Korea Kalling

Four years ago, I moved to Spain. In the UK, I had wanted to become a teacher. Applying for jobs and schemes usually had the same result though – ‘looking for someone with experience’. How can you get that experience if you can’t get the job in the first place? However, I soon saw a light shining at the end of a tiny tunnel. A conversation assistant in a Spanish school: great! That’ll give me something to pop on my CV. I’ll go back after a year.

Four years later, and there I still was. TEFL-qualified, experienced, and loving it. Barcelona is full of charms, and I am incredibly glad of my decision to move there. It helped me learn a language, blend into another culture, and taught me so many things.

Four years ago, I was also looking down other small tunnels, in the maze of life. One such was the opportunity to teach in South Korea, as a guest English teacher on a state school programme. I applied, and was interviewed. I pulled out because I was scared. I pulled out because I didn’t think I’d be able to be that far away from home, to live in a culture so different to my own. I pulled out because I told myself I couldn’t do it, and I wasn’t experienced enough. There’d always be someone better.

Four months ago, I began again. I believed in myself enough to apply for a position in South Korea, and wanted it enough to know that I could do it. I wanted to live in another place, experience such a new world, learn a new language, and better myself as a teacher. South Korea, an economic powerhouse steeped in tradition, but pushing itself ever forward into the modern world of technology, beckoned me. So off the radar as a tourist destination, I believed it would give me a true glimpse of life on another side of the globe.

Four months later, here I am, back in the UK, after weeks and weeks of preparation. I’ll leave all that for another day – the hoops I’ve had to jump through, and the endless paperwork I’ve almost wept tears of frustration over, have given me enough stress to last a lifetime and even two panic attacks. Four months later, however, here I am with visa in hand (well, it’s on my desk), and a position with the Busan Metropolitan Office of Education. I’m €700 worse off (not even including the flight), but my heart is lighter and sings with happiness: I did it! I got there! I’m still pinching myself over it.

So now you all know: one of the reasons I’ve been so quiet on here recently. I was planning. Plotting. Scheming for my next great adventure.

Hello Korea.





Author: savagearts

English living in Barcelona Ciudad. I teach English in a language academy (and take it seriously, not just doing it for the travel 'thing', although that is a perk). I love languages, including my own, and am struggling on with the Spanish, whilst picking up Catalan and absorbing up the life here.

3 thoughts on “Korea Kalling”

  1. Reblogged this on From Pyrenees to Pennines and commented:
    We did something like this in 2011. We kissed our daughter Emily ‘Goodbye’ and waved her off as she set off for Barcelona, to become a teaching assistant for a year in a primary school there. She ended up spending more than four years there, and now she’s a fully-fledged English teacher with a flat in Barcelona, fluency in Spanish, a circle of friends, and a happy life .

    But this morning, after her three week break in the UK, we waved her off again. She’s off to South Korea this time, to its second city, Busan. She’ll be teaching English in a school there, for one year only. Or so she says…. Read what she has to say about it in her blog ‘Speaking Spanglish – I imagine its name will change quite soon

  2. How exciting – I truly envy your upcoming adventure! I was in South Korea a while ago and found it a fascinating, complex and orderly place. Wishing you good luck in all your discoveries.

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