How did I get here?
Upon hearing of my plans for this coming year, I get asked a lot of the standard questions: What made you choose Korea? How did you set that up? What program are you going through? Many times these questions are followed by more specific questions regarding living accommodations, salary, language, and so on. Though I don’t tire of answering these questions, I thought I might address them in this post.
I made the decision to teach abroad largely after an orchestra tour during interim of my junior year. That trip, and hearing of the trips of many other friends who studied abroad, made me realize that I wanted to do that. In fact, I needed to do that. I wanted to avoid finding a music teaching position right after college, and pretty much having my life set. Boring.
I’ve always been fascinated with both the history and culture of East Asia, and after reading recruiter’s websites and blogs (much like this), I decided on Korea. Due to growing up and going to college in small towns, Seoul is a very exciting new home. Conveniently, after settling on that destination I found that Korea treats and pays their teachers well, has many open positions, and surprisingly has one of the largest swing dancing scenes in the world.
The next step was to find a school. Rather than go through a program like CIEE or getting my TEFL certification through online courses, I decided to go with a recruiting company that a friend recommended. The company, Gone2Korea, is based out of Canada, and I felt like it was large enough to know what they’re doing and to have a good reputation, yet small enough to care about me as an individual.
So far I have not been disappointed. I initially had a phone interview with the president of the company, and once accepted I was connected with a recruiter that personally and promptly handled any questions or concerns I had about paperwork, application process, interview techniques, and so on. After finding a few schools that were not good fits, I interviewed with the Dongdaemun SLP, in Seoul. The interview apparently went well and I was offered the job a couple days later. In addition to providing a healthy salary, my school also purchases my plane ticket and pays my rent and half of my insurance. Sweet deal, huh?
So now here I am less than four weeks away. My Korean is non-existent (for now), I have yet to figure out banking, cell phones, or even what I’m going to pack. Any thoughts or words of advice that I should consider while I prepare for the move?