I remember flying back to Seoul a mere few days before everything exploded. Right as masks sold out in each pharmacy I frantically biked to, right as numbers went from a few tens to hundreds in one day. I had just spent my term off in the southern hemisphere, trading Korean winters for the beach. Coming back to work felt like a rude awakening as the rest of the world seemed like they were still on vacation. Aside from China, South Korea was the most stressful place to be at the time, and I spent countless minutes refreshing my naver app to see the most up-to-date notifications on new cases. I panicked and dreamt of flying back to my family in the United States or to my friends in South Africa who I had just been with, knowing fully well those were just pipe dreams.Read More
Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!
Quarantine itself actually wasn’t as horrible as I had imagined. Is it boring at times? Yes, but you know what your hobbies are and what you like to do in your free time. So bring them!
It’s a great time to read, Netflix is accessible and you can start learning Korean. Working out is always an option (water bottles make great makeshift dumbbells), you can journal, do puzzles, listen to music, etc.Read More
I finally made it to Korea almost 24 hrs after leaving my house. That’s of course including getting to the airport and all of the waiting in between and before flights... but with the help of CDL, government and airport officials, I ended up exactly where I needed to be-- and you will too!
This was just my experience. You could have different hurdles, but based solely on what I have learned, I will also be sharing some useful tips.Read More
Living and working in Seoul, I am constantly flooded with questions and inquiries about the situation with COVID-19, and rightfully so. People are stressed, confused, concerned, anxious, or a mixture of all the above with a dash of existential doom. Friends and family are consistently surprised by my lack of news on the employment front, and that is all due to the way that Chungdahm has handled this pandemic.Read More
Pilipino people are famous for having an ungovernable amount of pride. From each mixed European Miss Universe, to the screams I heard from the neighbors during any Pacquiao fight,,,not to mention the screams coming from my 4’9” grandmother, to that random shopper your parents run into at the Vietnamese grocery store, pinoys love being pinoy. It is with a sad heart that I must tell you that I....am no different. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a walking blow horn spewing out facts about the health benefits of calamansi and how the inventor of the modern yo-yo was a Pilipino-American.Read More
For anyone living in Korea, or anyone of Asian heritage, people can notice that many have a layered and complicated relationship to Japan. Because of what I learned growing up, I never found myself interested to go there, but by some random chance, I visited three years ago while working at Chungdahm. I met this Japanese person who ended up being my best friend, and I am lucky enough to have seen the things and the people that I have there through and with her. She does a lot of resistance work with both mainland Japanese and Okinawan artists and activists who demand fair rights, justice, and truth. There are so many incredible people creating communities of care and liberation, and I feel so thankful to see what is happening on the ground, giving me a more complex perception of the cultures around me.Read More
I will spare you the usual diatribe against our cell phones, of how those millennials don’t function without them, or whatever silly things people say. Having a cell phone allows you to do pretty important things, and even more so when you are moving halfway across the world to a place you’ve potentially only ever seen in travel shows or youtube compilations of “kimchi slapping,” which if you have yet to experience, do yourself the favor and get to googling. From setting up mobile banking to the crucial stuff like finding the nearest Paris Baguette, your phone is your lifeline when first settling in. So do not fret, for I will map out a few options that will make your digital life here smooth sailing, or rather, smooth kakaotaxi-ing.Read More
Uprooting your entire life up into two suitcases is not exactly a walk in the park. Scrambling to get your visas ready, taking horrible passport photos, and debating whether or not to pack that bag of hot Cheetos (which you should indeed do), there is a million and one things to keep track of from the moment you fly out to the moment you finish training. Next comes the equally disorienting but exponentially more enjoyable part--settling in. A majority of the questions that I get asked relate to the cost of living and the quality of life here. The cost of living may be lower or higher than what you’re accustomed to, depending on which country you come from, and if you’re like me, had a savings account that could only muster me a couple Lotte World tickets when I arrived. However, you’re in luck. Unless you steer on the side of a constant flow of impulse buy and take-out, it’s very doable to save money while also living comfortably. If anyone is curious how I do it, you can keep scrolling through.Read More
It’s funny how someone from out of town can show you just how much you love where you are. It’s such a cliche, but those fresh pairs of eyes do wonders on your perspective. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I am heavy handed in my affection for Seoul, so I really don’t need an outsider’s perspective to convince me to love it more. But it really doesn’t hurt. For all of the traveling that I’ve had the opportunity to do, right now the only place I really keep searching for is my home right here. On top of the fact that I have the logistical swiftness of a sloth that is less than ideal for travel, I genuinely love wandering my own backyard. So friends know exactly where to find me...and if they don’t, they can use NaverMaps, which is now in English! This blog will be another foray into corny journal streams of blabber, so grab some corn silk tea and gimbap for the ride.Read More
Bowling is one of those things, like push-ups, limiting your screen time, or language learning, only gets better with one thing-consistency- which I unfortunately lack in such a niche, arthritis inducing sport. In our teacher’s meeting early on in the term, I kept my hand down when our Team Manager asked if anyone was interested in participating in a company-wide tournament. It was nice to see the Kakao chat blow up with plans to practice after work and on weekends knowing I’d sit it out in the comfort of my officetel. However, by the final head count before submitting our teams, it was a party of different coworkers bragging about how bad they are. So I thought, this must be my people, this must be my time. This type of company bonding event doesn’t happen that frequently, and I had been emerging from my self-induced winter cave, and from some convincing by my friend, I decided to join in.Read More