Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas in Korea...

Imagine a cold and frosty morning huddled around the Christmas tree opening presents with your nearest and dearest. Imagine the mountains of food that will be utterly demolished as you pull open yet another cracker and tell the cheesiest joke of the year. Imagine seeing the Christmas lights around your local town and enjoying a warm mulled wine from one of the many Christmas market stalls. Imagine the Boxing Day sales or ice skating at Winter Wonderland. Imagine the chocolate calendar, the Coca Cola advert, the mince pies, the turkey, the cranberry sauce, the pigs in blankets, the roasted vegetables, the Yorkshire puddings, imagine ALL OF THE FOOD!! Imagine that, and then imagine this...

Teacher? What’s Christmas?! ...Welcome to Christmas in Korea! I’m exaggerating slightly but Christmas really isn’t a big deal here. Unlike back home where pretty much everyone (regardless of their religion) celebrates it, in Korea only Christians really do. Christianity is the second biggest religion here but it still only makes up about 25% of the population. A massive 70% of people are Buddists, and so because of this you won’t find as many festivities going on as you might do in certain western countries.

...The few decorations I found...

The local towns aren't really decorated and you’ll find it hard to spot a Christmas tree or even a bit of tinsel. However if you absolutely LOVE Christmas and can't live without it then have no fear, there are a few things that are worth checking out. If you’re an ESL teacher like myself, then you should experience some sort of Christmas, depending on your schools beliefs of course. At my school we had a small party, sang some Christmas songs and made some lovely little Christmas cards. We even had Santa stop by with a few presents to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. How lovely. 

Outside of work on the streets of Seoul you’ll be able to find a few Christmas decorations dotted around the place, and there is even a couple of restaurant serving up a good old (Korean style) roast dinner! It’s not really the same but it’ll do. Lotte World apparently has a big Christmas parade too, and as the worlds largest indoor theme park you should expect great things - although the jury is still out on that one!

Myeongdong Shopping street

Be sure to also check out the huge outdoor ice skating rink at Seoul Grand Plaza. Book in advanced if you can though, as this does get extremely busy around this time of year. There are a few light festivals worth seeing around the city, including some along the Cheonggyecheon Stream, and I’ve also heard that there are some really nice Christmas Markets around the same area of Insadong.

Although its not a big deal in Korea, Christmas Day is still a public holiday and the people that do celebrate it exchange gifts (usually money) and eat traditional Christmas cakes much like people in the west. However, their idea of a Christmas cake is basically a sponge or ice cream cake bought from the local Baskin and Robbins. Nice.

Christmas Eve CAKE!

It has felt a bit strange to not have as many things going on around me this year, and of course not being surrounded by my friends and family. I've missed things that I didn't think I would really miss - like the annual Christmas work party and the dramas that follow it. It feels very un-Christmassy without the dramas, but it has been great to experience a different type of Christmas in a different country, and I am very happy to be a part of it.

This year I will be spending Christmas day itself...on a plane! Yes that's right folks, tomorrow I will be flying out to spend the holidays in the wonderful land of Australia! Whoop! It will be as hot as the sun and after the last few weeks of freezing cold weather I honestly can not wait! I will be stopping off for a few hours in China too, so technically I’ll be in Korea and China on Christmas Day, and then Australia there after, so i’ll let you know how that one pans out!

For now though I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, enjoy it wherever you may be in the world and remember, dogs aren't just for Christmas - they eat them all year round here!

Until 2016...

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Another Year? Go on then...

So last month my director sat me down and asked me if I'd like to stay another year! Eeeeek! Nine months in and I already have to decide whether or not I should stay for the next fifteen! Wow! Its a big decision to make and at the time I honestly wasn't sure how I felt about it all. However after much umming and erring the results are in, and I have decided to stay!

With one more year behind my back I will have saved a lot more money and I will be able to explore a lot more of the world, which is one of the main reasons why I moved over here in the first place. I will also have more time to figure out exactly what it is I want to do when I eventually do go back home...Oh god. I have also come to realise that I probably won’t have another break like this until I retire...in about 35 years time, so I figure I may as well make the most of it. 

Since I moved to Korea in February I have been saying that the highs are extremely high and the lows are extremely low, but over the past couple of months as things have settled, I have realised that this is actually a little bit silly. Sure there’s going to be tough times, but after a while it sort of becomes a bit ridiculous. Making a mountain out of a mole hill, feeling anxious and paranoid and becoming unnecessarily dramatic have been some of my worst qualities in Korea. Thankfully I now know that there are much better ways to spend my time, and I think that this is probably one of the best lessons I have learnt here.

