11. Teaching Abroad

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Asia » South Korea » Busan
March 16th 2007
Published: March 16th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Chicago to Busan, South Korea

To semi-completely recap a new and enlightening three months of living in Korea dares me to be brief with my words. I’ve established a great life in Asia both living and working and in just that order! I’ve such an ideal life/work balance that some days I feel guilt for not having more complications in my life.

To start, I am an English Instructor living in coastal Busan, South Korea. With a population of 4,000,000 the city is ideal in size and has a long history to offer my interests. I’ve visited horse races, markets, mountains, temples, museums, beaches, festivals, and many unique restaurants in the last three months yet already feel sad to someday leave this place. My church in Busan has even welcomed me and helped me to better integrate with the culture. In a country where seaweed and rice are staple foods, and I’ve also tried jellyfish, fermented cabbage, flying fish caviar over pasta, dried squid and anchovies etc. Early on, I even mastered a recipe to cook octopus. The list of exposures could go on, but I’m being brief with my words.

English speaking American origins result in everyday unavoidable games of curiosity with natives.
Nobels' VillageNobels' VillageNobels' Village

Don't we fit in as nobels? I think so.
In these games, Koreans make random comments such as, “Hello” “How are you?” “Where are you from?” and “Very handsome” as I pass. It’s been a joy. The friends I’ve met vary considerably, but the common bond we share is our passion for the world, its diversity, culture and international qualities.

The Institute for which I am working, The Chung Dahm Institute, is known among the best English Academies in the country. Moreover, this surrealist life supersedes any other I’ve had with pay, benefits, and satisfaction levels alike. I’ve found my work more enjoyable than I originally thought possible. Above and beyond all that, I’ve become debt-free as a result of making life here a reality, something I hadn’t expected two years ago when graduating from an American liberal arts school. That said, I’ve come to terms with the drawbacks of this life that not every person would care to deal with, the first of which is being so far away from western life. While exotic and anew most days, I cannot deny missing some of the idiosyncrasies American culture offers such as the availability of cottage cheese, driving a car, and understanding the language at all times! It’s
Dining OutDining OutDining Out

I ordered a pinapple rice bowl that was amazing but have yet to go back to this restaraunt.
also curious being estranged from the many familiar faces, customs, and indulgences I’ve become so used to for so long.

I wouldn’t be doing justice to the people of this country if I didn’t mention their and pleasant and hospitable nature. Perhaps it’s Korea or maybe Asians in general, but I’ve experienced such sincere kindness ever since my arrival. For someone who knew so little about Asian culture before coming and spoke absolutely no Korean whatsoever, I’ve been blessed with undeserving treatment from people everywhere I go, be it to teach me the language, help me to run an errand, get directions to a new part of the city or translate a piece of mail. I regularly feel guilty for being treated so incredibly polite and for the considerable respect I’m given. Truthfully speaking, I have yet to experience the callous American remarks in Korea that I’ve come to know when I leave US soil.

Absences from my 11 year old dog back home lead me to make my latest decision of getting a dog. Proving the ideal companion for my studio apartment, Nairobi, my recently acquired two pound shih tzu puppy, knows he was the indisputably the best decision I’ve made since moving here. Even now as I type, he sleeps against the side of my laptop. He adds to the joy of this beautiful life.


19th March 2007

Miss you!
It's always great to hear how you're doing hun. Keep enjoying life, and learning along the way!
16th March 2009

Your Church
I was looking for a church that has services in English and was wondering if your church that you mentioned above was in English or Korean? If you could let me know it would be much appreciated. jstark34@yahoo.com
16th December 2009

Thanks for the Blog entry
Hi Jareb, My name is Leah and I'm applying for a teaching position with CDI. Thanks so much for your interesting blog entry as it made me even more excited about the possibility of teaching overseas. I'm still a student here in North Carolina, but I'm looking around for prospective programs after graduation in May. I heard about CDI through an internship I'm completing in Washington DC as a friend of a friend told me about her experiences with the insitute. I'm not sure how recent this blog post is or if you're still in Korea, but assuming you are, how are things now in Busan? Could you tell me a little bit about your area and your experience as a teacher? What age group do you teach? Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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