Hi everyone, it’s Jackie here. This is an article from Ryan Thompson, who is currently teaching in Korea. He writes about his experiences at Journeys Korea.
If you’re stuck in a rut, check out what he has to say and hopefully you’ll find some inspiration! Let’s get to it.
I Was Stuck
While sitting at my “safe” corporate job in procurement I loathed every day. Living for the weekend and totally disengaged from work. What a sad existence. Everyone around me thought my job was a step in the right direction and it would have been if I was immersed in it. Unfortunately, I was spending more time hiding from work projects than actually doing them. I was officially stuck.
Death wasn’t knocking on my doorstep and I didn’t have to make a pilgrimage to find clean water. However, our minds find problems no matter what. My problems were clearly first world problems. To make matters even luckier, I was able to leave problems I didn’t want to solve for problems I wanted to solve.
Korea..Not so Easy to Blend In
Growing up I never did much planning. I was always engaged in sports and school but somewhere along the way I made one decision to disengage and then another and another. Disengaging and wanting to blend into the crowd became the norm. That is extremely difficult to do when you are 6’5”. It is difficult to do in the USA and I am the definition of an alien in the countryside city in South Korea that I am currently living in.
Will Teaching English Solve my Problems?
Do you feel stuck? If you have that feeling for too many days in a row then maybe it is a time for change. Will teaching English in another country solve your problems? No. In fact, it will give you a laundry list of new problems that you never knew existed or ones you solved many years ago. Learning how to say hello or ride a bus with no clue how to read each bus stop to get off. Throw efficiency out the window.
Problems at Home? Still There When you Get Back
Also, most of those problems you ran away from back home will remain unsolved waiting for you to solve them once you decide to come back. So, I am not painting the teaching abroad experience like you normally see all over the internet. Don’t get me wrong, backpacking and exploring are great but there is so much you don’t see behind those pictures with smiles.
Should You Teach in Another Country?
Should you teach English in another country? That is an impossible question for me to answer. The only thing I know to be true is that I made the right decision even though it wasn’t a perfect situation for me to leave. I wasn’t in the best financial situation and I had a serious girlfriend who was absolutely marriage material. Flash forward two years. Lost the girlfriend. Still not rich. Not fully connected with my friends and family from the past. However, I am the strongest I have ever been physically and mentally.
Connections…the Best Thing about Travelling
I have shared so many laughs and experiences with people in corners of the world that I never knew existed. To be honest I don’t really like “travel.” Or maybe I don’t like tourism, history, and food. Obviously I love food but I am not going to sit there and rave about my meal or go out of my way to find the best places. What I love about traveling to different countries and living in South Korea are connections. The moments of deep connections when you don’t even speak the same language but you both feel like one.
Best and Worst Experiences in Korea
My favorite experiences have been working with other Korean teachers for a month on a Kpop dance or an old school Korean ballad to perform for the school festival.
There are so many differences between USA and South Korea and those times you feel it will absolutely be the lowest of the lows. The moments of feeling so alone in the world because you can’t communicate your simplest emotions.
It doesn’t matter if the feelings are good or bad. They are feelings and that is what life is about. Change and the ability to feel; but in the end we are human and have so many more similarities.
What do You Think?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
What’s your motivation for teaching English in Korea, or in another country?
Has it been a good, or bad experience?