Being in Korea is almost like being back at university but with the added benefits of money and a home of your own. Its a massive learning curve (as is life) and I think in order to truly appreciate this experience, I need to stay another year. If only just to understand how amazing it is to be able to explore Korea (or anywhere else in Asia) within just a few hours, and I am for sure going to make the most of that.

So I plan on trying to do as much as possible over the next 15 months and stop wasting so much time on the silliness. This is one of those experiences that I want to look back on with fondness, and it is only really me that can make that happen.


So Korea 2016...bring it on!


Friday, 27 November 2015

Meanwhile, in North Korea...

When I was back in England and heard of people visiting the border between North and South Korea, my first thought was...are you crazy?! Why would you go there?! It was only after I’d been here for a few months that I became interested, and realised the importance of learning about this fascinating place and the history that surrounds it. Living in South Korea and so close to the border made me especially curious about the North, and so I decided that it was time to take the short 40 minute bus ride to The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), in search of some answers.

The DMZ is the area extending two kilometers to either side of the border between the North and the South. It is one of the most heavily militarised zones in the world right now but interestingly enough, the entire line is only marked by small singular white posts. Inside the DMZ there is a mixture of farm land, wildlife and it is even home to (as they like to call it) ‘The Most Dangerous Golf Course in the world’ which is surrounded by live landmines left over from the Korean war. The most fascinating thing of all though, is that this area has completely reverted back to nature. It is one of the most undeveloped areas in Asia that is home to an immense amount of plant and animal life. It is even speculated that the rare Siberian Tiger (The traditional symbol of unified Korea) is among the wildlife here, although this is yet to be proven.

Joint Security Area

One of our first stops along the DMZ was the applicably named 'Third Tunnel of Aggression'. Buried deep beneath the DMZ are 4 small tunnels that were discovered in the 70's, and were built by North Korea to invade the South, although they will of course deny this. The third tunnel is extremely small as the average height of a North Korean man is just 5 foot 5 inches, so most people do have to crouch down the entire way. Luckily for me and all of my 5 foot and 1 inch - it didn't cause too much of a problem. Once inside and after a less than comfortable ride down to the bottom on a small monorail (claustrophobics beware), you can see black markings all along both sides of the walls. These were apparently painted on by the North, to suggest that they were simply just digging for coal, should their tunnels ever be found. However, there has never been any evidence to suggest that coal has ever existed in these granite dug tunnels, so it is a little bit awkward for them.

 Safety First!
 The end of the tunnel!


Before arriving at the JSA (our final destination) we stopped at the observatory platform from which we could see the abandoned village of Panmunjom, and the two Korean flagpoles. Back in the 1980's when these were both constructed there was a huge uproar over the height, and a small 'war of flagpoles' broke out proving that size, really does matter. The North Koreans flagpole is now the fourth biggest in the world...but remember, the average male height still remains at 5'5!

We also passed The Bridge of No Return - a prisoner exchange bridge between the two sides, and the Freedom Bridge, which was used to send soldiers back from the North during the war. Both bridges are now of course completely inaccessible. After presenting our passports at about 5 different check points throughout the day, we finally reached the last one. Here, a soldier boarded the bus and did a final check of our identification, and also our outfits. The dress code (along with everything else) is quite strict and you are told beforehand of what not to wear. This consisted of no sleeveless or collarless shirts, no army related clothing, and no flags from anywhere whatsoever. It was pretty crazy, and we were told by our guide at least 20 times an hour not to take any pictures in certain spots, and NEVER to point.

 North Korea
 Messages left by separated families on the Freedom Bridge
When we arrived at the JSA we were also told not to drink water or make any sudden movements. We all entered in 2 straight lines passing soldiers on either side as silence filled the air. We were able to go into the meeting room and step over the border itself meaning that technically we were in North Korea, and we were funnily enough allowed to take pictures in this part.

Shortly before this and still standing in line, we were given a moment to stop, and take it all in. As I looked out towards North Korea which was only a few steps away, I felt very strange. I'm not sure if I was scared, or worried, or just emotional about all of the history that these two sides have shared together, but it was a feeling that I will never forget. 

  The guards at the JSA
The Meeting room - South on the left, North on the right!

 Over the border in North Korea!

This area was by far, the most tense place I have ever visited. There are so many interesting stories that we were told and I could genuinely talk about it for hours. However it really is something that needs to be experienced first hand, so make sure if you are in South Korea to take a trip to this truly, spellbinding place.

