Teachers Stories: Lisa Geldys

lisa geldys teaches english in south korea thanks to say kimchi recruiting!

Lisa Geldys is happy to be teaching English in Korea!

I like to tell people that I decided to come to Korea on a flip of a coin, because my final deciding factor was getting a Korean coin in my change back from buying a coffee when I was still in the U.S. Of course, in reality I put a lot more thought into it than that, as should anyone who is considering it. I was graduating from college, and the small taste that I’d had of working in an office quickly assured me that a cubicle was NOT the place for me. I started looking into teaching English overseas, and after comparing the benefits, cultures, and standards of living in several countries, I decided on Korea, with a little silvery 100 won coin being the final catalyst!

In some ways, South Korean culture and American culture seem very much the same, and in others they are polar opposites, which was part of the fun of living in the ROK, for me. Consumer culture is definitely big in Korea. You can’t walk down the street without being enticed into a restaurant or shop with some kind of mildly obnoxious signage. (NEON SIGNS FOR EVERYTHING.  ATTACK OF THE CRAZY INFLATABLE ARM MEN!)

Other things about South Korean culture were really different, though. Respect for ones elders and superiors takes a totally new level in Korea. Initially I was always worried about accidentally offending someone, but soon I got to reap the benefits—as a teacher, you are in a position of authority over your students. They will actually listen to what you say and…wait for it…bring you little presents!

My students used to bring me stickers and candy, and when they discovered that I like to eat healthy foods, they started to bring me fresh fruit. One even brought in his mom’s homemade kimchi! Holy guacamole—errr—holy fermented cabbage! Some things about Korean culture were tough for me. Image is big, so I had to get used to the fact that make-up would actually help me be perceived as more professional. I also did not like some things about fashion in Korea—you can wear skirts the size of a washcloth  (not that I suggest this) but tank tops are frowned upon. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but wait for July in the ROK. Phew!

The hardest parts of my Korean experience were being so far from my family and feeling very dependent on my employers. Sometimes the schools can be kind of unpredictable—they might totally change your classes without consulting you and then expect you to adapt over a weekend. The cool thing is—you’re not alone. You can reach out to your recruiter, and they can help you mediate the situation if it’s necessary. They are there to support you, and if your school is like mine was, there will be other foreign teachers and Korean staff or teachers who will help you and support you with anything you need. A secretary at my school even wrote out a whole card for me that explained that I didn’t eat any meat, fish, dairy, or eggs…yes…being vegan in South Korea can be done! It’s just extremely difficult and expect to accidentally bite into meat or get a swig of fish broth in your noodles at least once. It will happen. Just roll with the punches. That said, I made some AWESOME friends, made memories that totally changed my outlook on life, and had a fun job where I had fantastic benefits. What’s not to love?

Say Kimchi Recruiting and Lisa

Say Kimchi Recruiting was there for me anytime I had a problem at work. On top of that, the mixers and dinners with other Say Kimchi teachers were a great way for me to meet people. The Say Kimchi blog gave me great ideas for what to do during my year in Korea and helped me navigate my way through foreign waters. I have only good things to say and more of them to say than my fingers have the energy to write.

Final words..

Be sure that you want to go before you leave. Once you’re there, get involved. Go places on weekends. Meet people. Hike mountains. Take classes. Save money. Rinse and repeat as needed.

Bonnie’s Blog – Pets in Korea.

me  One of the questions that I was asked to fill in on my recruiter application was “do you have any pets?”… And to be honest I would have loved to take my cat Pawpaw with me, but my mum wouldn’t let me. I had no idea what my apartment would be like, if there was room for a pet, if they would even allow pets, the whole thing. And plus my recruiter had told me it was easier to place teachers who didn’t have pets. So for me it was a no brainer. Don’t bring your cat.

I know of people who have brought their pets though. There is a non issue with quarantine here, as long as your pet is up to date with its injections then there is no problem. Rabies is an issue here, so if you are considering bringing your pet make sure they have an up to date rabies vaccination, as well as distemper and parvo – the usual ones. Most landlords are ok with small pets, but if you have a large dog there might be a bit more of an issue. The fact of the matter is that the apartment you will get is most likely going to be tiny. Mine is so small I can take 2 big steps and I am at the other end. And if your dog or cat is used to running around outside then they will not like being cooped up in your apartment one bit.

