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Why I Chose to Teach Abroad in South Korea

Teaching abroad is something I was introduced back in 2006 while working in Germany as a camp counselor. I’d met travelers along the way who were teaching abroad, and I thought “Wow! How cool?! I wish I could do that”, but never really thinking twice about it.

Camp Adventure

Me and my kiddos from Camp Adventure

Camp Adventure

Playing dress up

Camp Adventure

Me and fellow counselors

Fast forward to circa 2009, I was browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble and I overheard a guy on the phone talking about his preparations to move abroad to teach English. I peeped around the corner #creeplife and lo and behold it was a brotha! That’s when it really hit me that this teaching abroad thing is a real thing and, not only that, [melanated] people like me are doing it too!

So my research began. Buuut, that research and the idea of moving abroad to teach was short lived. Fear, a relationship, Corporate America, and a slew of other things pushed the thought to the back burner, indefinitely.
Fast forward again to 2014. I was over it! I was over the fear, relationships, Corporate America and everything else that was holding me back from pursuing my passion of traveling. I needed to find a way to sustain long-term travel. So, once again, my research commenced. I’d read so many articles about “Ways to Make Money While Traveling”, but none of them felt fitting. I’m an introvert and don’t like constantly being around crowds of people, or loud and obnoxious drunk or sober  people, so bartending my way around the world wasn’t going to work. I have the know how of a gnat when it comes to techie stuff (it’s a legit blessing that WOAW is even up and running), so anything technology-based…scratch that. Becoming a flight attendant would have been perfect, if only my level of flying anxiety hadn’t gone from non-existent to through the roof over the years (way too many missing planes and terrorist attacks). So, that was a no go too. The only thing that kept coming back to me was teaching English abroad.
I’ve always had a passion for working with kids. Even as a youngster I always said I would be a teacher when I grew up…and then I grew up and that changed, but I digress. Teaching just seemed like the best option, and the more I researched I realized just how easy it was to do. I actually couldn’t believe how easy and how great of an opportunity it is. I’m like, so you mean to tell me all I need is a Bachelor’s degree, a TEFL Certification, be a native from an English speaking country, with no criminal record and you’ll fly me across the globe, provide me with a furnished apartment, RENT FREE, pay me to do something I love doing (teaching), pay me while I’m traveling (using the boat load of vacation days you’ve provided), AND you’ll pay me even more once I finish my contract? Well, by Golly George sign me up!
The decision was just that simple. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, why not? I figured, I’m not getting any younger, I don’t have any real responsibilities (single, no kids, no mortgage, no car payment), and the only ties keeping me in Georgia were my family and friends, but I knew these people would be present in my life no matter where I am in the world. It was essentially now or never. So, I went for it.
Suncheon Bay with my co-teacher

My Korean co-teacher and me

After a ton of research on the best countries to be an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher I decided on South Korea. I wish I could say I’ve always had a love for Korean culture, or I loved Korean food, or was a super fan of K-Pop, but realistically speaking, it was none of that. The closest thing I’d ever come to Korean culture/food were the bulgogi tacos the Korean couple used to serve in the cafeteria at my job, and if I’m being really honest, I’d never even heard of K-Pop before coming here. A shame? I know. I, honestly, chose Korea for the sole fact that they offered the best perks. Remember all those wonderful things I mentioned before? Free flight, free apartment, tons of vacation days, and severance and pension pay? Yep. I get it all, and not to mention I have a pretty sweet schedule, only physically teaching 17 hours/week. You honestly, can’t beat it. Granted, I am the sticks of rural South Korea, but in the end it’s still an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Teaching abroad in South Korea
Teaching abroad in South Korea
So, to any of my readers, if you’re looking to essentially be paid to travel, you should strongly consider teaching abroad. It’s fun and easy (for the most part), and you can’t beat the perks. Feel free to shoot me a message if you have any questions! I’m always happy to help 🙂
  • Lauren hawthorn

    Love this post! I definitely think Teaching english abroad could be on the cards for me one day.

    What company or organisation to set you up? Can you recommend any?

    August 24, 2016 at 11:42 am Reply
  • Lakisha Johnson

    Great read! Hecka inspiring. I’m sitting over here thinking how can I pack up my family and make this work for me.

    February 8, 2017 at 5:20 am Reply

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