You will not regret it!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Bizarre Korea

I have now been in Korea for nearly 9 months and I can quite frankly say that its been a roller coaster ride of emotions. However the one thing that has kept me going through the ups and the downs is the ridiculous amount of genuinely bizarre celebrated holidays. There are around 12 Red Days a year which is a real treat. Don't be fooled though, the holidays in which you do not receive a day off for are still celebrated and taken very seriously indeed. So here are just a few of the wonderfully weird dates that this wonderfully weird country celebrates...

Peparo day - November 11th
Pepora day is a day where everybody gets together and eats chocolate covered bread sticks...yep, that’s a thing here. There is no other reason for it and they genuinely do go all out. There are hundreds of gift boxes and different varieties available, and it is said that this day generates the highest sales in convenience stores too, so expect to receive at least six if you’re in Korea at this time. If you look at the date of 11:11, it kind of looks like 4 Peparo sticks standing side by side so perhaps that's why they chose this date. Anyone for a pocky...

The 14th day of EVERY month!!!
Well first of all lets start with Valentines day on the 14th February which everyone either loves or hates, usually depending on their relationship status at the time. Most countries celebrate this just once a year (how lovely), Korea on the other hand basically has a day every month for it! Its pretty crazy, take a look...

Children's Day - May 5th
Do you remember when you were a kid and were always asking your parents why there isn’t a children's day’? Well in Korea there is one! On this day parents buy their children gifts and usually take them on an outing of some sort. Its cute but it means that you’ll never hear the classic response of ‘because every day is children's day’ ever again. This is also a public holiday so cheers to that!

Hangul Day - October 9th
If you’re a writer than you’ll love this one. An entire day to celebrate the creation of Hangul - the Korean alphabet. It was created under King Sejong during the Choson Dynasty in 1446. Over the years the date has changed several times due to the different calendars and incorrect assumptions. However after the discovery of the Hunmin Jeongeum Haerye (a commentary on the original proclamation of Hangul) in 1940, it was revealed that the correct date is in fact October 9th. This is also a national holiday in Korea so Happy Hangul Day I say!

So there you have it, as you can see in Korea you’re never far away from another holiday. So dust off those wallets (especially if you're dating a Korean) and be prepared to spend big money but ultimately, enjoy A LOT of great days off! Score!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Halloween in Korea...

October 31st brings yet another holiday here in Korea and of course all over the world. Halloween is that time of year where kids (and adults alike) get dressed up and go out gallivanting around the town. Back home in England its not really a huge deal to be honest. There are parties and some children do indeed go trick or treating, but compared to other countries we definitely don't go crazy for it. Therefore it was great to actually celebrate this holiday, and it will be one that I will probably remember for a while.

When I arrived at school on the Friday I was greeted with black and orange decorations as far as the eye could see. Jack-o-lanterns, Halloween treats and a crazy amount of candy were among the many items on display, and it wouldn't be Halloween without a good ole pumpkin or 6. The children all dressed up and I was not at all surprised to see 4 Elsa’s, 2 Sleeping Beauties, a Cinderella and even 1 Rapunzel. They do love their Disney princesses. We also had a pretty scary looking Witch, a Pirate, and what I thought was Aladdin - turns out he was just a Ninja. Standard. I decided to go as a cowboy/sherif (easiest costume I could think of) which was great...until the kids started calling me 'Cow Teacher'. Really didn't think that one through! DAMMIT! It was good fun though and all in the name of Halloween.

The day was spent playing spooky musical chairs, hiding under blankets, and pretending to carve the crap out of an imaginary Pumpkin. The children went trick or treating around the school too which involved turning the lights off in my office and scaring the life out of the ones that came knocking, and then giving them candy of course. A couple of children did not want to participate because of their religious views and so they did not attend school that day, but the kids who did literally had a whale of a time. 

In the afternoon we made some pretty impressive jack-o-lanterns and read some scary stories, which proved a bit too much for some of the children but all good fun none the less. Everyone had a lovely old time and at the end of the day they all went home with enough candy to last until at least next year. This Halloween at my little kindergarten school in South Korea will be one of those days that I will definitely look back on with fondness. It can sometimes be quite a challenging job to have out here, but its moments like this that make it all worthwhile.

7 weeks until Christmas! Arrgh!

Friday, 23 October 2015

A Brit living in Korea...

