I had never dreamed of living abroad before I met the woman who would become my wife in 2014. She had taught English in Korea for a year and a half and talked so fondly about her time there. I actually have a Korean mother, but while I had visited the country a couple times, I hadn’t been there since middle school, didn’t speak Korean, and hardly felt any connection to the aunts and uncles I had there. When I casually mentioned how much I’d like to learn more about the Korean culture and to get to know my family there better, my wife let me know it didn’t just have to be a dream. We could make it happen.
She had heard of Aclipse from her first year teaching in Korea and seemed really confident we should work with them. I am so glad we did. Living abroad and teaching would both be completely new experiences for me, but Colette at Aclipse made this scenario that had seemed crazy at first become a totally legitimate and pursuable goal. I devoured the informational packets she sent us and got serious about preparing for our mock class phone interview. Being new at teaching, this was a really good opportunity to “test the teaching waters,” so to speak. I was so grateful for the experience and feedback I got then and during the one week training period right when we arrived in Korea.
Colette was there to answer all of our questions throughout the process and even checked in on us after we arrived in Korea and again after we started teaching. She made sure we knew she was always available to help, even after our jobs started.
Since most of my aunts and uncles live in Seoul, we wanted to get placed in or near it. Colette was willing to accommodate that wish as best she could. We ended up getting placed at a Chungdahm April branch in Bucheon. Our apartment was right by work and a subway stop and, if we ever had any issues with it, there was a staff member at the branch who helped us get them sorted. The branch manager was also very understanding when it came to accommodating a couple, and we always got paid on time. Unfortunately, we met teachers at hagwons that weren’t Chungdahm branches who weren’t so lucky when it came to reliable pay or comfortable apartments.
Since the lesson plans were already planned out, we only needed about an hour of prep time every day to familiarize ourselves with the lesson. That meant I had the time to really dive deep into the culture. We had time in the mornings to either explore the city, go grocery shopping, or meet with our Korean friend for language exchanges. After work, with cheap restaurants all around, I got to do my favorite thing more that I could ever afford to back home: eat out, baby! I loved all the spicy Korean food and the chimek (chicken and beer). I also spent tons of time “embracing the culture” by going to our local PC room to play Overwatch and Fortnite.
Most importantly, since our apartment was so close to a subway station, I was able to easily travel on weekends to meet my aunts, uncles, and cousins. They helped me study Korean and took us to some hidden gems around Seoul and Korea. I’m so happy I got to develop lasting relationships with them through this experience. It would not have been possible if it weren’t for Aclipse.
Wayne grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a degree in Accounting and worked as an accounting specialist for 5 years before being ready for an adventure. He and his wife moved to Bucheon, South Korea where they worked at a Chungdahm April branch for one year. Wayne enjoyed interacting with silly Korean kids, as well as exploring the country, eating the delicious food, and getting to know his Korean aunts, uncles, and cousins. After a great year of adventure, Wayne and his wife are looking for a house near family and friends.