One of the greatest things about becoming an ESL teacher for Chungdahm is the large amount of time you’re going to have off. Between the hours themselves, level tests, and holidays, you’re definitely going to have a good amount of time off, so you need to take advantage of it. I personally have not had to work a Wednesday in my 11 months living here. It’s been awesome. And this semester no one in my branch is working Wednesdays so we’ve made it a point to go on Wednesday adventures and enjoy the beginning stages of springtime in Korea. This past Wednesday we hiked Bugaksan, situated in the heart of Seoul, right behind Gyeongbukgong Palace. It was a great hike with a little history mixed in and some great views of the surrounding mountains and the city itself.
Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!
When I first got to Korea in May 2012, I was told that there were many things to see and do. Having done many new things in Korea and thoroughly enjoying myself, I was really looking forward to was the Cherry Blossom Festival in Gyeongju, South Korea. I was told that the Cherry Blossoms would be the thing to see come spring time. I was so looking forward to this. Initially, I thought of going with the popular organizers “Adventure Korea” but when I realized that Pohang International Church (PIC) would also be going for the day, I decided that I could wait a week and go with PIC. I also decided to sign up for a marathon that would take place that weekend as well; a 5K (approximately 3.2 miles). I was excited!
A friend went with Adventure Korea the weekend before I was set to got with PIC and it looked gorgeous. Although it rained on that Saturday, the pictures she took on Sunday were incredible. I was hoping for the same experience; bike riding along the lake with the beautiful scenery of dozens of cherry blossoms in the back drop. That however, did not happen.
With winter in full swing, it’s easy to get into a routine that lacks any activity other than going to work. Temperatures in South Korea drop to single digits and even below zero. So, unless you’re one of those individuals that loves winter, it’s best to have a plan for staying active. Personally, maintaining a healthy weight is what will keep me pushing to stay active this winter. As a vegetarian it’s incredibly easy to load up on carbs, so, as winter progresses, I hope to make progress in getting and staying active. Here are some available options for keeping fit while teaching English in Korea for a year.
Out for a walk/jog/run with Choco:
Choco is my three year old, toy poodle that I got back in October of 2012. Having a dog means daily walks, even when it’s cold. It’s recommended that I take her out twice daily for about 30 minutes at a time. When I abide by this, I notice that she’s much calmer in the house. On days when I’m too lazy or it’s too cold for even me, she seems to be overly energetic. So, to avoid these behaviors, I’ll be getting in some daily exercise and making Choco gets hers too.
With about 70% of the Korean peninsula covered with mountains, the hiking culture dominates the the Land of Kimchi. In my spare time from teaching English, I went for a short hike up Mt. Dobongsan near my home a few weeks ago. I have a ways to go if I want to start calling myself a "hiker", but here are my thoughts thus far...
The regular hours we teach English at ChungDahm are from 4-10pm, so what will you do with all your free time? Everyone finds a niche teaching English in Korea, from dance classes to volunteering at animal shelters, but for me it’s yoga! Moving here and being immersed in a new environment completely independent was a little stressful, but hot yoga gave me a way to channel my energy and relax.
I found a place just around the corner from the branch called Hot Yoga Studio J. I actually prefer to go to classes after work, because when teaching little kids you often have to match their level of hyper activity. Yoga is where I can calm myself and clear my mind before I go to bed. The yoga instructors speak in Korean, but it’s easy to get the hang of it by following what other people are doing. I even picked up some Korean words like inhale, exhale, relax, and more others.