In this blog post I’d like to say a little bit about the job I do, which is teaching English in South Korea.
At this point I’m in my fourth year of doing this job, which has been three years in one city (Geochang) and now six months (and counting) on Geoje Island.
- Korea is a well-developed country, the world’s 15th largest economy and combines a fascinating history and abundance of tradition with some of the world’s most advanced technology.
- Opportunities for English teachers abound, with jobs available in countless schools, academies, colleges and universities.
The Day to Day
- I currently teach English at two elementary schools on Geoje Island, which is Korea’s second largest island and lies to the South East of the mainland.
- I live in a small studio apartment in a city called Gohyeon, which is part of Geoje City, population 219,000 (source: Wikipedia).
- There are plenty of activities available for my free time, such as mountain hiking, exercising at the gym, studying Korean (anywhere) and meeting friends in local restaurants and bars.
The Good and The Bad
A foreigner’s life in Korea has a number of pros and cons.
- The chance to help Korean people improve their English skills, and to teach about Western culture in a place where it isn’t always understood.
- Interesting landscape with easy access to mountains, the sea, big cities, and sites of interest such as temples.
- The chance to learn the Korean language, which has kept me busy for three and a half years and counting.
- Plenty of free time compared to working in England.
- The opportunity (and privilege) of working in a foreign country.
- Korea is close to many other interesting countries, in particular Japan and China, which can easily be reached on vacation.
- Having to live thousands of miles from family, friends, and familiar culture, language, food and so on.
- Some Korean people look down on Westerners, especially at young men who may seem to be mainly interested in partying.
- Cultural differences can be hard to adapt to. For example, schedules in Korea are much more prone to change at short notice than in the West. And your “free time” is much more open to interpretation here!
- At times I still struggle to understand what is going on!
I feel that I have made Korea my second home. I miss England every day, but I certainly feel comfortable living in Korea. If I stay here for a number of more years, I hope that I can have the opportunity to teach in a university. I enjoy teaching children but I would be interested in teaching higher level English to university students.
Have you been to Korea? Are you living in a foreign country? Leave a message!