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With your first online search of “Teaching English in Korea”, you will be overwhelmed with private hagwon and public school teaching opportunities, which you can sort through in hopes of finding your perfect match.

Teaching English in Korea is a fantastic experience for anyone interested. It tests your patience, teaches you how to manage a classroom full of hyperactive children, and makes you plan out your classroom time to a tee, so that you utilize the full 40 or 50-minutes of class allotted to you.

Through the TaLK Program, I have experience teaching in the deep countryside of Korea, Gyeongsangbukdo Uljin, where I learned more about life and myself during a year than any other period of my life. I learned about how to take care of myself, cooking more than just ramen and fried eggs, managing my time, and learned how to embrace my independence by finding time to write and think about what I wanted to achieve during my year at the countryside school. Because I was forced to interact with the country people on a daily basis, due to my lack of a social life, I was able to improve my conversational Korean skills very quickly in a short period of time.

The best thing about my year of teaching was that I learned how to be independent. Facing the battle of loneliness and solitude was probably the most challenging part about living in the area. Being thrown into a town where there were very few people in their 20’s, aside from two or three other English teachers, and having a very limited social life took its toll on me the first few months. Even though I was happy with my school, my fellow teachers, and my students, I took a step back and saw my life outside of work was beginning to negatively affect my school life.

If there’s anything you take away from what I’ve written here, it should be this quote that you have probably seen floating around the internet:

If you love something, let it go.

If it comes back to you, it’s yours.

If it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant to be.

When I first saw these words, I thought it only applied to a person that you loved. We’ve already learned from Shrek, “If you really love her, you should let her go”. But I think it doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to just a person. It could be some ‘thing’, a hobby, an activity, an object.

For me, I just happened to find my treasure. In the middle of nowhere, in an area where Koreans don’t even frequently travel, I found horses.

I didn’t only find horses though. I found people who cared, a family, and love and attention that I needed in order to endure my year in the countryside. When I left in January of this year, I knew I would find a way back even if I did have a busy life in Seoul.

Finding the barn was truly my “pot of gold” that I continue to be thankful for, even 6 months after leaving Uljin. Now as I start to build up my resume in Seoul, learning how to live by myself in the city, and balancing my work and my social life, those memories will remain with me always.

Being happy at work is important, but being happy outside of work is just as important, if not more important. Finding balance between the two is something that can change very easily, depending on our hobbies, the environment we live in, the resources available to us, and our personalities. It’s up to us to make the most of our situation, wherever we are.

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english teaching suji countryside equestrianism

Author's Profile

South Korea South Korea

Other

  • English (English U.S.)
    Native
  • Korean (Korean South Korea)
    Intermediate (Upper)

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