Below are the answers to some of the questions I've been asked most often:
1. When are you leaving?
September 26th. However my contract does not start until October 20th. I have the incredible privilege to travel 3 weeks early (seeing as I have many friends already IN Korea) as well as the fact that my friend, Amanda, is leaving the same day simply to travel for 3 weeks. She encouraged me to consider going early so that we could travel together before I start my contract, and that is what I fully intend on doing!
2. Wait, you're going to SOUTH Korea right?
Yes. I'm going to South Korea, not North Korea. And yes I've heard the stories about people sneaking across the border and then not being able to get back. And the stories about the people who get too close to the border and then get kidnapped or what-have-you.
3. Are you getting paid?
Yes I will make money while I'm there. It is probably about the same as what I would make if I were over here teaching. However here are the perks: I'm in a foreign country experiencing a new culture, my rent is paid for, my flight to and from are paid for, I have really good health insurance, and I get to be in a foreign country (yes I realize this is a repeat but some people can't fully grasp that one).
4. How long are you going to be there for?
My contract is for 1 year. October 20th to October 20th. So seeing as I'm getting there in September, I'm there fore 13 months. I can extend my contract if I so please for another year. But who knows, I may decide to teach in a different foreign country after that, or at the very least, travel travel travel before I come back to the states to start my career.
5. Do you speak Korean?
No. This one throws people for a loop. They wonder, "how on earth can you teach English to people who only speak Korean if you don't speak Korean?" My job does not require me to speak the language, in fact, I am only allowed to speak English from when I enter and leave the school. This means my job will include a whole lot of pictures, motions, acting, gestures, etc. In order to learn a new language, you need a lot of exposure to the language and the explicit connections in order for it to become ingrained into your brain. I, personally, have been trained in this (thank you Woodring), however almost all of my other friends that are there have not, and they are doing just fine. Currently, all you need to get an English teacher position in Korea right now is a college degree and to be a native English speaker...check and check! On another note, I am learning some Korean. I have about 5 phrases down right now, and I'm learning to read Hangeul, which is the Korean alphabet, if you will. That is step one, being able to decode and speak it, next I will learn what the words I'm saying, actually mean.
6. So, you can't come home at all for the next year?
Nope. I'm there for a full year. Yes I could end my contract early (with consequences) and I have 10 days of should an emergency come up or something, but I'm in it for the long haul.
7. How did you get this job?
Well originally, I wanted to travel to South America somewhere and teach English. This was because of my experience teaching English during my TESOL program and because I can speak the language enough to get around. However the more I thought about the prospects of getting a job there, getting myself there, and doing it all by myself, the less I wanted to do that. Then my friend Kevin started talking to me about his experience in Korea. The more he talked, the more excited I got. I was also able to get a few others on board with me (originally Michael, then Scott and not Michael, then Brigitte and not Scott, then Scott and Brigitte and Michael, then Scott's girlfriend Danielle) and the list goes on. I found a company I liked called Adventure Teaching and they hooked me up with a job over there (in a nutshell).
8. Are you excited?
See my previous post about that one, folks. I'M FREAKING OUT!
That about covers it. Let me know if there are any other questions you'd like me to answer (I've probably answered them at some point for someone else).