Living in Korea as a British expat has introduced me to many different personality traits that I was unaware I even had. So far I have learnt a lot about myself and about my own countries culture too. I have also gained a better understanding of what the rest of the world actually thinks of the Brits, and how we react in different circumstances. What is sometimes okay for me, is sometimes not okay for others and I’m not just talking about the Koreans. I think when it comes to the human race its safe to say that one rule definitely does NOT fit for all. Those HSBC adverts had a good point!

Adjusting to this has been a real challenge, and I have to admit that for the first time I don’t think it has really helped being from a Performing Arts background. At university we were literally taught to be as open and honest as possible and this has sometimes gotten me into a bit of trouble here. I think its important to remember not to change who you are when moving abroad, but just to judge certain situations you may find yourself in and act accordingly. There have been moments here when I have realised just how British I actually am, and below are just a few of the things I've picked up on so far...


 1. Getting overly excited about wearing a raincoat!


In England I HATED the rain, here its just another thing that reminds me of home and so I have learnt to absolutely LOVE IT! It doesn't happen that often but when it does you can be sure that the smiles will come out with it! Say YES to the RAIN!

2, Any time I see a Mcvitie's digestive or rich tea biscuit...

It genuinely excites me and although the tea isn’t up to scratch and there isn’t a crumpet to be seen, this is certainly one thing that is guaranteed to turn even the dullest days back around. Its all about the home comforts you see.


3, Becoming annoyed at myself for saying things like elevator and zucchini...but secretly loving it!


Being surrounded by different nationalities day in and day out has meant that my vocabulary has definitely started to change. I catch myself saying some of the weirdest things sometimes...take the classic dressing gown for example, in America they call it a robe and in Canada, they call it 'A HOUSE COAT'! Hilarious!

4, The queuing system...


Oh wait...there isn’t one. Ajummas (older people in Korea) get prority over EVERYTHING! None of them queue and it genuinely drives me insane. I can’t help but to release several tuts and huffs every time this happens. Steam usually starts to protrude out of both eardrums and if I had a bow tie it would no doubt be spinning, mark my words - queing is NOT a thing here!

5, Taking your shoes off...


When you walk into restaurants, someone else's house and even the changing rooms of clothes shops, you take off your shoes. I have gotten use to this now, but I do sometimes like to reminisce about the good ole times when I never had to do this. Ah memories.  

6, Public Bathrooms...

If you’re lucky you’ll get a hole in the ground and soap that resembles... well its just bizarre. Using these facilities is something that I now refuse to do, thankfully it isn't all that bad though. There are usually normal toilets too and sometimes even a ‘flush sound button' - for those moments when you just don’t want people to hear your movements! Classy! But always remember to take toilet paper with you - the stuff is rare and hardly ever available. Pop some hand sanitizer in your bag aswell and you'll be just fine.


7, The weather...

From day to day (unlike the UK) it doesn’t really change much, so therefore conversations about the weather are kept to a minimum. Sometimes I find myself going a whole day without even mentioning the weather. Its strange and very un-British.

8, Understanding sarcasm...

Sometimes people don’t get it and it genuinely hurts my feelings. I have nothing more to add on this...its too painful.
And finally...


9, My white legs...

 I know its Halloween soon but they really are too horrendous to show! Funnily enough having white legs in Korea is actually a massive benefit. The Koreans love a bit of pale white skin and I’ve even received compliments! I knew there was a reason I’d been hiding them for years!

So there you have it, just a few of the things a Brit notices when living in Korea. Its a funny old world but one that is thankfully packed full with diversity and constant surprises, so 'here here' to that! Oh and one final thing to clear up for anyone who isn't sure...

...we don't all eat BOILED MEAT!!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Seoraksan Mountain

After a less than comfortable night sleeping on the beach, we woke up and threw some grilled cheese sandwiches on the Barbecue before heading off to Seoraksan National Park. The park itself is huge and covers an area of about 163 square kilometres. It is listed as a World Heritage spot and was made into a nature reserve by the South Korean government in 1965. Situated on the east central Korean peninsula, the park itself has many different peaks to climb, and it is a great location for novice and experienced hikers alike.
It’s also a great place for people who aren’t that keen on hiking, as there are some fascinating gardens, temples and of course the good old faithful cable car if you’re feeling a little lazy. It was quite easy to get to from our base (on the beach) as the number 7 bus which departs from opposite the main bus station on the other side of the road, takes you directly there. The journey took about 20 minutes too, so it was super convenient. However, be prepared for the bus ride (especially on the way back) as it can get quite busy at times.
Seoraksan Mountain
Once we arrived at the foot of the mountain, it was clear to see why this place draws such a crowd. The stunning surroundings on this gorgeous sunny day were breathtaking and I couldn’t wait to pop on my sunglasses and start exploring. Admission to the park itself is about 3,000won, and once inside there is so much to see that you may find that one day just isn’t enough. We decided to hike up to the Biryongpokpo falls, which was about a 2 hour round trip and totally worth it. On the way up, there were many different sights to see and spots to relax in. The guided pathway leads you through forest land, rocky terrain and at one point across a pretty impressive suspension bridge. For the most part stairs have been put in place along the way, however there are some areas where you have to navigate around a couple of huge boulders but its not too difficult. Seeing the beautiful waterfall at the top makes this the perfect place to just sit down and take everything in. It's totally mesmerising.  