So what is the alternative? You love animals, you know 100% you CANNOT get through 12 months without some canine company and you are feeling crazed… I have a few solutions!

Pet cafes

Cat cafes totally blew my mind when I arrived. You go to a regular cafe and order a coffee and sit with a book or a board game – and there are about 10 cats playing around you. And they are the cool breeds too, like ragdolls, persians, tri-coloured cats, russian blues, scottish folds… All of them! And they are all super friendly and want to be petted. These types of cafes are all over Korea but are found in ridiculous quantities in Seoul. none of the cats I have seen are mankey, they are all really well cared for and cute. You are technically not allowed to pick them up, but if they crawl into your lap for a cuddle then all is well! Generally you HAVE to order a drink of some sort; you can’t just go in and play with the cats. So grab a latte and enjoy some purrrrfect down time.

Dog cafes are around too, but I personally have never been to one. I am more into cats myself, plus I have a dog now (more on that in a sec). You can find all shapes and sizes of dogs, and the ones at the cafes are all clean and well handled.

Animal Shelters

Another way to get in touch with your animal side is to volunteer at an animal shelter. The turnover of pets in Korea is ridiculously high, and many of the shelters and city pounds are what they call “kill shelters”, meaning if the pets don’t find homes within 10 days they are destroyed. It’s awful, but the sheer number of pets going through these shelters means that they literally cannot hold animals for longer than this time. There are however a number of shelters dotted around Korea where the dogs and cats can stay and live until they are adopted or fostered.

Finding your local no-kill shelter is a great way to spend time with animals that need help. Most of the dogs and cats have had a rough life and would love some attention! A great contact point is http://www.animalrescuekorea.org and find a shelter near you. And then, if your landlord allows pets maybe consider fostering a pet! Or even adopting one…

Get your own pet

This one I only recommend for people looking to stay in Korea for a little longer…

I caved in November last year and adopted a dog from a shelter. He has been a lot of work, and has been super expensive to get healthy… Many of the dogs from shelters have some health problems and have been mistreated and come with their own set of issues. For me it has been worth every cent because my little man is the best companion, the most well behaved doggie and I will 100% be taking him back to Australia with me. The costs of flying him home and quarantine are disgusting but I will do it because I am a bleeding heart and I would never leave him here. Remember when you adopt a shelter dog, you are not only enhancing your life you are SAVING theirs. I am very pro-shelter in case you hadn’t noticed. And many shelters have designer breeds of cats and dogs, so if you have your heart set on a chocolate poodle, or a fluffy white chinchilla, then you can probably find one at a shelter.

You could also get yourself a puppy or kitten from a pet shop or vet. Personally, I think if you are going down this road the vet is the way to go, because the little cutie you pick up will come with a health guarantee. Pet shop won’t have this. The other reason is that the puppy from the vet is most likely from a known breeder rather than a dodgy puppy farm. Yes, if you buy a puppy from Korea you are more than likely contributing to the practice of puppy farming. it’s a sad fact of life.

You want something a little smaller and lower maintenance? How about a fish?? Aquariums are popping up all over the place around Seoul so I imagine other areas too. Or something a bit more exotic? How about an albino hedgehog? Or a hamster? or a cute, normal rabbit?? You can get that too. And there are pet food suppliers all over the place, so your pet will never be hungry. Nor will it need to be unfashionable… Pet fashion here is insane, and I have totally bought into it (my dog wears cute outfits and has a blue-dyed tail).

So there you have it. No need to miss your furry friends, there are plenty of ways you can get your pet fix while teaching abroad in Korea :)

If you have any specific questions about pet costs or things like that please feel free to email me!

Bonnie

Want to hear me yabber more about my life in Korea? Follow my blog http://bonniespawprints.blogspot.kr/

Or email me any questions you have to bonnie9973@gmail.com don’t be shy!

Bonnie’s blog: Language Barriers and learning Korean.

meWhen I first arrived I had mastered the art of saying hello and thank you. And for about a week this was enough… And then I decided I needed much, much more for my conversation artillery.

I joined up the a free Korean class that was promoted on my city’s Facebook page, and it was fantastic for getting the basics. I would recommend anyone to take at least a beginners Korean class to learn what sounds the characters make, and for reading and writing. It was a little difficult at first , but Korean is actually one of the easiest languages to learn. And its interesting too! They can trace the origins of their language, and the writing was only invented in 1443 during the Joseon Era… Super cool stuff.

