So during my rides of applications and paperwork, many people along the way have asked me: why do I want to to teach in Korea? Now that I am waiting for contract in the mail (It is officially in the mail now), I figure I will answer this question.
First off, if you read my previous blogs, then you should know that I originally wanted to go to Japan through the JET program. Unfortunately, I was put on a wait list; in fact, I am still technically on this wait list. So I guess I should back up even further.
In Spring 2007, I was sitting on my myspace account looking at my friends’ friends to see if there was anyone I knew and wanted to add. On one of my friend’s page, I came across a girl I vaguely remembered from high school, but it was her picture that interested me the most. It was a snorkeling picture of some beautifully clear water. I clicked onto her page, looked at some of her pictures and discovered that she was teaching in Japan. After a couple of e-mails, and reading her blog (a limited blog of only about 8 entries), I thought it was an exciting idea to live overseas teaching English. I also thought: what a great job for me, I am an English major! haha. Well, I was still in college, and though she offered to submit my resume to her boss, I had to turn down the offer. Interestingly, she actually suggested Korea as being a great place to teach because she knew some people over there.
I did some research on my own about how to teach in Japan and found the JET program. It wasn’t time for applications, I wasn’t in a position to apply, and so the JET program moved to the back of my mind. After all, I still had to finish the spring semester of college classes, hold down two jobs during the summer, and do student teaching in the fall so that I could graduate in December!
I was very fortunate after student teaching and landed a teaching job out in West Texas and taught there for the rest of the 07-08 school year. I then went back to the district I did my student teaching and luckily got hired (though at a different school) and taught for another two years. During this time, the feeling of wanting to go abroad was still strong, if not stronger. My feelings towards American public education have decreased. I have never felt truly inspired to be a teacher (it was meant to be a back-up plan haha). After dealing with frustrating students, parents, and school policies, I decided I needed a way out. This is not to say that I’m not grateful for the positions and the coworkers I’ve been fortunate enough to work with–I just can’t see myself being an English teacher in an American public high school until I retire (aka for the rest of my life).
I had looked into teaching at a DoD school but I need 3 years of teaching experience. (I’m not sure if my 2.5 years would cut it, though the district has me as technically having taught 3 school years.) I had also looked into applying for the Air Force as an officer, and was all set to go up until the last step of the process and the actual submission of the documents (summer 2009). So during this past school year (Fall 2009), I decided to apply for the JET program…2 years after my first glimpse of teaching abroad.
So, as stated, the waiting game of the application for Japan was agonizingly slow and I have not received a confirmed position. During Spring Break, I decided I needed to look for alternatives. I was looking through a forum for people applying to Japan and came across the other option of applying to Korea. So..I thought about it–Korea? Hm… why not? It’s cleaner than China, has a growing economy (especially in technology and communications) and is relatively Americanized. It’s a fairly safe place to live and is an affordable/cheap place to shop/live.
I guess after seeing a glimpse of my friend’s life in Japan, I realized I wanted to do something similar. I want to go to a different country and experience a new culture. I cannot see myself teaching in America for the rest of my life and I want to explore the field of International Affairs/Relations. My friend ended up studying this for a master’s and I talked to another female (now friend) who has done the same thing and gave me some great ideas and renewed motivation. I need international experience to be able to go into this field of study at the Graduate level. While in Korea, I want to travel and visit other countries; money will be my only limit 🙂 So I hope this answers the great question: “Why in the WORLD would you WANT to go to Korea!?”