Why did you choose this program?
After visiting South Korea in 2019 on holiday, I wanted to come out and giving living in Korea a chance. I have wanted to move countries for a while and was looking at a country that did not have English as a first language as I wanted to challenge myself. Having taught abroad before I knew I wanted to do that again.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I was assisted all the way through my application. I had actually reached out a year before I intended on moving and the team were supportive and gave me all the information on what documents I needed, support on which route to Korea would be best for me and even answered my questions on what to pack. They were well informed and this meant I was able to get most of my documents ready in advance.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I would tell them to do a lot of research on the country and to really think about if teaching is the right route for them. You have the opportunity to give Korean children a good impression of English and as you will be spending a lot of time teaching you should actually want to and or like children. I would say you should also be open and flexible as things change often at work and sometimes communication is limited.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
A typical week for me is Monday- Friday 8:30am-4:30pm. I teach 5 classes everyday, each class is 40 minutes long. I have 6 classes in each grade and teach grades 3-6 at just one elementary school.
I teach between 9:10am-12:55pm everyday and after lunch spend the rest of the time lesson planning for the following week. I very rarely have to spend evenings or weekends lesson planning.
Our school has a private English office where my two co-teachers and I are located.
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 was being alone and that I would have a hard time communicating with my co-teachers and just people in general as my Korean is limited. While I can read Korean with no problem, I am very afraid to speak and my grammar is limited.
Luckily you are put into contact with other teachers in your town so you are not alone. Mostly these individuals will be super friendly and up to travel around and hangout with. I also have amazing co-teachers who speak great English and who are all very chatty and friendly. I think you have to put yourself out there. If you are introverted and shy I think you will have a difficult time as you have to remember everyone is super busy so if you have questions or want to hang out with others you have to make the effort on your side as it wont just happen. Instagram is also a great way to connect with other people. I slide into loads of DMs and have made some great friends that way. I would also advice going on some group tours, it is a great way to see the country, do cool stuff and meet people who have amazing stories on how they ended up in that particular country.
I have also found that the locals are super helpful, the older men and women are always directing me around and some are very excited to flex the limited English they know. Just don't be put off they may look angry but they are not.
Any additional advice?
My advice for anyone wanting to come to Korea is to do it but to brace yourself! Despite being very first world, there are many differences and you need to be really open minded. Many ways of doing things are different from back hope and might not always seem logical, from signing into apps to the school booking leave system, so you just have to be patient.
If you are applying for a teaching programme, I would say you should like children and should want to do a good job at that. You are a role model and your students will look up to you and and dote on you. There are so many resources available online to help you do a great job.
Finally put yourself out there, I have met so many amazing people here, both local and foreign who have made my time here worthwhile, but that wold not have been possible if I did not reach out and make contact. You are the master of your own fate, no one is going to do the work for you so you have to jump in at every possible chance to make friends!