Hi my name is Neil, and this blog will focus on why I have decided to come back to teach in Korea for a third year. Coming to Seoul after growing up in a northern Wisconsin small town is a huge difference. In my home town, the cows almost outnumber the people, and being in my 20’s, it is hard having the majority of the population over age 60, So going back to teach in Korea was a no-brainer. With so much to do and see, I had a strong desire to return to Korea. This time, I know where I am going, and I am excited to begin teaching again at Anyang, Pyeongchon branch, near Seoul, South Korea.
With two successful years working for Chung Dahm Learning (CDL), and having just visited my family, I am now heading back to Korea. Departing from family is always difficult; however, Korea has found a special place in my heart. In order to have such high-quality living, as found in Korea, one has to have a high-quality job. In this blog I will tell you about my decision to come back to Korea, and work again for CDL.
Reasons I Came Back to Korea
First, would you rather live next to the sea, or a mountain? Well, you don’t have to decide. Korea is a beautiful country and it has a variety of geographical features. There are mountains everywhere, and there are plenty of hiking groups that you can join. This is both a great way to see something new, and a great way to meet people while abroad. A simple Google or Facebook search will show the variety of groups that go hiking in Korea. By joining a hiking group, it is a great way to be social and healthy at at the same time.
Since Korea is a peninsula, it is also easy to find one of Korea’s many beaches! Many of my friends and co-workers would enjoy relaxing days and the calming atmosphere at the beach in the summer. One of the most beautiful beaches to visit is Haeundai Beach, in Busan. The beach is surrounded by great places to eat, and hang-out and I definitely recommend making a trip here during the summer months.
Aside from Korea’s beauty, the transportation system is incredible. Having had the numerous expenses of a car in the U.S., I have truly enjoyed the freedom, and financial freedom, of not having one and, better yet, not needing one. Korea has one of the best transportation systems in the world! There are buses that go every-which way, and, fortunately, they work with Google maps. I could step outside my apartment and be on a bus anywhere in Seoul in a matter of minutes. The subway system is also very advanced, and they are adding additional subway lines all the time. I have found it extremely affordable, compared with a car taking 1/3 of your income.
Finally, having had my fill of American foods, one of the things I am most looking forward to when going to Korea is the food. Food in Korea is healthy and delicious. Generally, Korean foods are typically rice based, that are high in vegetables and meat. The go-to foods for me are Korean Barbeque (pre-marinated meat with plenty of side-dishes), Bibimbop (vegetables, rice, and a delicious Korean paste), jaeyuk-dupbap.
Reasons I Came Back to Chung Dahm Learning (CDL)
While deciding whether to continue my work at CDL or not, there were several things that really were deciding factors. The first that I would like to mention is the curriculum. Working with students for a prolonged amount of time can be tough. This is especially so if the material is boring. At CDL, they use tablet based learning. Tablet based learning provides for a number of different facets that teachers and students can utilize. For example, if I have students with a high ability, instead of watching a video I can lead them through research on the topic, or provide my own article. Having this ability in the classroom is incredibly helpful. Instead of talking about an abstract idea, I can utilize multimedia that will help them fully grasp the concept. Many academies in Korea only use book materials that limit the teacher’s flexibility. This is a problem if the class turns out to be a train-wreck as the teachers have to just force their way through the material.
The second biggest deciding factor is that I knew that Chungdahm would treat me right compared with many academies in Korea. I don’t have to worry about anything. They had what I needed, and they would make sure that I was treated with fairness and with kindness, as long as I treated them fair and kind as well. I have heard stories of people coming to Korea without any help or information, and they felt stuck. Sometimes it was their fault, but Chungdahm tries to help people get started and transition to a new country.
Lastly, Chungdahm has many locations all throughout Korea. If you don’t get where you want your first year, you can request a change in location after your first year's contract is up, and you are more likely to get that location. It’s very easy, and as long as you are kind, not demanding, they will help you to the best of their ability. I have actually lived in two other locations already in Korea. I have worked for Yeongtong branch in 2013-2014, and Ilsan branch in 2015-2016. While both of these locations were great, I really love having the feeling of adventure in seeing a new place and meeting new people.
I hope this blog has been helpful to those thinking about teaching in Korea, and more importantly teaching for Chung Dahm Learning. I look forward to seeing what my third year of living and teaching in Korea has in store!