The main attraction of the park is of course the peak of Seoraksan mountain itself. We decided (due to time restrictions and part laziness) to take the cable car up to the top and that was definitely a highlight in itself. If you’re thinking of going I would suggest getting your tickets for the cable car as soon as you arrive, as you may have to wait up to 3 hours for your allocated time slot. You ARE able to go off and come back again though so it's not really too bad at all. The price for the cable car is 10,000won, and if you’re going to Seoraksan then this is something that you absolutely do not want to miss.

Once we got to the top, the view was just spectacular. The rolling mist and incredible scenery made it look like something out of a Hollywood blockbuster, and I imagine that this would be the perfect location for perhaps the sequel to a film like Cliffhanger. Due to the high altitude it did feel slightly nerving at times and my ears definitely did pop once or twice, but I hardly noticed as I was very much in awe of the entire place. After some time we eventually returned to the bottom of the mountain, and made our way to the mahoosive bronze Buddha of Sinheungsa. This is perhaps the biggest Buddha statue that I have ever seen, but then that’s not really hard as I haven’t seen many. The whole place felt quite spiritual at times and it was wonderful to see so many Buddhist monks wandering around the area.
Seoraksan National Park and Sokcho truly are two beautiful places to visit in Korea, and I would totally recommend them to everyone and anyone who has ever lived! The whole trip was rounded off the next morning by watching the glorious sunrise on Sokcho beach at 6am. Looking out at the horizon over the East Sea after an absolutely epic Chuseok weekend away, I wondered when my next adventure would be and where it will lead me. Until then...
Sunrise on Sokcho Beach

Friday, 2 October 2015

Chuseok weekend on Sokcho Beach

Last weekend it was a national holiday here in Korea. Chuseok (as its called) is a major harvest festival that is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Traditionally most Koreans spend this 3 day holiday by travelling back to their home towns and sharing a huge feast with family and friends. Yum. Most also wear the traditional hanbok (dress) and play various folk games, so its similar to Thanksgiving in that it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your nearest and dearest. Others (especially the foreigners) use this time off as a chance to travel around the country and even further afield too. So me and some friends thought what better way to celebrate this holiday then to do something totally Korean, and go camping for the weekend on the east coast.  

 Sokcho Beach
Sokcho is a small beach side town on the north east side of Korea. It has a huge military presence due to its close proximity to North Korea (just 30 miles in fact) and it was actually once part of the North right up until the end of the Korean war. Therefore most of the residence here have family that are unfortunately still in North Korea, but regardless of these circumstances I found most of the people here to be extremely friendly, happy and welcoming. We arrived in Sokcho after a 4 hour bus trip from Express Bus Terminal in Seoul. It usually doesn’t take this long, but due to the chaotic holiday traffic, we experienced a bit of a delay. As soon as we got there we headed straight to the beach, which is about a 5 minute walk from the bus terminal itself, and set up camp. The weather was literally perfect, not too hot and not too cold and the sky was completely clear. 

There were a few other people in the area that were also camping but for the most part it was pretty empty. There is a campsite that is set back slightly from the beach next to some red and white dome buildings that we discovered after the first night, but as we had already set up camp we decided to stick it out on the beach. It was free after all. That afternoon we mainly just chilled out on the beach and explored the local area. We found the cutest little café that served an ice cream beer that was beyond delicious. The people in this café were so friendly that we went back on more then one occasion over the duration of the trip. It can be found right next to the dome buildings on the main road so if you’re in the area be sure to pay them a visit.

