Changwon National University is the fifth school I have taught English at in Korea. I have taught in two different middle schools and at a private school for young learners. The bulk of my time teaching in Korea was spent at Gimhae Foreign Language High School teaching debate. Now I am a university instructor and have started the next phase in my English teaching career. I have seen many changes in my time in Korea. I have experienced many different settings for the instruction of English. I have met many different students with different backgrounds, goals, and aspirations. I enjoy my life in Korea.
Change is a part of life but it is something that people are sometimes afraid of. To remove yourself from your comfort zone and to experience an unknown situation is not the easiest thing in the world. I know this first hand because of my travels around the world, teaching in different countries around the globe. I started teaching English as a foreign language in Indonesia and spent a year in Java working, travelling and living. That was an amazing experience and a time I shall never forget as long as I live. The city I lived in was hot (as all of Indonesia is) and the streets were a bit filthy. The customs and societal norms were far different from my hometown of Chicago. The food was strange and the people were unknown to me. I had no friends at the very beginning. The only thing I had was the guarantee of a job at a language school and my own will to do the best I could. After three weeks of this sweltering experience, I was ready to pack up my bags and head back to Chicago and back to the known and the familiar. I was homesick and a bit lost. I didn’t enjoy my job and I hadn’t made the connections that are so important to becoming grounded in a new setting. Things changed though and they changed rather quickly. I joined an expat soccer team and made friends and my job grew on me. That year changed my life. The last day I spent on Java was truly a sad time. I didn’t want to leave. I knew I would miss my students and I knew I would miss my friends. I also knew I would miss the food and those dingy streets. Flying back to Chicago was a bittersweet event as I was happy to see old friends and family but saddened by the loss of my life in the hot and humidity of tropical Asia. Change.
Culture shock is a real phenomenon that affects people when they go to a place unfamiliar to them. It works the other way too when a person goes back to a familiar setting after spending prolonged time elsewhere. Needless to say, I was sold on the idea of travelling and teaching and eating new food and visiting new places and meeting new people. I didn’t stay too long is Chicago after returning home. My next job was is Prague. Join me next time for part 2 and I will give you the scoop of my time in Central Europe and the changes I encountered there.
Glenn Scott firstname.lastname@example.org
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