Who would’ve thought that I’d be going to another country during a pandemic?
After spending ten months in Thailand, I knew that living in America just wasn’t for me anymore. I didn’t even want to leave Thailand in the first place, but I had to. When I returned home, everything was different; I was different. I felt trapped- physically, mentally, and emotionally. I realized that there was nothing there for me anymore. There was no adventure, no challenge. The pandemic changed my plans, as it did with many others.
I came home from Thailand in the beginning of March. Eight months later and here I am in quarantine waiting for the day (December 8) when I can be freeee.
The hardest part about coming home from Thailand was that I wanted to leave right away. Buttttt, the pandemic. I went from having the time of my life to being locked inside my house indefinitely, just like the rest of the world.
In June was when I had enough. I started looking into countries that would take me as an ESL teacher in the middle of coronavirus. While researching, I would talk to my friends that I met abroad and they had plans to go to South Korea.
Teaching in South Korea had crossed my mind once or twice before but I initially had plans to go to Ireland when I got back from Thailand.
The two countries that were accepting teachers in early July were South Korea and Thailand.
I applied for numerous positions in both countries, awaiting anxiously. I can’t even remember how many recruiters I talked to. My friend found a great recruiter (orrrrr, so we thought) that helped us start the initial process.
Little did we know it would take much more time, stress, and back pain.
I would wake up early in the morning and post my resume on sites such as Dave’s ESL cafe, Gone 2 Korea, Go Overseas, ESL Rok, and several others. I joined a bunch of Facebook groups and would scroll on Google for hours.
I heard back from a good amount, but the process was difficult because I was out of the country. It ended up taking a lot of time and effort to even get schools and recruiters to answer me. My friend and I joked that searching for jobs WAS a full time job.
After months of staring at my computer, I received a job… from the recruiter who I first talked to back in July.
At first, I wanted to be placed near Seoul, just like 85% of others looking to teach in South Korea. Busan and Seoul are the top locations that everyone wants. I’m only about an hour-ish away so I settled. But, if you want a specific location then you will eventually find a job, it just may take some more time, especially during a pandemic.
For me personally, I thought it would be a good idea to be placed in an area that I was unfamiliar with. I wanted to challenge myself. And so far I haven’t regretted it.