It’s Jackie here. What follows is an interview with one of my old coworkers in Korea, Angie Jones. We worked together at a university in Busan. Thanks for letting us know how life in the USA is, post teaching English in Korea.
Here’s the interview with Angie Jones.
Can you briefly tell us about your experience teaching English abroad?
I moved to Gumi, South Korea in 2009 having agreed to a 1 year contract with an English academy. But, I ended up staying four years! I was fortunate to have had my initial term with an outstanding director who was passionate about English and his students. He was also invested in creating a wonderful experience for his teachers, from taking us out to eat to try different Korean cuisine to going on day trips!
By the time I finished my first contract, I was hooked! I taught elementary and middle school students, and, in truth, that part depleted my storehouse of patience. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest, though. It was mostly because I had a lot of influence over the curriculum, and even had the opportunity to develop some of my own.
Why did you decide to move back to your home country?
I probably would have stayed in Korea longer, but I started dating a guy in the States over winter break and we decided to get married that summer, so I finished my university contract, and came home.
What are you doing for work now? Did things go according to plan, or did you have to change directions once you got home?
These days, I work as a Family Support Specialist at a large hospital in Columbus, Ohio. At my job, I give emotional support to families whose patients have suffered an anoxic brain injury that will likely result in death, at which point, I talk with the family about organ donation and support the family in their decision.
Truthfully, I didn’t have a plan when I came home and I feel like I did things out of order; I went to college, grad school, started a career, and then went to Korea. I felt like my job search was a little disjointed, and I had a hard time tying my past work history to the time in Korea in a way that made sense.
While I would like to take credit for having a plan that I followed, I really just got a job and figured out my path from there. Also, I used my husband’s connections at the hospital (he works there, too!).
Did you make any mistakes with regards to moving back? Or, any advice for teachers looking to go home?
I wouldn’t say that I made mistakes in moving back, but I wish I had been more disciplined in my finances while I was there. While I allowed myself to live very comfortably, I could have tightened my belt and made a huge dent in my student loan. I will say that I used that last two salary instalments and pension to make substantial payments on debt, though.
What was the most difficult thing about returning home? Was there anything you thought would be difficult, but it wasn’t?
I had a freakishly easy transition both going there and returning home. It has been very difficult to pay 8.00 for a stick of gim bap, though!
(Jackie here…YES! It makes me so sad to pay $20 here in Vancouver for mediocre Korean BBQ).
About Angie Jones
I loved the four years that I spent in Korea! I believe that it deepened my character and gave me a broader perspective on life! While I haven’t directly used the job skills I honed there in my new career path, I am working on a volunteer program at my hospital to help our ESL associates improve their fluency!
Life After ESL
It’s Jackie here again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Angie. I really appreciate it and I’m sure my readers will too! If you’re looking for some advice about what to do after teaching ESL abroad, then you’ll want to check out this book on Amazon:
It’s the first and only book out there for foreign teachers who are seeking advice about returning to their home countries. The information in the book is from a survey that I conducted, with the goal being to glean every little bit of information I could teachers who’d already made the move.
Check out Life After ESL for yourself over on Amazon:
Have your Say!
Any comments or questions for Angie Jones? Leave a comment below and I’m sure she’d be happy to hear from you.