Subject: How I ended up in South Korea, the land of the morning calm.
The idea of escaping to a foreign land has been on my mind for years. Though South Korea had never been one of the places I imagined myself.
I fantasized of teaching Scuba in Thailand, running a restaurant on some tropical Island among other wild ideas. I was first introduced to the concept of teaching English as a foreign language about 3 or 4 years ago when my cousin went to Thailand to do it for 2 years. Wow, getting paid to travel and not needing much more than a University degree to do it? Sign me up.
Over the last few years that idea remained in the back of my mind. It was either a job, the prospect of a job or entrepreneurial venture and maybe a girl or two that held me back.
Should I teach English in South Korea?
Well, late last year just as I began selling cars a friend dropped me a line to inform me he was taking the plunge. but to South Korea. Well I had just started a new job – one that I enjoyed very much at that time, moved into a new place with a buddy and was still chasing down the purchase of a business. I was in no place to be jet-setting to Korea for a year. I bid him safe travels.
Months later, the dust had settled on the sales job and it was turning out to be the wrong fit. And the bachelor pad was dissolving to make room for my buddy & his lady to start getting a little more serious.
I actually spent a month or so actively searching for a house and almost put an offer in on one before discovering a blog that kind of changed the game. It had years worth of articles discussing how real estate isn’t necessarily the road to riches that it maybe used to be and that there is other routes.
Can I make money teaching English abroad?
The idea of moving abroad and teaching suddenly re-emerged. I began looking into a few different countries and running some numbers. Based on the money I could make and the cost of living, it looked good. I calculated that I’d earn less than what I would typically making in Canada. But thanks to a lower cost of living, a different tax system and other various bonuses that I would come out considerably further than if I had stayed in Canada.
Couple that with an opportunity to travel, a complete change of career and the chance to learn some new skills.
It got real…
I began contact with my friend who had been living in South Korea for the last 6 months. He had nothing but positive opinion on the country and the overall experience.
So I began to do more and more research. I got in contact with a recruiter. Next I began going through the process of getting ready to find jobs and a visa.
Before selecting South Korea I actually took some interviews for China. I had intentions of teaching in Shenzhen (a city of 8 million). I was offered one job but decided to decline as after weighing China and South Korea against each other South Korea seemed like the better option for myself at the moment.
Around the same time, the dealership and myself finally reached our breaking point. About a month and a half before I left for Korea we separated. I think within the same week I ended up accepting a position with a private English school in Gwangju. Gwangju is in the southern part of South Korea, a city of 2 million.
I’m moving to South Korea
So I had just over a month of ‘mini retirement’ before getting on the plane. It wasn’t wasted that’s for sure. I was blessed to spend much time with many friends and family before I left.
Stay tuned for a future post of a detailed outline of the process involved in getting to South Korea and teaching. As well as what it’s actually like teaching ESL (not what I expected).
Until next time,