So you’re thinking of going over to Korea, but scared to death about going alone? Well, you’re certainly not alone in thinking that, but the reality is that it will be much easier than you think to get adjusted and start meeting people through the various outlets open to you! Remember, the number of foreigners in Korea is always increasing, which means there are so many people you can meet from all over the world who you'll have a lot in common with!
That being said, I know it can be incredibly daunting to move to a new country alone, especially when you don’t know the language. The fact that you are thinking about this or applied with Aclipse means that you are already incredibly courageous, and you should give yourself more credit! The majority of foreigners over here arrive alone, and you are going to be able to get the support that you need to get adjusted. Just don’t forget anything you might need!
Before you start your new job as a teacher, you will be given training in Seoul with a group of other teachers! The great thing about a company like Chungdahm is that they give you everything you need to know before you start, so you can feel more confident in yourself as a teacher! A good way to meet people in your training group before you go is through the Aclipse Ning site, where you can chat with other teachers and those in your group (there's a group for every month of the year where teachers starting that particular month can chat with each other)! Getting to know other people who are in the same boat before you go will be a huge stress reliever for you!
It's great to commute with your fellow teachers and explore the fantastic Korean subway system!
When you get to Seoul, you'll start meeting the people in your training group in-person. Don't forget, everyone is in the same position - you're all brand new! You can use that opportunity to get to know each other, help each other out with the training materials and get contact numbers to keep in touch! In your free time, you can all go and explore hot spots like Gangnam and COEX!
There is so much to explore when you first get to Korea, like getting a pedicure done by fish!
Technology brings people together so much more these days, and with sources like Ning and Facebook, we can easily keep in touch with people! It's possible that some of the friends you make at training could end up at your school, but even if that's not the case, once you've all settled into your new jobs and lives, you can meet up with your other group members from training in any Korean city (keep in mind, the public transportation is AWESOME and CHEAP here) and explore the city and nightlife together! Besides technology to stay in touch with your "Seoulmates" from training, the fact is that teaching for a company like ChungDahm Learning means you won't be the only foreign teacher at your school. Believe me, it's just as easy, if not easier, to make new friends abroad then it is when you start university. Just like when you met your fellow freshmen, you already have so many things in common. You already know your workmates have a love for travel, an interest in learning about a new culture and/or a new language, a desire to try teaching and working with kids, and probably so much more. Also, you'll be working for the same company, in the same role. Honestly it will probably be easier to make friends here then if you move to a new city alone in your home country someday!
In conclusion, there is an adventure out there waiting for you, and you don't want to look back and have regrets. So don’t let feeling worried or scared about trying it out alone get you down! You’ll soon realize once you’re here that you are never alone in Korea. :)
Laura Kavanagh is an East Coast girl at heart who graduated from the University of Toronto in Ontario. After a brief volunteer trip to South America, the idea of traveling with a purpose inspired her to get out into the world and make something of herself. Shortly after, Laura snagged a fabulous teaching position at ChungDahm April English through Aclipse. One year later, she is now Head Instructor and loving her life in Bucheon, South Korea. Laura is currently studying the Korean language, where she tries to learn three new words a day. Her favorite one? 'Chinja?!' meaning 'Really?!'
Check out her blog and Connect with her on Twitter. Any questions? Hit her up at email@example.com!