It was also a really good way to make some new friends in my area. I still didn’t know too many people, and after going to class friendships were developed among all of us, so that was also nice. We were able to practice together outside class, although it wasn’t long before our “study sessions” turned into fun and games.

I am still studying, but now more with Korean friends and on my own. I am lucky to have some teacher friends who are pretty good at Korean and give me tips for being a foreigner and learning to speak Korean. I also have some books and CD’s to help me learn.

I guess the real question is this: Do you need to learn Korean to teach in Korea? Short answer is no. Most teachers get by knowing very little Korean. As long as you can politely greet people and ask for things then I think you are ok. Many of the guide books and blog sites talk about how little English is spoken in Korea. Now, perhaps its because I live and work in Gyeonggi Province (not far from Seoul) but I have never had trouble finding someone who speaks at least basic English. The taxi drivers generally know major landmarks, and know things like “station” and “stop here”.  I haven’t had a problem teaching. Provided your co teacher is a decent teacher they should be able to do the Korean speaking in the classroom. After all, you are here to speak English not Korean! You can still make good Korean friends too, as many people are eager to learn and practice their English but are just a little shy about it.

For me, though, I want to understand more. I hate not knowing what is going on around me. I don’t like not being able to chat with other teachers in the lunchroom or be able to understand what people are singing about in songs. When I see people pointing at me and talking, I want to know what they are saying, and be able to ask them nicely to quit staring. And I want to bond more with my students. This is just me personally though… There is not a chance in hell I will ever be fluent, I have barely got enough English to get me through life let alone a second language. But I will keep trying because I enjoy learning, and this is the perfect place to learn Korean.

If you are planning on just getting the basics, here are the things I think you should try and master:

- Where is_____ (toilet, bank, ATM,  station) I use this one a lot.

- Hello/goodbye/thank you

- Can I have________

- I like/don’t like

- How much?

- numbers 1 – 10, number 100, number 1000, and number 10,000 (for the money side of things)

I am not going to translate any of this for you – this is your first homework task!!! See if you can master these before you arrive in Korea :)

And the rest you can just wing it. You will get back to your home country and be fantastic at charades. There are probably heaps more key phrases, but I just cannot think of them right now.

So study hard! See you in Korea ^^

More questions? Hit me up – bonnie9973@gmail.com or bonniespawprints.blogspot.kr don’t be shy!

Teachers Stories : Patrick Smolinsky

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If you would have asked me about my interests in teaching in South Korea back when I graduated back in spring 2011 I wouldn’t have anything to say. I got my degree in psychology and wanted a break from school, a chance to pay down my student loans, and to be able to spend some time with my girlfriend Tara. I ended up moving back to my hometown and, with the help of my degree, scoring a retail job in middle management. Much to my horror soon I was promoted and my higher ups were talking about me getting my own store. Then it hit me: my life was laid out for me — I had the car I want, I was comfortable, and things were going good with my long time girlfriend. It seemed like I was ready to retire before I really got started. All my friend’s were getting married and having babies…

It’s not that I don’t respect people in retail, my father has been incredibly successful in this field for a number of years. I know that working retail is a difficult (and sometimes rewarding) path for people to choose. Also It’s not like I have something against starting a family right after school, some people’s life aspiration is to have one! But It wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted an adventure, to live somewhere new, and to do something that not many people I knew have done. I wanted to be able to remember an adventure that I was proud of and not regret doing something different with my life.

I had an acquaintance from high school who been in Korea for three years and I contacted her on Facebook to see what it was all about. She loves Korea and told me that life here has allowed her to be healthier and happier than she was in the states. She gave me the information on the basic process of coming here and I mulled it over for a few months. Did I really want to go? Was it crazy to think about moving across the world, let alone to a country whose language I don’t speak?

Time went on and I liked my job less and less, and escaping sounded better and better! Tara had recently graduated with a humanities degree focusing on Asian cultures and religions. We started talking about teaching abroad and finally got the ball rolling! When I get an interest in something I delve in head first so pretty soon we were watching vlogs and reading blogs about life in Korea, trying to decided how we were going to go about getting there. One vlog I enjoyed in particular  “morrowsinkorea” I decided to contact to ask what recruiter they went with. They got back to me saying that their experience with their recruiter was not all that positive, and they suggested I try SayKimchi because they had met a representative of theirs in Korea and felt it was a much more personal operation.

