Alumni Spotlight: Megan-Paige Smith

Megan is an adventurous spirit. Always seeking out new opportunities and pushing herself out of her comfort zone.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I have always wanted to travel, but I did not want to stop working or put my career on hold. This program offers you the best of both worlds. You can travel and get to see all different parts of Korea and other Asian countries while working and building up your resume.

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

This program assisted me with general information about the documentation I needed. The program coordinators issued a checklist of documents, such as a criminal background check, certified degrees, etc. Thereafter gathering and collecting my documentation was then my responsibility.

They also organized the inland teaching program in South Korea, where my accommodation and the ins and outs of the TESOL course was organized for me.

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

Always be open-minded and have a positive attitude. This is truly a wonderful experience and it helps if you start off with a positive attitude. The Korean culture can, at times, be a big adjustment. Just remember they are trying to adjust to your culture as well.

Be respectful and be willing to learn.

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

During the TESOL course, an average week is jam-packed with an array of teaching classes and cultural tours. While getting your TESOL certificate, you are also learning about the Korean culture as well as exploring some popular tourist spots.

Once you are placed in your school, an average week would typically consist of 6-8 teaching hours per day during the week. Weekends and other holidays are perfect opportunities to travel and explore South Korea and even nearby Asian countries, like Japan. Each school is different, though, so working times all depend on the school you work for.

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

My biggest fear going into this experience was not being able to adjust to the Korean culture. However, this fear quickly evaporated once I had settled into my school. My co-teachers were a lovely group of ladies who taught me basic Korean etiquette. Also, learning a little bit of the language can go a long way and can help you assimilate yourself better. Simple phrases in Korean can help you call a taxi or ask for directions if you are lost and really can make a difference in a stressful situation.

Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?

If there is one thing I’d like prospective travelers to know is that the expat groups in South Korea are wonderful. They are filled with people that are all in the same boat as you and many have had ample experience.

Most groups have meetups and coffee sessions and hiking trips. These groups really help if you are looking to make friends or meet new people, and it was so much fun for me to try all different kinds of activities.