Number 1: After work Fun
After work on Tuesdays and sometimes Thursdays, there is nothing I love more than playing basketball with the other English teachers. In South Korea, it is very convenient, as they have many courts and parks and they are lit up at night. (They even have nets if you want to play badminton). Now that the weather is warm enough, we play basketball all the time, a tradition which started when I first arrived in Korea.
In general, the late night culture in Korea makes it very easy to do many fun things after work, and while I really love basketball, some of my other favorites include playing pool and going bowling. In Korea there are almost as many pool halls as there are BBQ restaurants. They are open almost 24 hours a day and they are ridiculously cheap, with a game or several games costing less than $5 that's just over $1 each for an hour of play (It’s amazing). Another pastime we do after work is bowling.
And while it is almost impossible to find my (bowling) shoe size here I really enjoy playing and so do the other English teachers.
And like the pool, it's so cheap to play. one of the many things I love about teaching English in Korea is the fact you can do so many activities here, from playing pool or shooting hoops to going to festivals (usually for free) and it costs next to nothing, making it very easy to save money or send it back home to pay off your student loans.
Number 2: Korean Barbeque
At Number two is BBQ, in case you didn't know, barbecuing is huge here in Korea, in fact you cannot walk down a street without seeing a BBQ place. There are many kinds from seafood to beef to pork and specialized mokchan (pig intestines). My favorite is seafood, however, I have to admit, and I find them all delicious.
After work we go for BBQ at least once a week. It's so good, from the meat to the side dishes themselves. At our local BBQ place they cook the meat in front of you and it is followed by a course of soup & rice, which is so tasty. Depending on your pallet you can have your meat seasoned spicy or sweet. I always go for the spicy – something my Korean friends find surprising.
My local BBQ place, pictured below: they always give us free sodas and extra meat
Number 3: Noraebang
Noraebang, or karaoke (Don’t call it Karaoke... EVER) is also very big here in South Korea, and just like pool halls and BBQ restaurants you cannot walk down a street without passing one. I have to admit when I first arrived in South Korea, I was unsure as to whether I liked them or not, but actually they are so much fun, especially if, like me, you cannot sing.
The other English Teachers at my school and my Korean co-workers all go to noraebang together at least once per month. When you go to noraebang you have your own room, you can press a button and get drinks or food, and like everything in South Korea, and it's also very cheap. When you choose your song and press play the room goes dark and suddenly disco and laser lights come on. It’s actually really cool.
Noraebang is so big here that they even have some karaoke carriages on trains. The slow train from Seoul to Busan has a noraebang carriage where you can sit and sing for the entire journey. When you come to Korea to Teach English, it is something you will find yourself doing at least once a month. So don’t be shy. It really is fun.
These are the top three things I love about Korea; there are many more things, from hiking to festivals and beach breaks. South Korea really has so many fun and amazing things to offer.
John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Irelands best known universities. He graduated from here in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for travelling having been to most of Europe, he decided to explore Asia after Uni. He had always wanted to teach and thought what better way to travel than teaching English on the way. John is currently teaching English for CDI in Daegu, South Korea a position he found through Aclipse; and loves every minute of it!