I can’t use chopsticks, though.

I am writing this post purely as an attempt to get my brain to wind down sufficiently for me to go to sleep. I worked a twelve-hour day today, which is a fairly new concept to someone who’s struggled to find enough writing work up until now, and my eyes are actually aching from staring at the screen all day. However, as the alternative to putting down the laptop was lifting a large and heavy suitcase from the top of my wardrobe and searching its contents for my degree certificate, I chose to come here instead. Blindness will follow shortly, no doubt.

I am becoming an expert on all matters pertaining to green tea. I have written 25 of 50 articles on the subject, and would really like to write about something else. So here it is:

I have The Plan!

Not bad – just over one month of self pity and wallowing and depression was required before I pulled myself together and thought seriously about how to travel and make money at the same time. The solution?

I am going to teach English in South Korea.

Hurrah! It is all very exciting and scary and all the rest of the things I felt way back last year when I wrote this post. That delicious thrill of anticipation, the fear that I might be raving mad, the joy of a completely unfamiliar country just waiting to be explored, the thought of the new people who might cross my path, the enthusiasm for trying out a new type of job… it’s all there.

Of course, I do have the slight worry that I’ve gotten my hopes up and I’ll end up being disappointed – I should probably wait until I actually land a job before I post this. But what the heck. You’re used to being dragged along with my bursts of enthusiasm, and then listening to the crying when it doesn’t go to plan, right? Anyway, from what I can tell, demand for English teachers in Korea is much higher than supply. The only reason I won’t get a job is if, erm, I can’t find that degree certificate. Or if I discover when I get a police check done that I once committed a serious crime while sleepwalking. Barring that sort of thing, I think it’s going to be fine.

I announced my intentions on my Facebook status, and am once again in awe of the miracle that is the Facebook Friends List. Within less than 24 hours, I have made four contacts in South Korea, through friends who saw my update. Three of these are teaching English there, and I’ve had really useful conversations with them – including one which made me realise that there was absolutely no need for me to go through an agency, thus saving me over £1500 in one minute. This new contact then introduced me to the person who got him his teaching job, and voilá! The process is underway.

It’s the personal aspect of the modern Facebook-assisted world that I really love. Looking through endless websites, I could gather plenty of information, but I still had this niggling worry that I would land in Korea to find no one there to meet me, and discover that it was all a scam and I had nowhere to live, or that the whole set-up was really dodgy. This way, I’m getting to talk to friends of friends – people whose characters are vouched for, who are actually doing the thing that I’m trying to do, and who are seeking out jobs for me in schools that they know from firsthand experience have a good reputation.

It’s this that’s giving me great peace of mind about my decision. I mean, if you saw a job description with things like Approx. 25 hours per week.  Accommodation provided, rent paid. Return airfare paid. Salary £1000 net per month. Assistance with work visa application. in it, and knew that you were pretty much guaranteed to get it without really having to apply or try, wouldn’t you think it was too good to be true, and that there had to be a catch? But now I’ve talked to people who can assure me that it’s all above board, and what’s more, they love it!

Given the low cost of living and the fact that accommodation is paid for, my sources tell me that if I want to earn and save money for future travels, this is the place to go. Apparently I can get by on £200 per month, saving £800. If I continue to do a bit of writing work, too, then after a year in Korea I could have saved up somewhere between £10,000 and £12,000. Do you realise how much budget travelling I could do for that?!

I am very enthusiastic about the whole thing. However, I fear that my eyes are about to fall out of my head due to strain, and I have 25 more articles about green tea to write, so I think a good night’s sleep is now called for…


12 thoughts on “I can’t use chopsticks, though.

  1. Excellent!
    Is the person who said you don’t need an agency by any chance the one I know? When I asked him about putting you in touch he said he might be able to get you a job.

  2. I just reconnected with a couple of friends too. Haven’t seen them for almost 10 years! My neighbours are Korean and lovely people to boot but they’re so fussy about their English that they won’t practice at home with other people. Only on their own. Only when they can speak it more or less perfectly will they attempt it with others. Crazy. Plus their food is HOT! But you will need chopsticks! Hehe . . get practising!

  3. How exciting! 25 hours a week should give you plenty of time to travel, too. Maybe you can make it to one of those green tea farms after all – that is, if you have any desire after finishing writing about it. Where are these being published, anyway? And can you reuse at least some of the material? Good luck!

    Too bad about the vendange in France, though. If you had done that I probably would have joined you! :)

  4. bevchen – yes. I’ve been having conversations with others, too, and all say the same thing. Mike has been very helpful and it looks like I’ll get a job through him or another guy I’m talking to. Yay!
    dave – where, by interesting, you mean “utterly terrified”?!
    Baino – I am rubbish at using chopsticks. But I am looking forward to eating at restaurants where you get to sit on little cushions on the floor. :)
    croquecamille – The tea articles are for some website I haven’t been given the address of. Most of this stuff I do is ghostwriting, so it doesn’t get published under my name… but yeah, I can probably use them at least for background and information in the future!

  5. Hannah says:

    Go Hails!!!! Obviously your teaching experience will be completely different to mine but I can guarantee you it WILL be an experience. One you will never forget and one you will learn amazing things from. XX

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