After finishing University, I wanted to take a year to work overseas before jumping into the
mundane career world in my native Country. I wanted to travel and experience living in another country, absorbing as much of the culture as I could. I chose to get my TEFL certificate through ITTT for it was cost efficient, I could work at my own pace, and the program had great reviews so I knew it was something I could trust.
After completion of the TEFL course I chose to apply to Canadian Connection, a program that sets you up with housing and an overseas school to work at, while guiding you every step of the way. Canadian connection also provided a 'get to know you' session and taught the basics of Korean culture before living there. Once in South Korea I had a 1 week training session with fellow certified teachers from all over the globe.
I was placed at a school about 1 hour outside of Seoul (Gyeyang, Incheon) and from there began to put my TEFL training into practice.
Living and working in South Korea was an experience of a life time! Although challenging in the beginning, once I allowed myself to get comfortable and fully embraced the culture and way of living in a foreign Country I truly began to enjoy myself and take in all South Korea had to offer. I met many foreign teachers life myself (called, waygooks) at the orientation the first week in Korea and we bonded instantly, I spent a good amount of time exploring Korea and South East Asian Countries with many of these people. Travelling is something we all had in common, and a great contributor to why we chose to work in a foreign Country in the first place.
Korea has an extensive history, amazing food, 24/7 night life, endless noreabang rooms (karaoke), the biggest christian church in the world (a must go to), numerous mountains for hiking, a plethora of beaches, weekly festivals in different towns, an amazing subway transportation system that will get you anywhere you need to go within an hour and did I mention how kind the people were?
It is safe, very clean (Korean people are meticulous with clean streets), and very welcoming to English speaking people!
Choosing only to stay a year was not an easy decision, it is very easy to be swept away by Korean culture, and I have many friends who stayed for 2 + years teaching ESL. I went over with a few goals; teach, learn as much as I could about the culture, make life-long friends, travel as much as I could (in and out of Korea), eat as much Korean food as I could (you won't get anything like it when you move back home) and ultimately grow as an individual. I was able to check off all these things on my list plus some! My time working and living overseas in Korea allowed to me gain a new understanding and confidence of where I wanted to go later in life and new things I wanted to achieve. Korea challenged me to be more independent, allowed me to tap into my adventurous and extroverted side and opened my eyes to the world of traveling and experiencing new and exciting cultures.
Living and teaching ESL overseas, if only for 1 year can deepen ones understanding of how others live as well as gives a new admiration of how unique and special each Country is.
I highly recommend teaching ESL and living overseas, it is an experience that is unforgettable!
What would you improve about this program?
Perhaps knowing exactly where you will be placed upon arriving to the foreign Country (address, city etc.) as well as what school you will be working at - to better prepare ESL materials and English supplies from back home.
More time off to travel and explore. Korea has very little holiday time compared to other Asian countries.