
What is the weather like?
Korea has four seasons, so it will be winter when I get there and will be very cold for awhile. Yes, I hate the cold and I am super worried I will freeze to death. Summer will be hot and very humid, even worse than a Texas summer so I’m told. Spring and Fall are supposed to be pretty nice.
You are aware where South Korea is right? Awfully close to North Korea…
Yes, I know and it has not really been a concern for me.