Why did you decide to teach abroad through Adventure Teaching?
Ellie: I sent out a lot of resumes when I first set my heart on teaching in Korea. I received loads of responses and was completely overwhelmed by all the different directions I could go.
When I finally stumbled upon AT, many things about their program resonated with me. The website portrayed them as straightforward and determined to find suitable placements at trust worthy schools, and this is exactly what I found when I started working with them on my future.
My recruiter and I spent a lot of time on the phone chatting and getting to know one another. She was interested in my experiences teaching and traveling. She wanted to know what I was looking for, why I wanted to teach abroad, and what I was expecting to get out of it. We shared stories of things we've done and places we've been, things completely unrelated to the task at hand - landing me my perfect job (which she eventually did).
Making the move is a big jump for anyone, AT understands that. Finding a job was the first step, but after that the reality sets in.
Visa applications, gearing up to leave the country, learning about cultural differences, and deciding what to pack. Adventure Teacher was there every step of the way.
I chose to work with Adventure Teaching because they made me feel comfortable and confident in one of the biggest decisions of my life (thus far). When making a decision that big, doing it with people you trust watching your back is important.
What made teaching abroad in Korea unique and special?
Ellie: After getting my degree in Elementary Education, I started looking into opportunities teaching English abroad. Turns out, there are tons. So many countries, so many opportunities, and so many different directions my life could take. Before looking into locations, South Korea never crossed my mind. I knew virtually nothing about the place before my extensive internet research led me to the conclusion that it was an amazing place to live and teach abroad. Once I started learning more, however, it became painstakingly clear that this country is where I was supposed to be. The next month was spent researching the culture, swooning over photos of the unreal mountainous landscape, and learning to read Hangul. Little did I know how enjoyable my time would be here. Settling into the swing of things was a piece of cake. It immediately felt like home. Every single day is a new adventure, filled with new experiences and new interactions. Small old men on the street jump at the opportunity to use what little English they speak. I shop at a street market a few blocks down from my street. Even though I see it virtually everyday, it still amazes me each time. The people are kind, the children I work with are hilarious, and my coworkers are ridiculously helpful. I have made forever friends, Koreans and foreigners alike. The opportunities to travel the country are endless. There are countless festivals celebrating everything you can think of - fireworks, green tea, cherry blossoms, mud. The quality of life here makes it easy to be happy.
How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, academically, etc.)
Ellie: Having the courage to pick up your roots and move abroad says a lot about a person. Having the ability to adapt to a new environment, to be flexible and open-minded are traits that I feel are important for many careers.
I've learned so many things about myself through this journey. I've developed myself personally and professionally.
Teaching is my passion. Being able to understand and experience differences in education across the globe is a priceless opportunity.
Seeing my profession from a different angle has given me a well-rounded perspective.
Not everything I learned in school is applicable in Korea, nor will methods work or be accepted the way that they were back home.
As difficult as it may be at times, there is no better way to grow than by challenging yourself.
What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering teaching abroad in Korea?
Ellie: Come with an open mind and heart. Take every opportunity to embrace and emerge yourself into the culture. The opportunity doesn't come along everyday and time flies by faster than you can imagine (especially when you are having a good time). Keep in mind, the differences extend far past language barriers and cuisine. You will start to notice little differences. The way people interact at school, work, and in public. Use these experiences to help you understand your cultural from a difference perspective. Take it all in, and take it day by day. Stay present and observant. Travel and explore every nook and cranny you can find. Take advantage of every aspect!