Pretty soon Tara and me were working with Lindsay to find us jobs overseas. Lindsay is great, she emailed us back quickly and provided us with answers to our never ending questions. Moving across the world is never easy, but Lindsay was there to help us the entire way! I will add waiting for the FBI background check was brutal, if you are even considering this unique work opportunity I would get on ordering that ASAP.

Now I’ll get to South Korea. We did a whole lot of research before we came here so we have had virtually no culture shock. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that we have each other or that one of the other foreign teachers at our school, Michael,  is on his fourth year. He has really helped me an Tara feel at home, and by some crazy coincidence he happens to be from Tara’s home town. Did I mention he is fluent in Korean? It has come in handy more than once! Korean culture is pretty different from American. That being said most everyone is very forgiving if you accidently make a fool of yourself. They are also overjoyed when you follow their cultural norms. There are lots of little thing but for example: you give and receive things with two hands to be polite. Paying for something? Use both hands. Taking your change? Use both hands. If you forget to do it Koreans most likely won’t care but I have already been told several times I’m polite just for keeping that in mind.

I love Korea. My time here has flown by and I can’t believe I have already been here for two months! I love my coworkers, who are always willing to go out of their way to help me. I love my students, even the stinkers, because they keep this job interesting and always have me laughing. I love the public transit system, it is always on time and amazingly affordable. I love the history, It is everywhere! We saw Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul a few weekends ago and it was magnificent. I LOVE EXPLORING! Even going to the bathroom can be an adventure here, I was assaulted by a bidet my first night here. I love Koreans. It is wild being a minority and most Koreans go out of their way to make me comfortable here; That being said I do get blatant stares almost everywhere I go. I’m 6’4″ and stick out no matter where I go but you get used to that real quick and honestly I think the attention is kind of cool. Tara and me are already regulars at a few businesses around our apartment and it really feels like home. Lastly I love that fact that I get to have a positive impact on people’s lives. I try everyday to be the best me here and I almost feel like a diplomat. To some of the kids I have worked with I am the first big white guy they have ever known! I like the feeling of teaching and helping others and I have a desire to portray America and us American’s in a positive light through my personal actions.

As for dislikes? The distance from my family can be tough, but programs like Skype and Google Voice have made keeping contact much easier. Just today I gave my Dad a tour of my classroom and introduced him to my students via Skype, and he is over 5000 miles away! I’m also not a huge fan of North Korea’s waves of never-ending crap. I feel very safe in the South, and have no plans on leaving, but seeing new threats on front page news almost every day since I have gotten here hasn’t been exactly comforting. Lastly the “Yellow Sand” that blows down from China can dip air quality something fierce. I have an app on my tablet that I check every morning for the levels, some days you should wear a mask outdoors.

My personal experience with SayKimchi recruiting was amazing. Lindsay went out of her way to find us a couples position that really worked. Originally Tara and me wanted to be in Busan, but we stayed flexible and ended up near Seoul. Honestly, we could not be any happier with the way things have worked out here. SayKimchi was there to help us with process the entire way, from answering our questions of initial interest to helping us book our flights. We were originally thinking of using a different recruiter but even our initial back and forth emails felt impersonal. SayKimchi knows the process in and out and was really willing to go the extra mile to make the process easier!

My advice for future teachers is to order your FBI background check, my first one took two months to get to me and got so damaged in the mail I couldn’t use it. My second one came much faster and had no problems! The paperwork can seem like a nightmare but just make a list and take it one step at a time! This adventure is worth it. Korea is amazing and I can honestly say this was one of the best decisions of my life. Embrace the culture. Wake up, be yourself, love your life and go with the flow. It might surprise you how much you love it here.

