Sometimes it can get a little lonely teaching in Korea so far away from home, friends, and family. Having friends and family come visit me while teaching English in Korea has helped me feel more comfortable here. My parents, my girlfriend, and Couchsurfers have all come to visit.
My parents came to visit me for one week in July. They stayed with me in my apartment for two nights and then found an affordable hotel nearby. Although, I still had to work while they were here, I was able to spend good quality time with them in the mornings before work and on my two days off. Jeju has many tourist attractions and there was a lot for my parents to do while I was at work.
After six months living in Korea, my girlfriend came to stay with me. My boss helped us find a bigger apartment to accommodate both of us. She handled all the negotiations in Korean and even signed the contract in her name. At first, we thought it would be easy for my girlfriend to find a teaching job at one of the many English academies in our area. However, most small academies cannot afford to sponsor a work visa. Instead, she has been working as a private English tutor and working for the local English newspaper.
Because she is only staying here on a tourist visa, we had to leave the country after her allotted 90 days. I decided to take my vacation days at this time and we went to Taiwan for one week for a cheap holiday. When we came back to Korea, my girlfriend was given a new tourist visa for another 90 days. However, we have learned there are limitations to staying in Korea for an extended period only on a tourist visa. She cannot buy a cell phone plan, get a library card, or have a traditional job.
Another great way to have people come visit is CouchSurfing. CouchSurfing is a website that connects travelers on a budget to people offering a free place to stay. I have had travelers from America, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Denmark, and Germany come stay with me. Everyone has been very friendly and they are always willing to have a good time. Now I have friends from many different countries and I never had to leave my apartment! You can sign up for Couchsurfers at http://www.couchsurfing.org/
So if you are feeling lonely in Korea or are worried about being homesick, try to have friends and family come visit or sign up for CouchSurfing.
Hanging out with some Couch Surfers in Jeju
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.