Sunday, February 8, 2009

International Bup


So in an earlier post I briefly touched upon what was going on at my job and the hotness that was coming along with it. I knew it was only a matter of time before I needed to make a move for two reasons. First, I was no longer fulfilled and felt that I had attained all that I was supposed to in that position. Secondly, because they were about to get rid of us anyway the pressure was on to find another gig. Preferably a gig that would point me even more in the direction to fulfilling some of my long term goals.

This leads me to where I am now.

In November Best Bup calls me and says, "Let's move to South Korea. My immediate reaction was, "South Korea?! What the heck is there???" She then goes into how we can go and teach English for a year. She also told me about the money involved and my ears perked up! Now Best Bup sometimes has crazy ideas that I just dismiss as being crazy, however, this idea was not that crazy to me. I had already been thinking about how I was going to move abroad because it was something I wanted to do before I settled down. This was one of my personal goals that I needed to achieve since I am now 25. So after some prayer and thought the next step was research!

Best Bup and I began corresponding with a high school friend of ours who is already in South Korea and she was so enthused that we were thinking about embarking on this adventure. She began to inform us about all the things to do, how nice the culture is, and how much money you can make. I then turned to the blogosphere to get the perspective of other Americans living in South Korea, particularly bups. People had some gripes about the culture and adjusting but nothing I would not expect when moving to a foreign country. Therefore, Best Bup and I found a nice experienced agency that worked with us and answered all of our questions about relocating to South Korea. The process of securing our positions in Korea has already given me an idea of what we are going to experience. It was hard for our agency to find us jobs because:

A) Best Bup and I wanted to be placed close together. The agency initially told us this was feasible and they knew it was important to us because this was a huge step. (I think they began to think we were lesbians because they tried to put us in a one bedroom apartment but we had to tell them to pump their brakes on that one!) So it was important to us, and it became important to them, to find us jobs at Korean schools that were in close proximity to one another. That way we would work and consequently live close to one another.

B) We are BLACK! Now Koreans are not necessarily racist they just do not equate Black people with teaching their children English. So initially our agency was trying to find us jobs at the same school but hiring two Black English teachers was a stretch for many Korean schools. However the organization we are working with was persistent and found us both jobs within 8 stops of one another on the express train and we will be living around 30 minutes outside of Seoul. We leave February 14th.

Needless to say, Best Bup and I are extremely excited about this opportunity and the experience it will bring. I am also excited about living rent free for a while with no car note. (My living accommodations over there are very nice and I sold my car because I won't need it overseas.) We are contracted to stay for a year but if we enjoy the experience we can stay longer. I am hoping that I enjoy it because I would be interested in possibly staying longer than a year.

I have teaching experience but I know this will be quite different from my prior experience teaching. First off I will be teaching Korean students in Korean culture, DUH! Second when I taught a few years ago I was teaching high school students and this go round I will be teaching K- 6th grade. The school I am working with also saw on my resume that I am an artist so they are excited about me helping them implement an art initiative at the school as well. A frequently asked question is, "Do you speak Korean?" The answer is, "No." Koreans are starved for native English speakers to come to their schools to teach their children English. And their English classes are very strict "English Only" zones. Now I am learning some basic Korean like, "I need to go to the bathroom" or "I do not understand". But my school, and most schools in Korea, have worked with many native English speakers and have a system on teaching. I will undergo a training before I start. I do plan to take Korean classes once I get to Korea because as we all know living in a culture helps you to learn the language and it would be foolish in my opinion not to take advantage of that.

So for the time being this Bup will be writing from Cheonan South Korea about my experiences in a foreign land. I will keep you all posted!

2 comments:

FiGZ said...

Congrats!

D said...

Congratulations!! Please continue to monitor the situation between North Korea and South Korea. I would recommend learning to use the Jang Do, a defensive weapon art, taught primarily to women. It will keep you in great shape and you'll have a great party favor!!

I am doing a similar move to Brazil over the next 5 years, exploring their system of Racial Democracy and its psychological effect on the populace. Also, I wish to learn Japanese (language and culture) and outside of Japan, Brazil has the largest Japanese population.

Enjoy your trip!! Come back stronger!!!

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