Teachers stories: Bailey Ruhlen

BaileyRuhlen (1)“I decided to come to South Korea because I had heard great things about the country and working here. I was eager to travel and change jobs so it was the perfect opportunity. Dan from TESLK suggested Say Kimchi Recruiting. I decided to try because I wanted to increase my chances of getting a job and he said Say Kimchi Recruiting was dependable. My experience with SKR was awesome! I didn’t have any disappointments at all. The staff was very friendly, helpful, and prompt. I would suggest SKR to anyone and I would say to try them first. There weren’t any serious issues getting the required documentation or visa. However, it was not a fun process at all. Anyone looking to get a job should just get all of their documentation ready as quickly as possible, even if they do not officially have a job. There was some confusion on how to get a FBI background check apostilled, so I wish I started the process sooner. Also, waiting for my visa a week before I had to leave was horrible. Anyone looking for a job should get it done ASAP. The Korean Consulate in Chicago didn’t have the best customer service so trying to get answers over the phone was next to impossible. Again, I really think the best thing for someone applying for a job can do is to get everything done in a timely manner.

South Korea has been amazing. The best thing about it is the people. Everyone is so nice. Koreans generally seem to like talking to foreigners even if they speak little or even zero English. It also seems like you are given free stuff wherever you go. At the bars there are complimentary snacks, restaurants sometimes give you free desserts and food, and my boyfriend was even given free socks for buying shoes. My personal experience has also been very great because my boss and coworkers are very nice. Another impression I have gotten is that people are very active and fit.

Other than the people, South Korea is just a beautiful place. There is a lot of opportunity to travel as well. It is a great change of scenery. It also seems to be very clean here. The strange thing is, it’s hard to find a trash can while walking down the street, yet at the same time there is minimal litter. It is a wonderful thing. Teaching English and living in South Korea has been the best experience I’ve had so far.”

Is it safe to travel and work in South Korea?

jbkoreaYES!

North Korea has a long history of making confrontational rhetoric and empty threats to South Korea, the United States and other nations. All the experts in this matter both international and based in the U.S agree that there is no real or present danger that North Korea would act on its threats.

In reality no country has issued alerts or warnings concerning travel to South Korea and the country’s tourism numbers are up. Last week the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) announced a record number of visitors for March, with the inbound international tourists numbering more than a million for the first time in history! Although tourism numbers are not yet available for April, Korean Air and several major hotels told the news outlet there has been no noticeable dip in bookings.

The real situation in Korea is completely normal, as the daily lives of the Korean people and its visitors remain peaceful, safe and uninterrupted. Korea remains a safe, pleasant and beautiful destination to work in. All airports, airlines, cities and attractions are operating normally.

It is however advised that foreigners travelling to South Korea, and any country other than your home country, to register their personal and final destination information on their local embassy or government website.

Register according to your native country at the following websites:

U.S.A

 http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/registration/registration_4789.htm

Canada

http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/korea-coree/consular_services_consulaires/emergency_plan_urgence.aspx?lang=eng

South Africa

http://www.southafrica-embassy.or.kr/eng/forsa/registration.php

U.K

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-deal-with-a-crisis-overseas

Ireland

http://www.embassyofireland.or.kr/home/index.aspx?id=44447

Australia

http://www.southkorea.embassy.gov.au/seol/ToAusCommunity.html

New Zealand

https://register.safetravel.govt.nz/kos/kos.aspx

 

Meet the team @ Say Kimchi Recruiting.

DSC_0207 (1)“Hi! My name is Lindsay Nash and I am the owner and manager at Say Kimchi Recruiting. I have been living in South Korea since 2007 and currently reside in Gyeongsan, just outside of Daegu, South Korea. I am married and have a 2-year-old son who is currently enrolled in Korean preschool and learning more and more Korean every day! I love South Korea for its beautiful culture, warm people, and tasty food. Every day in Korea is an adventure I wouldn’t have had back home. I am the manager of the SKR team and open to any and all questions. E-mail me at lindsay@saykimchirecruiting.com “

Philip 1“My name is Phillip Schrank and I am the Recruiting Manager at Say Kimchi Recruiting. I am from Manitowoc, WI, USA. I started teaching in South Korea in 2008 and am currently teaching at an elementary school in Gwangju. I’m married and we have a dog named Gomi.  I love South Korea for many reasons and consider it my home. At Say Kimchi Recruiting I connect applicants to the schools in South Korea.  After completing an online application, I will match you with your ideal school, assist you during the visa process and make sure that the transition from home country to Korea goes smoothly. E-mail me at phillip@saykimchirecruiting.com”

