by Carrie Richardson, Greenheart Travel Teacher in South Korea
Thus far, teaching in Korea has been so good to me. I live in Daegu, but I have three schools in Seongju, about an hour west of Daegu. Definitely the countryside. I carpool to all of them and the commute really isn’t bad. I hop in a car, put some headphones in, and I’m on my way. All of my co-teachers/coworkers have been so accommodating and kind. I have a native Korean teacher in every class I teach, but I really only have five actual co-teachers. All of my schools are incredibly small; 47, 22, and 11 students. I teach K-6 grade and all the students are almost always fun and respectful. I did have to do my first serious reprimanding of a student today which included me having a talk with the student during their recess, but that all went over smoothly.
Living in Daegu has been great! My first choice was Busan. I visited Busan over Chuseok and I actually became even more grateful for being able to live in Daegu! I loved Busan, but Daegu seems like a more adaptable speed for me, being a foreigner in a new country. Only two subway lines and everything is rather accessible and easy to get to. Lots to do, and the deals on shoes are amazing!
My apartment is rather spacious compared to some of my friends apartments, I hear. I have an extremely pink toilet… and sink. Adds character, I guess. It’s basically three rooms: kitchen, bedroom, bathroom. I think the best thing about living in this apartment really is that I live right across from Keimyung University, so everyone around my area is young and hip and there’s plenty of things to do right where I live. There’s also a plethora of university students that want to practice English so I’ve been approached a lot, which has been kind of nice.
In fact, on my first night in my apartment I didn’t have internet. I went and sat on some random stoop with my iPod touch to Skype with a girl from orientation who was feeling equally as lonely. I was mainly focused on the screen but I soon looked up and saw 9 lanky middle school-aged boys surrounding me, and they were just wanting to talk. It was kind of nice. Anyway, so as far my apartment goes, come February I am able to move to a different apartment if I want to, which I might do. I have no objection to living in a nicer place, maybe not above a restaurant so there aren’t any strange smells. I think that’s my apartments only downside, but it’s not really that bad at all.
There have been periods of no internet, or having little time at school to write since all my free time is regularly taken up by trying to communicate with and learn about my coworkers. I have so much I’d like to share with people though. I feel as if I am doing exactly what I should be doing with my life and I’m so excited. I’m so thankful I came across Greenheart while researching teaching in Korea. I’m so grateful for EPIK orientation as well. You meet a ton of people, all of who are in the same boat as you, not to mention all of the potential couch surfing opportunities you leave orientation with! I now know quite a number of culturally diverse and supportive people in a wide array of Korean provinces. Currently the only real dilemma I have, and can’t stop thinking about, is where to take my vacation!
I still haven’t been to Seoul but I’m sure that’s coming soon. When I got to Korea a friend of mine that I was close with in high school but hadn’t seen in a couple of years, messaged me telling me he was teaching at a Hagwon with his girlfriend in Seoul. They headed down to Daegu the first weekend I was here, and hopefully I’ll be visiting them soon. So far I’ve been to Jonju, Daegu, Seongju, Goryeong, Busan, and Ulsan. Hopefully Seoul, and Gumi soon.