I came to Korea with three goals in mind- to gain teaching experience, travel, and save money. All of which I can say have been accomplished so far 9 months into my 12 month contract. I have been playing with the idea of becoming a teacher in the states, and teaching abroad has given me a peek into this career.
Obviously, it’s going to be a bit easier at home without the language barrier. Don’t get me wrong though, teaching still has its ups and downs wherever you are and there is no easy road. But, on those good days it is so rewarding to be in the classroom so it is a possibility I am considering when going back home. Looking forward I am applying to go back to get my Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation so that I can keep my options open of either working in the field or teaching at a private school.
Besides that, I am also looking to continue with photography as a side business, a hobby that has turned into a passion through traveling. Personally, this experience has been a real time of growth and self-reflection. Having a long distance relationship has probably been one of the hardest things to do over this year, but it has strengthened our relationship to a whole new level. I guess my grandma was right when she said “Distance only makes the heart grow stronger.”
While it hasn’t been easy, it can be done and makes coming home all that more exciting. Plus, I could not have done this without the support of my boyfriend, family, and friends. Experiences like this really help put what is important in your life into perspective.
If you are considering teaching abroad in Korea, do it. I believe living abroad is an opportunity not enough people take advantage of. Even if it is not in Korea, teaching or working abroad looks great on your resume, and is an unforgettable life experience. I would highly recommend using a recruiter as they know the process, and there are many steps along the way that can get confusing and intimidating. I have not met one person who has regretted their decision to teach abroad, the worst-case scenario being you quit and go home.
Regardless, it’s an experience worth doing if you are considering it so don’t second-guess yourself. Also, be prepared to get homesick; it’s completely natural. You just have to stick it out. I recommend getting out of the house, and even out of your town on the weekends, meet new people and see new things. Keeping your journey fun and refreshing will remind you why you came, and I guarantee your hometown will be just how you left it when you return after your contract.