Why hello, there~
Some of you on here are also friends with me on Facebook and may remember this depressing post: https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fceeflooo%2Fposts%2F10157416542045541&width=500
Well, things have certainly gotten better since then, but I still was NOT expecting to struggle so much as I’ve already lived in Korea twice for an extended period of time. Looking back, all three experiences have been completely different.
- Summer 2011: I lived with a home-stay family in the small town of Jeonju. It was my first time out of the United States and second time on a plane. I was thrown into a completely new world with very little Korean language knowledge – however – I had the support system of my Korean family and that of the Critical Language Scholars Program (CLS). *Sidenote: I HIGHLY recommend the CLS Program and as a former recepient I am here for any questions you may have.* Even as an 18 year old noob, I almost never felt lonely or like I really struggled with anything other than my Korean language studies. No rent, no bills, no problem – t’was a happy summer. They even gave us a phone to use the whole summer.
- 2012-2013 Academic Year: I was so freaking excited to come back to Korea, and this time to SEOUL! I had only spent 3 days in Seoul during my stay in Jeonju and I was looking forward to being able to explore more. Long story short, it was roouuugghh in the beginning. I was actually pretty depressed my entire first semester at Sogang; I went through 4 roommates in 1 semester, nobody in my Korean class spoke to me, upon arrival I had to navigate in the rain from the airport to my dorm without even knowing the name of my dorm building, had like 1.5 friends, and ate Popeye’s alone everyday. On top of that I was given an extremely absent Korean “buddy” that was supposed to guide me through everything but did absolutely nothing to help me. So I had to borrow other people’s buddies and burden them to help me with stuff like banking and getting a phone plan set up. Needless to say, I rode the struggle-bus for half a year. Things got better when I formed a solid group of friends during winter break 🙂 Btw, this year in Korea was made possible through the Gilman Scholarship Program. Shout out to them for funding a girl’s dreams!!! Again, come at me with any questions or tips!
- August 2016 – ???: Still not a pro at Korean life. Even more on my own than when I was in Korea last time. After 9 days in orientation, I woke up at 6am to get ready to travel from Daejeon to Seoul. Was taken to a completely empty apartment on the 4th floor of a building and had to carry all of my luggage up the stairs because there is no elevator. I have no bank account, phone service, friends nearby, wifi, food, furniture, toilet paper, or sense of sanity. I cry. A lot. A/C ended up breaking and lost hot water for a bit too. Still don’t know enough Korean to get my phone or bank account set up, even though all the Koreans in my life were trying to convince me that I do. Anyways, that has all passed and I’m doing much better. Most of my life is set up and I spend a lot of money on furniture so my place feels more homey. Have a big network of acquaintances but we’re all scattered all over this huge city. I miss having almost all my friends living in the same dorm as me as they did at Sogang University. Also learning to adjust to living completely alone for the first time. I think I’m almost a real adult but we’ll see how things turn out. If you have any questions about teaching English in Korea as I am now, check out the EPIK Program and hit me up!
If you’ve made it this far, you’re the real MVP and we should be friends. Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease,