When I told people that I was moving to South Korea to teach English, I got some funny looks. Responses ranged from the surprised ‘don’t they eat dog?’ to the ridiculous, ‘isn’t that where that dictator lives?’ Nope folks, that’s North Korea…
This was before the days of ‘Gangnam Style’ and Korea was not really on the map – at all. So what was living in Korea as an expat really like? One word sums it up. Unexpected!
On leaving for Korea I imagined arriving in this strange Asian place full of bright lights and high rise buildings sprawled with neon writing. What I didn’t expect to find were coast lines to rival Hawaii, in Jeju Island and mountain vistas that wouldn’t seem out of place in Italy, in Gangwon Do!
If you can’t spot the crazy person in the room, you’re it….thankfully in Korea you’ll never find yourself with this dilemma. From twenty meter blow-up dance studios to OAP deep sea divers, the Korean culture always has something ready to surprise you!
Unexpectedly Good Food
Korean food is surprisingly tasty, with traditional barbeque being the favourite choice of expats. After all, what could be more fun than sitting with your friends around an open fire grilling a pile of meat and enjoying a few drinks? Having said that, beware of the popular rice wine (Soju) and stick with beer unless you’re ready for a hangover that could slay giants!
Before moving halfway across the world to teach, my ‘relevant experience’ consisted of nothing more than a decent TEFL course and a few weeks of childminding my niece. What I found was that teaching little people was actually very inspiring and rewarding. It also proved a great skill-builder and conversation starter in interviews when I finally did arrive back home!
If you fancy your own TEFL adventure in South Korea, then what are you waiting for? Get TEFL qualified and get out there!