Every blogger or youtuber has made a post or video addressing this topic and as I am in my final year of living in Korea, I thought I would make a short post about it as well.
I won’t go all the way back to high school but, I will go back to college which is when I visited Korea for the very first time. My school had a summer study abroad program with Dankook University in Yongin. I knew for sure I wanted to live in Korea, but I also knew the only way to live there as a foreigner with limited language skills was as an English teacher. I’m terrified of public speaking, or at least I was. I would get the shakes, my heart would pound in my chest and my hands would get a bit clammy. “If I don’t like talking in front of people, how can I be a teacher for a year?” were my constant thoughts.
Luckily, the program my school had included an optional 2 weeks of teaching the university students conversational English. I was nervous, but I thought I would try it. I told myself that if I didn’t like teaching for those two weeks then I would just have to take an extended trip to Korea in the future at some point. Turns out, I didn’t hate teaching as much as I thought I would after that study abroad program. I wasn’t the best at it but making those connections with my students was so important and special to me. I was even more determined to make sure I went to Korea to live. And I did! That’s the technical reason of why I moved to Korea.
However, to get to the heart of the reason I moved here, well it’s probably what most of you already know and what you’ve already seen others say. I’ve never wanted to stay in New York all of my life. I have always had an itch to travel and an itch to live anywhere else except my hometown. I felt so stifled and trapped when I was home. Living didn’t really mean anything to me. I was just doing it because I didn’t want to die. I didn’t have my own money that I could spend, I couldn’t travel alone and the monotony of routine without even a sliver of change was making me go mad. I knew Korea would give me a chance to be away from home and experience things I wouldn’t get to if I had stayed and scraped enough money to only visit for a couple weeks.
Independence, financial freedom, new memories, new landscapes, and did I mention independence and freedom? Honestly, if I had changed my mind or not gotten into the Korea program, I would have tried for Japan or Spain or…anywhere that would accept me. Those four things I just mentioned were so much more important to me than the location I possibly ended up in. I’m so so happy I ended up in Korea though. These past two and a half years have been amazing. The friends I’ve made here have changed my life and my outlook on so many things. Even the people I’ve met in passing have all added something so important to my life. I’ve experienced some serious lows but I’ve also experienced even more serious highs and I don’t think I would change it for anything.