Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

10 Things I Will Miss About South Korea

Posted on Wed, May 15, 2013 @ 04:00 PM

Living and teaching in Korea has been quite an experience; I’ve taken the opportunity to try many new things and I’ve grown as a teacher and an individual over the past year.  I would encourage anyone who’s ever thought about teaching, to spend a year in Korea with Chungdahm Learning.  Of the many new things I’ve gotten to experience, here is a list of the top 10 things I’m going to miss dearly.

1.  The Easy Lifestyle.  Anyone who has lived in Korea as an English teacher will tell you that the lifestyle is pretty easy going.  As a Chungdahm teacher, you’ll teach an average of 6 hours per day and with CDI, you won’t start work till about 4pm.  This means that you’ll have the whole morning to do, see and explore.  Also, depending on your interests, you can take up a class and learn something new; there’s taekwondo, muay thai, Korean classes, beach volleyball, amongst many others.  I tend to frequent coffee shops like Cafe Bene, where there’s free wifi, and catch up on what’s going on in the world.  With so much free time on your hands, there’s so much to get into.

me and buddha in Korea

2.  Friends.  If you’re lucky, you’ll bond with folks you meet in training and be sent to teach at the same branch.  That’s an easy transition to making friends.  However, you may have to start the process all over, if like me, you’re sent alone to a branch and have to start all over.  Don’t fear!  Chances are, you’ll be welcomed with open arms and well, the rest is up to you.  I’ve come to enjoy the time spent with my coworkers at the local bar, Tilt during burrito night.  Being social in Korea isn’t really an option, it’s more of a fact of life.  Lunch dates have become quite common and So has dinners and such.  If you’re somewhat intimidated by the idea of making friends in Korea, just remember, that everyone was in the same boat at some time, so, don’t be afraid to invite someone to lunch or take up an invitation.  That’s how it starts; how it ends, is up to you.  While I’ve come to enjoy time spent alone, I’ve managed to make a few good friends in Korea; ones that I will cherish for a long time coming.  

my friends in Korea

3.  My Students.  My students have a special place in my heart.  Even though I’m the teacher, I’ve learned a great deal from my students.  Overall, I’ve had some terrific students.  I’ve been treated with care and courtesy and respect.  This is one of the more valued aspect of working for Chungdahm Learning; you're likely to get the cream of the crop in terms of bright and motivated students.  Consider yourself lucky if you get elementary school students, they're likely to make teaching fun and incredibly rewarding.

students in Korea

4.  PICC.  Pohag International Community Church is becoming a regular Sunday treat for me.  Having a place to have communion on Easter Sunday was a big deal for me.  Pastor Richie has been incredibly kind and welcoming to the foreign community here in Pohang.  Plus, you can expect to hear a good message to start your week.  The Gyeongju Retreat a few weeks back allowed me to have some quality time with members of PICC and I’m really glad to rub shoulders with the individuals I’ve met there.

5.  The Festivals.  Pohang’s Firework’s Festival held in July was a thing to see.  I found myself in awe looking at the spectacle that lit up the sky.  Incredible.  There are many festivals that take place in Korea throughout the year.  As a matter of fact, there is an International Festival in Pohang later this month.  There will be international foods, sports and other festivities to celebrate.

pohang korea festival

6.  Dinner Invitations from My Student, Kyungju.  I’ve been to dinner at Kyunju’s house on three occasions.  This month, will be the last invite as I prepare to depart Korea early next month.  Spending time with Kyunju and her family has been a very special time for me.  That is all.

my student and her family in Korea

7.  The Food.  Korean food has a special place in my heart.  Although it took awhile to warmup to Korean foods, but, I can say that I will miss it alot.  On the top of the list of foods that I’ve come to enjoy, gimbap.  Gimbap is to Korea as what burritos is to Mexico.  It’s quick, healthy and delicious.  I will also miss bibimbap.

Korean food

8.  Chess with friends.  I learned the game in Korea and playing with my friends on any random night after work will be missed.  I was given the board as a birthday present from one of my teacher friends in Korea and the game has taught me a lot about strategy, planning and even how people think.  All of that in a game of chess...go figure!

playing chess with friends in Korea

9.  Pohang Steelers Games.  The Pohang Steelers are a great team; they’ve won every game I’ve seen them play.  Although, the game starts off slow, after halftime, the team comes alive.  It seems that a car is given away during halftime at the “home” games.  Wow!  Wouldn’t it be nice to win a car?  The team has taken several international trophies and if the opportunity ever comes up to see a game, go!

Korean soccer

10.  Bukbu Beach.  Bukbu Beach is a twenty minute cab ride from where I live in Edong.  It's a place where foreigners flock to for beach volley ball or beach base ball in the summer.  Or, to just take in the sunshine on a warm Spring day.  The weather being a beautiful 25 C (75F), I decided today was a perfect day to head to the beach and take in some sun and a little reading.  It was gorgeous.  Many families were there, today being “Children’s Day”.  Hanging out at the beach is a favored pastime.  And being able to take in the gorgeous scenery that is Korea, a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  

beach in Korea

Teach in Korea!

Nailah Rivers was born in Trinidad and Tobago.  She moved to the United States with her family at the age of seven.  She graduated Rutgers University in 2011 with a degree in psychology.   Her sophomore year in college, she knew for sure that she would pursue a teaching career with a focus on elementary school.  After a risky move to Miami, Florida in 2011, Nailah decided to take a chance and apply to teach English in South Korea with Chungdahm Learning.  She is currently teaching in Pohang, South Korea and is having a good time teaching and learning.  Follow her blog to get the inside scoop on teaching abroad.Follow Nailah on Pintrest!

Tags: teaching in Korea, ex-pat life in Korea, life in Korea, friends in Korea, year in Korea, saying goodbye

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