Where in the world am I?

Dec 30, 2010 by    Posted under: Travel

I’ve been writing a lot about how to save money recently, because that’s where I’ve been. In frugal mode. I am now getting ready to get back in to travel mode and I am leaving for beautiful South Korea tomorrow morning! That’s right, South Korea. Wanna know more? Read on.

Where in the World am I?

Currently I’m a home, in the Bay Area, but am leaving in the morning for a 27 day adventure in South Korea.

Why South Korea?

I’m headed to South Korea for a few reasons.

  • It’s an amazing country! I spent ten days there in 2007 and fell in love with it. The people are incredibly kind and open, the cities are full of wonderful things to do and see and the countryside is absolutely beautiful.
  • I’m going to teach English to elementary and middle school children! For three weeks, I’ll be teaching conversational English to school children in a winter camp in Jeju City on Jeju Island.
  • I’m getting PAID TO TRAVEL! Who wouldn’t grab hold of a chance to do that? English teachers in Korea get paid well and accommodation is almost always included at no charge. In my case, room and meals are provided for free.

How did you get a job teaching English without any teaching experience?

Although experience is helpful, the only thing you really need to find a job teaching English in Korea is a bachelor’s degree. And you have to be a citizen of an English speaking county.

I also did some research on how to teach English as a foreign language. I found some great teaching tips on TeachEnglishInAsia.net. Also, the company I found the job through, KoreaRecruiting.com, has been a great help in answering all my questions. They are a company that specializes in placing people who want to teach English in Korea.

What is a Winter Camp?

This is a different kind of camp than we think of here in the US. In Korea, in addition to the regular school year, winter and summer camps are set up as learning intensives. Academics are very competitive in Korea and children spend an extraordinary time in structured learning environments outside of their regular school time. There is also a lot of pressure to speak English, thus the high demand for English teachers.

Where is Jeju Island?

Jeju Island (Jeju-do) is off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula. It is called “The Hawaii of Korea” because of its incredible beauty and because it too is a volcanic island. I spent a week there in the spring of 2007 and there are parts of it that feel quite tropical, even though it is situated so far north. I will be staying in Jeju City (Jeju-si), on the north side of the island.

What is the weather going to be like in Jeju?

COLD! Right now it is 34°with a windchill of 20°. Not so tropical feeling in the winter.

What are your plans in Korea, besides teaching?

I arrive on January 2nd, orientation is January 3rd and starting January 4th, I will be teaching 7 days a week through January 23rd. From what I can tell, it’s going to be a very full schedule with only a half day off one day a week. Once the camp ends, I’m going to stay on Jeju for four extra days to explore. I haven’t planned anything for those four days yet and will most likely wait until I get there and see where the wind blows me.

How are you getting to Jeju?

I have a feeling my travel time to Jeju is going to be an adventure. I fly from SFO to Beijing Airport where I have a 15 hour, overnight layover. I’m not sure what I’m going to do once in Beijing. I’ve gotten a lot of conflicting information about whether or not a visa is needed to leave the airport and go into Beijing.

Since my layover is overnight, my plan right now is to stay in the airport. As much as I would LOVE to get out and explore, because need to be in Jeju the next day for work, I don’t want to take any chances of getting lost or not being able to get back to the airport in time for my flight.

From Beijing, I fly into Incheon, Seoul’s international airport. I will need to take a bus from Incheon to Gimpo, Seoul’s domestic airport where I will fly to Jeju.

How can I follow your adventures in South Korea?

If I have internet access, I will be posting here on WhereInTheWorldIsBasha.com as much as I can. Check back regularly for new posts!

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