I will be returning to the U.S. in the next couple of weeks and will be moving
from Tennessee to New York to begin new teaching position at a great university.
I am so excited about closing this chapter of my life and beginning a new one in New York.
However, I will miss Korea tremendously. I will miss my students, coworkers, school, friends, the culture, and the food. I consider it a blessing to have been able to spend six months here and I am thankful for the relationships that I developed and for all of the great experiences. I will never forget this opportunity and I hope to someday be able to return to Korea to visit.
I want to leave few words of wisdom for those who plan to come to Korea in the future. These words are strictly from my experience and I feel that they will help anyone that plans to teach in this country.
1. Take the time to learn at least the basics of the Korean language and the culture. Take a course at the university or join a language exchange group. http://www.meetup.com has tons of cultural groups in Seoul and surrounding cities. It will enhance your experience greatly and will lesson culture shock.
2. If you like excitement and are into nightlife then definitely try to find work in one of the metropolitan cities such as: Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon, etc. Living in the countryside can be horrible if you are the type that likes to be out in the evening.
3. For the bigger people (above average to plus size) bring as many shirts, jeans, and shoes as you can because the clothing that is available in the stores is geared for those that are thin. Mens jeans go to a 36 waist and from what I have heard womens clothing is much smaller.
4. Set aside some WON each month for savings. Trust me when I say that if you don't make a plan and follow it you will spend every dime of your money. Especially if you travel often. I recommend saving at least 300,000 WON per month. You will thank me once your year ends and you have a nice chunk of money to take home in addition to pension. :-)
5. Take peoples words and their actions very lightly. In every culture there is a bit of discrimination, racism, and absent mindedness. Don't be offended and take it personally if people stare at you, avoid you, or say negative things about your appearance or ethnicity.
**YOU MUST HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE & REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS WHEN YOU COME HERE! **
** If you grumble and complain every time something negative happens you will be miserable. Get out and meet people. Find a few Korean friends to spend time with. You will be grateful.**
Best of luck to those who plan to come to Korea for work, tourism, or whatever the case may be. It is truly a beautiful country. Make the most of your opportunity!!!!! God Bless.