I have been living in Korea for 9 months now and whilst I am the first to admit that it has been a bumpy journey it has allowed me the opportunity to discover myself. I am at a crossroads now (yes I have been watching Love Island, Marcel *swoon*) as my manager has asked me to re-contract and so the opportunity to prolong my stay in Korea has presented itself. However, the vast majority of my time here has been spent longing for my little room, my little house and my little village back in England. So, whilst I endeavour to decide whether to stay or go I have compiled 5 of my favourite things about living in Korea.
5.Location, location, location. As my blogging name suggests I love to travel however this is a relatively new found passion of mine. To date, I have only travelled to 10 countries but this is a number I hope to expand on in 2018. As I am situated in Asia I am in the prime position to travel to all of the nearby countries and travel I shall. My plans to explore SE Asia at the end of my contract may be delayed but they will come to fruition, eventually. I have a list of countries I would love to visit with Japan in mind for my next trip.
4.Disposable income. Foreign teachers in Korea are definitely privileged. Some of the perks include free housing, free health insurance and a nice severance payout on completion of your contract. Not to mention we are paid more than our Korean co-workers because we possess a Western aesthetic. As part of the aforementioned elite, I have been able to spend my money completely selfishly. Since arriving in Korea I have spent the bulk of my income on a refurb of myself. In April I underwent Lasik eye surgery. In June I had my eyebrows tattooed, yes, I did that. And I am currently undergoing dental treatment some of which is cosmetic and the remainder involves root canal (yay) and wisdom tooth extract (double yay). It is hard to avoid being sucked into the vanity aspect of Korean culture, there are advertisements for plastic surgery clinics everywhere and the standard of beauty is just as unattainable as Western standards of beauty. That being said, if I can afford to have 20/20 vision, I don’t see why I shouldn’t!
3.Culture. I feel incredibly blessed that I am able to immerse myself in a culture different from my own; every day I learn something new. Initially, I found it quite hard adjusting to life in Korea, I often felt frustrated by things that I couldn’t do or get here in comparison to England. This was the entire problem; comparing Korea to England. Gradually and naturally I have adjusted and assimilated somewhat to this country I have come to call home. Now I embrace all things Korean and this simple change of mindset has allowed me to enjoy my experience exponentially. I am learning Korean, I am obsessed with K Beauty and I unashamedly listen to K Pop #BTSARMY. The Western items and conveniences I miss about England are a small price to pay for what I am able to experience here.
2.Teaching! Throughout my degree whenever people asked me the career question I would retort sassily: “If all else fails, I’ll teach”. Well, that showed them! In all seriousness, however, my only career goal was to work in a position where I felt like I made a difference. And so, somehow or other I have ended up teaching. Admittedly, for the most part, I don’t really feel like I make a difference but occasionally I have glimpses into what it must be like for a real teacher (not a phoney like me) and it is exceptionally rewarding. I truly believe my disdain for secondary school has moulded me into the ‘teacher’ I have become. I am able to empathise with different types of students, be it the shy ones (like I was at school), the teachers-pets, the apathetic back rowers and last but not least: the class jesters #bananateacher. When my kids remember or understand something I teach them it is a feeling matched by none other and I feel proud to be a teacher.
1.Independence. I feel that for the first time I truly independent; I have nobody to rely on and nobody is reliant on me. Admittedly, this is particularly selfish and perhaps says more about me than I’d care to acknowledge considering I have rated this: the top reason I love living in Korea! That being said, I have spent a large amount of my life either being responsible for, or feeling responsible for, someone else. Korea has granted me the opportunity to put myself first and as selfish as it sounds and as selfish as it may be, it’s been a good and necessary experience. I have been able to sit down and consider my dreams and ambitions whilst taking some much needed time out for self-improvement, and I don’t just mean cosmetically.
What do you love about living in South Korea?