As I prepared to come to abroad, I worried plenty about my actual job of teaching English in Korea, but I also gave a great deal of thought to how, and with who, I would be spending my free time. Chungdahm does a pretty good job of preparing you for your job, but with anything outside of work, it can sometimes feel like you are on your own. Fortunately, there are thousands of expats in Korea that were once in your shoes and are willing to help; you just have to know where to find them.
The first, and most obvious way, is to reach out to your coworkers. All schools, no matter what the size, will have other foreign teachers who are valuable sources of information about life in Korea. I teach at a small-sized school with only seven other teachers, but we are always meeting up for social activities, day trips, outings. It is even easier at large schools where there are enough teachers to form sports teams and clubs.
The second way to connect with expats is online. Look into Facebook social pages Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, and Couchsurfing groups. Jeju Island, where I currently live, has a great expat Yahoo group called Rhymes with Jeju. This group is the main forum for expats to meet and discuss advice, tips, and upcoming events. It might also be worth your while to check out all the local English publications and media in your area. Jeju has a first-rate English newspaper, the Jeju Weekly that fills me in on all the going-ons around the island.
Last, but not least, I have turned to a travel company that actually plans and coordinates tours for expats. The company that I have turned to is called Explore Korea, which specializes on tours of Jeju and Seoul. This is a great way to meet people and explore Korea at the same time. For more information, check out Explore Korea.
So it may seem a little daunting at first, but once you have settled into your daily life, you will find that meeting people in Korea is not a challenge. If you would like any more tips or advice about socializing in Korea, or you would like to share some information, do not hesitate to leave a comment.
Hiking in Jeju with some coworkers
Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju. He has been teaching in Korea for under a year. When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.