Anne“Hey! My name is Anne Scharenbroich and I am the Recruiting Coordinator at Say Kimchi Recruiting. I am currently residing in Saint Paul, Minnesota with my partner, Jon.  In 2010 we travelled to South Korea as ESL teachers but moved back to the U.S in 2012.  While living in Korea we were able to explore a different culture, taste delicious food, create relationships with amazing people and hike some beautiful mountains, which brought a whole new perspective on life.  We were also able to travel to some great countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.  My role at Say Kimchi Recruiting is to answer all applicants’ questions, look over the application and send it off to Phillip.  Email me at anne@saykimchirecruiting.com”

60595_10151055563735824_1282450426_n“ Hello! My name is Amy Badenhorst . I am the Marketing Coordinator at Say Kimchi Recruiting and also the Editor for our online Blog. I am from South Africa and have been an ESL teacher in Gwangju, South Korea since 2011. I have had a blessed life in South Korea and have built a sustainable, fulfilled life here. To teach in South Korea is a wonderful opportunity and an experience I am sure you will never regret! At Say Kimchi Recruiting I am responsible for posting jobs online, marketing on all social networks and I am also here for you if you have any questions. Email me at amy@saykimchirecruiting.com”

How to make yourself irresistible to hiring schools.

 

stand_out_from_the_crowd1If you’re like most job seekers, you follow a set of routines in looking for work. You check the ads in the newspaper, or on the internet related to what you are looking for. You write a nice cover letter and enclose your CV. You practice for interview questions. And then you hope for the best.
The key to any successful venture, though, is to understand as much as possible about how the system works. You can’t improve the performance of a car without knowing something about engines, and you can’t hone your job applications without knowing how hiring decisions are being made. I’ll talk generally about how you can leverage a basic understanding of the way applicants are selected.

Your CV

It sounds obvious but a well written CV is vital, with no spelling or grammatical errors. Your CV is the first contact you have with an employer: make sure it gives the right impression. Get someone else to read it through before sending - they might pick up something you have missed.

Be the candidate you are on paper

You can create the most amazing resume, detailing exactly why you’re the best candidate for the job, but if you cannot fluidly and succinctly talk about those experiences in the interview, you may lose the opportunity to compete for the job. Expect the interviewer to ask you about what is on your resume, and prepare to explain your skills and accomplishments in stories that resemble sound bytes more than autobiographies.

Maintain a Smart Online Profile

All that stupid stuff you put on Facebook — take it off. Be mindful of your social media profile online. It’s not uncommon for employers to check Facebook pages and other forms of social media, so keep it clean.

Take a Class or Get a Certificate

This is especially helpful if it teaches you a skill you don’t have or don’t feel confident in. Teaching in a different country can be challenging and obtaining a TEFL certificate will equip you with skills and confidence to make you great ESL instructor. Say Kimchi Recruiting is proud to be associated with TEFL Online. Follow this link to find out more http://www.teflonline.com/saykimchirecruiting/

Volunteer

This is especially important for first time teachers. You might think you like kids, but actually you don’t. While at home, volunteer at a local school to get a feel of a ‘teaching’ environment.  There is still, for some reason, some ridiculous stigma related to volunteering that many people cannot seem to get over. In a similar vein to updating your skills, taking on some volunteering work will show a desire and self-motivation to get involved and make a difference within a project, again desirable attributes that will make you attractive to a potential employer.

Be Flexible

You may not want to commute more than 10 miles, but being willing to bend a bit will open up more opportunities. It will also make you a more attractive candidate because it signals to employers that you’re able to handle change.

 

Homesick.

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Sundays are the worst! While I completely feel at home in Korea and have made an awesome bunch of friends, I cannot fight that creeping feeling of missing home and loved ones! All foreign teachers at some point will feel homesick; not only missing friends and family but the culture and of course, the food! These feelings are nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of and, providing you handle them in an appropriate way, your memories and closeness to your home country can be a source of happiness as opposed to causing you pain.

Here’s our top tips for embracing the feelings of homesickness and preventing them from negatively impacting your life while in South Korea:

1. Try and prepare in advance.

If you know you are moving overseas then it is useful to mentally prepare for the fact that you may miss home once you move abroad. Plan ahead for the fact that you may experience homesickness and take things from home with you that hold happy memories. These may be photograph albums and scrapbooks, food items, magazine subscriptions, etc. It is also sometimes worthwhile to make a note of all the things in your home country that you don’t like, as it is very easy to romanticize places once you have left them.

