Alumni Spotlight: Lucas Barker

Lucas is an expat from the U.S. living in Daegu, South Korea. He has been a middle school and high school English teacher since February 2016.

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Why did you choose this program?

I did not exactly choose this program. My TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification was through Oxford Seminars. Oxford Seminars offers graduate placement which lead to my contact with Korean Horizons. Korean Horizons services, prompt responses, and interests in me is what lead me to choose the EPIK program.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Korean Horizons provided me with all the information necessary to start teaching abroad. They emailed me the required paperwork in addition to advice on how to fill out the forms. This kind of help was invaluable for someone that had never left the country before. Moreover, Korean Horizons offered mock interviews and key feedback to prepare me for the interview process. That being said, there is plenty of leg work on the applicant end such as getting necessary paperwork notarized and having it apostille in a timely manner.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

The transition from a biweekly paycheck to a monthly salary was a new experience. So, be prepared to budget accordingly!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The workday is 8:20-16:20 Monday-Friday in addition to teaching a night class once a week at the local high school for 2 hours.

Note: The high school night class is not a typical requirement of EPIK teachers. I was offered the additional hours and accepted them.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was teaching. I had no prior experience and was very concerned about my ability. Fortunately, I reflect on every class and constantly look for ways to improve. Moreover, if something does not work I change it and if something does work I make sure to take note of why it was successful.

What's the most important thing you need to remember when living abroad?

You have to be willing to laugh at yourself and not dwell on mistakes. You are going to fail a lot and that is okay. There's no way to improve without making a mistake. Be prepared to learn and grow with your experiences and remember why you came in the first place.