 Ice cream beer! Yum!
 Exploring the local area
Footprints in the sand
As we eat out quite a lot at restaurants back in Seoul, we decided to grab some food from the local supermarket and have our own little Bar-BQ on the beach. We bought an array of different meats including pork, duck and chicken aswell as some Kimchi and lots of other vegetables too. After dinner and several bottles of the famous flavoured Soju, we roasted some marshmallows on the fire and stargazed whilst listening to the moving tides. There was a constant display of fireworks and lanterns to be seen and so we of course had to buy some sparklers to celebrate the Chuseok holiday. One thing I love about the beaches in Korea (or at least the ones I have been to) is that there always seems to be people setting off fireworks. This makes every beach visit seem like a constant celebration of some sort and one that I will gladly take part in. 

Sokcho Beach at night

Sokcho beach is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend away, not only because of the amenities and natural beauty of the area, but also because of its proximity to the famous Seoraksan Mountain. The next day we had planned to take the short bus trip up to Seoraksan National Park itself to do some hiking, and so off to sleep we went with a head empty of thoughts, and a heart full of happiness ready for the next days, mini adventure.

To be continued...

Friday, 18 September 2015

Teaching in Korea

I don’t really spend much time writing about the actual teaching aspect of my life here in Korea, so I thought it was about time that I gave you all a little insight into the actual Job that allows me to continue to gallivant around this side of the world. First off let me start by saying that I have been extremely lucky with my school, not that most schools are bad or anything but I have heard of some horror stories. So if you are thinking of trying this teaching abroad thing out then I would definitely recommend going with a good recruitment agency (especially if its your first time) and remember if something sounds to good to be true, then it probably is. As some of you know I personally went with Teach ESL Korea and I can not praise them enough. They were excellent from start to finish and supported me through everyone of my decisions. Check out their website HERE if you’re interested.

Another thing to bear in mind when going through this process, is to just go with your gut feeling when it comes to accepting offers and do not feel rushed in to this. Sure, things do move quickly here but if they are asking for an answer before you’ve even received a response from the current teacher, then that to me signals massive red flags. Remember, you’re giving up a lot to move to the other side of the world on your own, so I can not stress this enough, it needs to feel right! Of course there are always going to be things that you cannot be sure of until you actually arrive, but if the location, benefits and the school seem good then just jump in head first and go for it.

Seven months ago I found myself doing exactly that and now here I am still loving living and working in South Korea, so most of the time things really can work out, but if they don’t then at least you can say you’ve tried and there are always other options. I myself work at a Kindergarten and Elementary School in the small city of Anyang, which is about a 30 minute ride from the centre of Seoul on the subway line. It’s an easy commute and most of my weekends are spent up in Seoul exploring, so it suits me down to the ground. I have a lovely little loft style apartment that is literally a one minute walk from my school, and here I am basically the only foreign teacher. I say basically because there is actually another foreign teacher who I work with, but this is only for a couple of hours a day, so for the most part I am on my own.

 School lunch!
School hall

My working hours are 9:30am - 6pm (Monday - Friday) and I have a good few breaks during the day. The work itself is pretty easy and I even get a free school lunch, which at home might scare me to my very core, but the food here is amazing so it really is a massive plus. I have all the materials I need and I basically just follow a book for most of my lessons. I do have to plan my Drama classes though and this is a bit more work, but it is work that I really enjoy so therefore it doesn’t feel like a chore at all.

The children I teach are aged between 4 - 12 years old and (for the most part) are lovely. They are very respectful and genuinely do what I ask of them. Of course there is always going to be ‘that one’ but I have learnt not to let it get to me too much as they’re just kids after all. It's also important to remember that this is a business as much as it is a school, so it’s crucial to make sure the kids are all having a great time, so that they continue to come back. Most children in Korea go to school from 8am - 10pm at night, which makes their school days ridiculously long. Because of this I am pretty lenient when it comes to the kids not doing their homework. They have it bad enough without some westerner shouting at them for not completing one tiny piece of work.

Once a week we also go on field trips with the kindergarten kids which is a massive benefit to the role too. All this and I get a decent wage and my accommodation and flights paid for. Great right? RIGHT! I know what you must be thinking, there has got to be some negatives to this - it sounds like a dream job! Well I’m not going to lie, as far as things are going at the moment, it really is pretty good and I am definitely enjoying teaching immensely. Of course we all have our days and it can get a bit dull at times (like any job), but I think as long as you have the right attitude, remain positive and remember that Koreans do tend to spring things on you at the last minute, then things should work out quite well. If you’re seriously considering this as an option then my advice to you (although I’m no expert) is to do your research, plan ahead and just go for it! So, see you all soon? SOLD!

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