Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Are You Irish? You Will Feel Right at Home if You Teach in Korea

Posted on Sun, May 31, 2015 @ 05:00 PM

One thing I was worried about when coming to teach in Korea was the culture shock. Being from Ireland, my friends and family all joked with me about how different life was going to be. Well, two years later I can honestly say I am still waiting for this “culture shock”.  From the moment I arrived in South Korea I felt at ease. Yes the language was different, and sure the food was not the same, but Korean people are so caring and so nice that I felt right at home here. In fact, there are many similarities between the two cultures, so much so that I have never felt out of place being Irish in Korea.


Both populations are kind, warm hearted, and both populations like to feed you.  My Korean friends are always giving me delicious food which was something that I thought was unique to Ireland, the nation of feeders. Korean people are very polite and gentle but shy at the same time. Age is really respected here, regardless of social stature, once a person is older than you; they are given the utmost respect.  It’s no surprise that I’ve heard it said Korea is the Ireland of Asia.

Irish teach English in Korea

One of the best things about living in South Korea is that there is a strong Irish community here, whether you are in Seoul, Busan or Daegu, you are bound to meet other people from back home. However, I was very surprised to discover that a group of Irish people established a GAA club in Korea (Gaelic Athletic Association).  Even better the club is in my home city of Daegu. The club isn't just for Irish people however, as many Korean people and other foreigners often join in as well, whether it is for a game, a training secession or a social outing.

GAA in Korea
When people first come to South Korea to teach English , they mostly consider taking up a sport as a way to meet people. One of the most popular sports clubs in Daegu is Daegu Fianna Gaelic Football Club, which plays the Irish sport of Gaelic Football. Founded in 2007, the club has gone from strength to strength in recent years, acquitting itself very well on the playing field. The club fields both men's and women's teams and play in a variety of different competitions.
The main competition is the Korean Gaelic League where the club plays against teams from Seoul and Busan and who all take turns in hosting tournaments. Aside from that, they also take part in the North Asian Gaelic games against teams from China and Japan and other smaller competitions.  In the early years the team struggled to get players but in recent years there has been a huge upsurge in popularity. For the first time, the number of women playing outnumbers the men; so much so that the club is entering two ladies teams in the Korean Gaelic League for the first time.
GAA in Korea
This year promises to be a momentous year for the club. For the first time ever the club is sending a team abroad to the Asian Gaelic Games, an event that attracts teams from all over Asia and will be held in Shanghai in October. The club is embarking on a major fund raising campaign to raise funds for the trip and will host many fun and exciting events in the coming months. The club is adept at promoting the social part of the club with many team social events which gives players both new and old the opportunity to get to know each other. The club's surge in popularity and reputation has seen a rise in non-native Irish players taking up the game. Players from England, USA, Canada, Australia, Korea and South Africa have all donned the Dageu Fianna jersey this year.
Teach English in Korea if you are Irish
(what's more Irish than a cup of tea? Koreans also love their tea)
The club also serves as a vital link between Irish people living in Daegu. The club is almost the first port of call for any new Irish people moving to the Daegu area. The club has gained a reputation for being open and welcoming to new members. It is the only Irish group actively promoting Irish culture in Daegu. In the past, the club has arranged traditional Irish music sessions involving groups from Dageu but also from other places in Korea such as Seoul. Aside from these activities, they also arrange a number of different events which help to strengthen the bond between teammates and have fun at the same time. There is no doubt that the club serves a vital role in expat life here in Daegu.
On the playing field, the recent playing season began on April 25th in Busan. The next tournament will be held here in Daegu. For the first time in 3 years, the club has found a pitch in Daegu suitable to hold a tournament. It promises to be a great day out. There will also be a social night held where players from Daegu, Seoul and Busan will all socialize together. Such events help to promote togetherness and form a bond between the three teams. Overall, it promises to be a great year for the club.
For more information, search for Daegu Fianna Gaa on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Teach in Korea!
John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Irelands best known universities. He graduated from here in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for travelling and having been to most of Europe, he decided to explore Asia after Uni. He has always wanted to teach and thought what better way to travel than teaching English on the way. John is currently teaching English for CDI in Daegu, South Korea a position he found through Aclipse; John felt nervous before his departure, but now that he is in Korea he loves every minute of it. For more information follow his blog.

Tags: teaching in Korea, sports in Korea, ireland

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