2. Stay in touch.

If you are already in Korea and are missing home you may be tempted to avoid contact with people back home for a while as it can be painful to be reminded of what you are missing. However, it is crucial that you do stay in touch with your family and friends on a regular basis as it allows you to remain an integral part of their lives and ensures that you remain in the loop with all the major developments back home. A word of warning though: don’t be tempted to phone home too often or continually chat to your friends on Facebook chat because this will prevent you from embracing your life in your new country.

3. Blog about your experiences.

A great way to both venting your feelings and sharing your life with people back home is to start an online blog. A blog acts like a diary and you can post updates on a regular basis sharing stories of your life overseas. You can add photographs and videos so that your family and friends back home can share in your experiences and see firsthand where you are living, who you have met and the exciting adventures you’re having.

 4. Get out and make new friends.

Although it sounds obvious, you should never underestimate the importance of making an effort to integrate yourself with social networks. It’s fine to miss friends from home, but the sooner you make new ones the better. Look out for meet and greets or ESL teacher clubs where you can go and meet like-minded people. It won’t be long until you’re enjoying life in your host country far too much to focus on feelings of homesickness.

5. Exercise!

One great way of channeling your energy into something positive is to exercise. If you’re feeling low and struggling to get home off your mind go for a run, a swim or even join a gym. This will give you space to think and the adrenalin you will produce from cardio activity will give you a natural boost and help you to feel better.

6. Explore.

You have a whole new life and environment at your fingertips; instead of focusing on what you’ve left behind get out and explore. Take yourself for a walk, go and visit some tourist attractions or relax in a park; remind yourself that there is life beyond your home country and that you are privileged to have an opportunity to experience life overseas!

Be positive and surround yourself with positive people. Homesickness can be beaten! If that were not the case, adults would all still live with their parents…#

Say Kimchi!

Amy

For more information on teaching in South Korea visit our website at www.saykimchirecruiting.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also email us at amy@saykimchirecruiting.com

Suncheon Bay

screen57-korea-suncheon1Located in SuncheonJeonnam in South Korea, Suncheon Bay is a coastal wetland, composed of a 3.5 km (2.2 mi) long stream, a 2,221 ha (5,490 acres) wide tideland and a 230 ha (570 acres) wide field of reeds. Due to its natural coast, it is the habitat of migratory birds and plants and animals. Suncheon Bay’s wide tideland, field of reeds, and salt swamp have their natural scenes undamaged. Salt swamp has a function in water pollution prevention and purification, keeping Suncheon Bay clean and undamaged. The shallow tideland at the river mouth has reasonable salt content, abundant organisms, and a healthy water quality. These characteristics make Suncheon Bay a spawning ground for fish, crab, shellfish, etc.

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The Suncheon Bay Eco-museum is situated in the center of the Bay, giving it access to a variety of ecological resources that in turn supports the processes of academic research and the study of ecology for both students and the general public.6117293501_64e6f6bc76

Indoors, the museum consists of a layout room, an exhibition hall, a small movie theater, an ecology classroom, and a seminar room. Outdoors, the facility offers a telescope roof and access to organized hikes, boat rides, cycling trails, a mini-rail line and eco-educational tours.

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Visitors to Suncheon Bay will get the great gift of the sounds made by its reed forest, the widest in Korea. Images of the reeds shining silver and gold in sunlight is another gift. Many tourists on a 1.2-kilometer trail through the reeds are couples in search of a romantic mood.

kY34mF56Another route that goes along a waterway through reeds is especially popular for students and those interested in the ecosystem. This path allows the best views of migratory birds in flight and various organisms living in the mudflats.
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Suncheon Bay’s extensive reed beds are a wintering site and habitat for rare birds, such as hooded cranes, which are designated as Korea’s natural monument No. 228. Other species that can be seen are rare black-faced spoonbills and whooper swans.
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Creeping in the mudflats are sand crabs and Japanese ghost crabs. There are cockles and clam worms moving quietly and mudskippers bouncing along in the muck.

 

The S-shaped waterway seen from the observatory is especially striking at sunset. Koreans say Suncheon Bay is one of the best places in the country to see a sunset, especially during the season when the old year gives way to the new. In addition, it is possible to see a sunrise from the sea because of the area’s geography.

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