Deciding to come to South Korea was a major decision in my life. Without the help of my recruiter-Reach To Teach, moving overseas would not have been possible.
It takes a special person to leave everything you've ever known, and move across the world, especially when there is a huge language barrier. I chose Reach To Teach, because I feel that they are the most reliable, honest and qualified recruiting company. Their website is not difficult and it explains exactly what you need to know. I enjoyed the pictures they have of past and current teachers. RTT holds monthly events with their staff and teachers, which provides a way for everyone to feel at home. I really enjoyed the blogs of other teachers. I was able to read about people teaching in Korea, Taiwan and China. I had an interview with a former teacher who gave me some great insight. I also like that the people who work for RTT are all former teachers with great advice and experience. The head recruiter 'John Kellenberger' is top notch. I've talked with many people who had issues with their recruiter. He works for you and that is something that should be commended. There was not a time when John did not contact me when I asked. He also sends e-mails just to see how things are going. In my opinion, he was more than just a recruiter helping me get to Korea; he is a friend. I felt as if we were buddies. With a transition this big in your life, that is something that everyone needs.
In Korea, or any Asian country, your life is unpredictable. I think this is what is so exciting here. On a typical day, I work 8:30AM-4:30PM. I usually go home for about 2 hours, and then I head downtown to meet friends for dinner and drinks. We usually stay out and socialize for a few hours and we are back home by 10:00-11:00PM depending. The weekends are packed with eating, drinking and travel. Korea is a social culture and it allows you just relax and smell the roses as they say.
The biggest challenge is the language barrier. They speak Korean, you speak English. For the most part, it is easy to get around town with speaking much Korean. However, when you go to a restaurant and the ENTIRE menu is in Korea and there may or may not be a picture. We simply just point and hope for the best! Another challenge is teaching low-level students. You ask a question and they just stare at you. Motivating students is a challenge as well.
The best thing here for starters is the cost of living. It is very cheap! A 2 Liter bottle of water cost 800 won, which is equal to about $.75 is America. There is hardly any crime! You can just walk around freely at night, and be perfectly fine! Children as young as 5-6 are walking to school alone.
Overall, I highly recommend moving overseas, especially South Korea! It's a decision that you won't regret! There are so many people here with a different perspective on life and it is so enriching!