Coming to teach English in Korea can be a beautiful thing. You come to this foreign land knowing that you will experience a different culture, travel to many places, and teach some wonderful kids. What you don't know is that you will share all these experiences with people that become your closest friends.
Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!
One of the most famous tourist sites in Korea is the Namsan Seoul Tower. From the outlook you have a panoramic view of the city, and it is especially beautiful at sunset. Neil and I visited Namsan on New Years Eve. We took the metro to Myeong-dong station and left from exit 3. We walked to the place where we could take a cable car up, (a round trip ticket is 8,000 won). Getting to the cable car is a fast way of getting up to the tower, but if you’re going on it to get a look at some scenery, I’m not entirely sure if it is worth it because we were packed like sardines in there!
There were so many pictures to take once we reached Namsan Tower! Unfortunately, I don’t have any good sunset pictures from the peak as it happened to be really muggy that day. However, I still have some interesting ones of these locks that you will find up there. Couples from all over come to this place to declare their love for each other with the symbol of a lock, promising that they will never break up. It’s a bizarre concept considering love is supposed to set you free, but nonetheless a cute thing to do with your special someone. My cousin was the one who recommended it to me to do with Neil while he was here. My cousin even said that he has more than one lock up there somewhere, each with a different girlfriend! I made fun of him for it, and will probably never let him live that down...
Worried about leaving a significant other behind while teaching English in South Korea? Many teachers who come to Korea are leaving their boyfriend or girlfriend back in the U.S. You're not alone! These relationships are difficult but doable.
One of the best parts of any job is having great co-workers. Teaching in Korea is no different. Whether your ChungDahm school is big and you have 15-20 co-workers, or small (like mine) with only 5 other co-workers, you will certainly be able to bond with the people you see every day.
This past weekend, I attended my first Korean wedding. If you’ve been an ex-pat in Korea long enough and haven’t been to one of these yet, you start to hear stories. There are certain customs connected to the wedding in Korea that are very different than those for weddings back in the States. Here’s one example: Koreans don’t propose. The idea of the man getting down on one knee while a string quartet plays softly in the background just doesn’t really exist here. Instead Koreans are more practical about deciding to get married; they have a discussion, make a decision, and that is usually the end of it. However, classic “western-style” proposals are starting to catch on in small pockets, mostly in Seoul. In fact, an entire industry has recently popped up catering solely to organizing the most romantic proposal possible. For me, paying some random company a boat-load of money to arrange a fancy proposal for you isn’t what I’d call “romantic,” but I’m no marriage expert, so I won’t pass judgment.
The birds and the bees: No matter where you travel in the world, dating and relationships are bound to affect you personally and culturally. When I left the United States to teach English in South Korea, I had no idea what the dating scene would be like: Do Korean boys like American girls? Would their be other expats to choose from? What are the Korean cultural norms and values about dating? Luckily, thanks to the extensive experience of my friends, and my own research, I can now report that the dating scene is alive and thriving in the ROK for expats and Koreans alike. So read on for some tips and tricks to dating, relationships, and finding love abroad.