Why You Won't Regret Teaching English in Korea
Kenneth Quillinan from Ireland was looking for a change of job and direction. He decided to have a total change to his life and applied to work as a language teacher in South Korea. Here he provides an insight into his experience of living and teaching in Korea and why you shouldn't look back if you are thinking about doing something similar.
Deciding to Go to Korea
‘’Korea? Seriously? Are you mad?? Why are you moving there??....’’ These were the four most popular reactions I received when I informed my family and friends of my decision to work in South Korea in December 2009. Obviously, I was not aware of what to expect when I landed, but with the economic situation in Ireland showing no signs of recovery I felt I had no choice.
Arrival & Culture Shock
It was March 2010 when I finally set foot in a snow-filled Daegu, a city in North Gyeongsang Province of South Korea. it was not the weather I expected to see, but at least it was not raining I suppose.
After researching for hours on end (YouTube videos being my main source for information) about what to expect and how to adapt to the Korean lifestyle, I believe I sidestepped the full wrath of the inevitable culture shock; an ‘issue’ that so many people seemed to be worried about.
Clearly, there were a few customs/observations that left me perplexed initially, but I was well aware of the fact that I was a long way from home and I not only needed to accept but more importantly respect the culture that was part of my adopted country.
My initial plan was to come and teach English in Korea for one year, experience its culture and traditions, and then move onto another country. This plan was not set in stone and as the days passed and I became more settled, the realization began to dawn on me that maybe Korea is meant to be my home! As this continues to become more apparent, there is one question that crosses my mind on a regular basis, ‘’Why do so many people from different countries/cultures make a general assumption about each other?’’ To be perfectly honest, I used to be one of these people, who jumped on the bandwagon regarding this issue, as I lacked the knowledge to have my own personal opinion, like the majority of people lack when they jump to their ‘own’ conclusions.
It goes without saying that living in a foreign country definitely broadens one’s mind. So as my family and friends still continue to question me about why I am still here, I will continue to enjoy my adopted country and the lifestyle it has offered me for the foreseeable future. If you are worried about not having any experience, you could take a TEFL course before departing. There is also the option to book TEFL Courses in South Korea.
Why You Should Consider Doing it Too
I have never once regretted my decision to move here and sometimes wonder where I would be if I never came to Korea. Maybe I would be still be back at home wondering what it would be like to be here, or maybe I would still be sitting on the bandwagon with some of my family and friends continuing to make uneducated assumptions about foreign countries. My best advice for anyone thinking about teaching English abroad in Korea or somewhere else, just go for it. I don't regret it and you won't either.
By Kenneth Quillinan