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I don’t want to scare anyone into missing out on an overseas experience, but my first 24 hours after leaving my home country was quite the wild ride. I love having that hilarious memory now, although it wasn’t so funny at the time.

South Korea is a wacky and wonderful world with a unique culture all its own. While it does grow on you after a while if you can stick it out past those first few rough months, it can sometimes be a pretty difficult place for foreigners to adapt to.

Going home after teaching English abroad can be pretty intimidating, especially the job part of it. If you don’t want to teach ESL in your home country, what exactly can you do for work? In order to see what people were actually doing, I surveyed 55 old friends and random Internet strangers to find out all the details for you (and myself as well!).

As crazy as this may sound, when I left for South Korea, learning Korean was the furthest thing from my mind. I could only seem to focus on what to pack, how long my flight would be and who would greet me when I got off the plane. Those three questions consumed me so totally that I really couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

After 10 years teaching English in Korea, I’ve decided to return to Canada within the next year. It’s not without trepidation that I make this decision and truth be told, I’m kind of terrified.

Namhae is a beautiful island in Gyeongsangnam-do province in South Korea. It’s nickname is “Treasure Island,” and although it makes a funny story now, getting lost on that island wasn’t super funny at the time.

Meeting Jackie

Let’s weigh my experiences and see how each country stacks up on working conditions for teaching!

I have always enjoyed travel, but moving to South Korea for three years opened up a whole different set of travel opportunities that blew me away. Suddenly, we were “this close” to China, Japan, Thailand, The Philippines, China and Mongolia to name a few amazing destinations.

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