Moving to South Korea in 2015

Moving to South Korea in 2015

I am so happy/excited/relieved to be looking forward to another adventure. When I left Australia in April last year, I was decidedly not happy to be coming home. I had lived the exciting expat life for over two years and wasn’t ready to give it up. But my visa was expiring, my brother was graduating from college, and I was running out of money. To cope with the depression and boredom of being back in Northern Virginia, I started reading travel blogs and then started writing my own. And I started planning my next adventure right away.

I began seriously researching how to teach English in South Korea during my last few months in Australia – almost a whole year ago now. I was trying to find something that would allow me to continue working and living abroad. I had heard of teaching English in Asia before, but never really gave it much thought. I never thought I would make a good teacher, and it wasn’t something I was ever all that interested in. But then I realized it would enable me to live in another country for year. And that is something I’m very interested in.

I looked into a few different countries, read a few blogs, and came to the conclusion that South Korea was the place for me. Largely, because of the benefits – decent salary, vacation time, provided accommodation, flight reimbursement, etc. I got the idea in my head that I could teach for a year, explore Korea on the weekends, and save a good chunk of money to travel all around Asia after my one-year contract is up. So in July, I started to get my application together.

I chose to go the EPIK route. Maybe I’ll write another post going through my timeline of the application process. Even though it’s all been done before, I think I’d still like to document my own process. Overall, yes it took a long time, but they give you fair warning about that. If you do your research, it’s not too difficult. So many people have done it before, there are answers to every possible question somewhere on the internet. It’s been a pretty smooth process for me so far. (Knock on wood – it’s not quite over yet.)

I received the placement notification a couple weeks ago and found out I’ll be headed to my preferred location of Jeju. You’re allowed to list one preference as far as location goes on your application. Before I started filling it out, I hadn’t even heard of any of the choices (except Seoul). I started to Google them one by one, working my way down the list. I put a star next to the ones that looked nice to me. Until I got to Jeju. It’s an island – I love living on islands! Ha, that’s about all there is to it. I do love cities, but on the internet from afar, they all looked kind of the same to me and started to blend together. Sometimes I feel restrained in a big city – I want to live a life that’s more than going to work during the week, and going out to bars and restaurants on the weekend. I’m looking for a change, and Jeju really stood out to me.

I’ve mentioned before that I learned how to scuba dive on Lord Howe Island early in 2014. I’ve been dying to get out in the ocean again, and Jeju looks to be the place in Korea to do it. Not to mention the beaches, hiking, lava caves, etc. It’s Korea’s holiday destination, so why wouldn’t you want to just live there? (Alright, I suppose it’s not for everyone, but I think it will suit me.) I can’t wait to use my weekends to take advantage of what Jeju has to offer. It’s remote enough to get some fresh air and be free of the city-life hustle and bustle.  I love being able to spend a day off easily hiking, swimming, enjoying nature, etc. It’ll also be convenient enough to get to the mainland when I want to, and Jeju has two decent cities of its own, so I won’t feel completely stranded. I’m hoping it’ll be the perfect balance.

So, there you have it – my plans for the new year. I head over in mid-February, so this last month will be spent seeing friends as much as possible, hopefully doing some fun bucket-list things before I leave, and packing at the last minute.