I love my teaching schedule in Korea because it gives me a lot of free time during the day. I usually leave my apartment around 2:30 p.m., start work at 4 p.m., finish work at 10 p.m., and am back at my apartment a little before 11 p.m. I really enjoy having my mornings and early afternoons free to pursue hobbies and interests. When I am not going to the gym, reading, playing sports, watching movies, etc., I really enjoy having the time to write. I write in my journal, update blogs, and to my biggest surprise, a local English newspaper!
Living in Korea has given me the opportunity to pursue writing in a way that I would not have had living in the United States. Let me explain.
Before I moved to Korea, I did not have a lot of journalism experience. I had written a few articles for my undergraduate alumni magazine, but the articles were short and the magazine's circulation was low. The experience was great, but once I graduated, I thought my journalism career was over.
When I arrived to Korea, I did not know a lot of people and I wanted to acquaint myself with the city I was living in, Jeju City, and also learn about local news. Since I did not know Korean, I searched for a local English newspaper. Fortunately, Jeju does have a local English paper that is published on a weekly basis and is full of cultural events, news, restaurant reviews, and information on Jeju. I began reading The Jeju Weekly (http://www.jejuweekly.com/) right at the beginning of my time in Korea and I have found it to be a great source of information.
After reading the newspaper for a month or so, I noticed a small advertisement announcing the paper's need for English writers. I decided that this might be a perfect opportunity for me to pick up writing again so I went in to the newspaper's office and met with the lead editor. He told me that the newspaper was always looking for writers and that they had lots of options for stories, with the main focus of articles being on tourism. The paper could not pay me because of Visa issues, but they would be able to get me free entrance into attractions, concerts, festivals, and cultural events if I would write about them. I thought this was a great deal and a perfect opportunity for me to get some more writing experience so I quickly agreed.
This situation has really worked out for me. I get a chance to actually get published (online and in the print edition) plus it fits into my schedule perfectly. I can focus on teaching but when I have the extra time, I head into the office and see what stories need to be written for the upcoming week. I get to explore and learn about Jeju while pursuing my writing hobby....I can't ask for much more than that.
I am almost 100% positive that I would not have been able to do this in the United States. I could not imagine walking into a newspaper office in the U.S. and asking for a writing job without much experience. But that is one of the perks of living in Korea, there is such a demand for English writers that more doors are opened for those who know the language.
If you are in Korea and want a chance to write, check out your local English newspaper. If you are thinking about coming to Korea and want to pursue writing, now you have one more reason to come.
By the way, you can check out one of my stories here....http://www.jejuweekly.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=2007
Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju. He has been teaching in Korea for over a year. When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.