Can’t Stay Away

I am back in Asia yet again. This is trip number four; I just can’t stay away. I’ve always been drawn to this part of the world, it’s almost like it was written in my genetic code to yearn to travel in these parts.

I am currently setting up camp in Seoul, South Korea, specifically in the Gangseo district. For the next year my boyfriend Dave and I will be teaching English to kindergarten and elementary school students. Dave started orientation two days after arriving here and today was his first day teaching and running his own classroom. I don’t start teaching for another two weeks, so in the mean time I’m wandering around the city and observing.

All of the housing for the teachers is on the third floor of the school, which makes the commute to work very easy. We are living in a single apartment for the first month, until the apartment that is fit for two people opens up. I will post pictures once we get that apartment set up. Unfortunately the girl who lived in our temporary apartment before us wasn’t super clean, so there is still a mysterious mildew smell and a few cockroach families residing with us. Each morning I kill five to ten of the little buggers, but I know it’s futile. It’s nice to at least feel like you are attempting to solve the problem. I’ve set out some cockroach traps with the same hopes, but I’m not sure if they work.

In other news, I have opened a store on www.etsy.com. Etsy is a place where people can buy and sell handmade goods, supplies, and vintage items. I am selling feather earrings and hair clips, necklaces, and a few sets of my infamous cards. Please browse (and buy) and show your friends my creations at www.wakeupanddance.etsy.com. Even though I am in Korea, the items will ship from the States thanks to my wonderful parents. Remember holiday season is quickly approaching! Here are few things that are for sale:

White Sea Glass Necklace
This is a wire wrapped white sea glass necklace. Click on the picture to see more pictures of this item or other sea glass necklaces for sale.
Feather Necklace
This is a one of a kind feather necklace. The feather necklace is felt-backed enhancing its durability and making it soft against your skin. Click on the picture to see more pictures of this item.
This is one of the many hair clips I am selling. I have a wide variety of colors and styles. Click on the picture to see more pictures of this clip or to browse my shop.
Here is one of the pairs of feather earrings I am selling. I made a wide variety of styles and colors. Click on the picture to see more pictures of this pair or to browse my shop.
Handmade postcard style cards and envelopes. Click on the picture to see more pictures of these cards or other cards I am selling.

 

More exciting things will be happening to Wake Up and Dance…you’ll just have to wait and see!

Teaching English Abroad Part 2: The Search

The search for a job teaching English abroad can be done in several ways. It mostly depends on the country where you are interested in teaching. Developed countries will have more requirements for being hired and will usually have more visa requirements as well. Whereas developing countries typically do not have as much red tape and make the search a little bit easier.

The Internet is going to be your key to finding a job abroad. If you Google the phrase: “teach English abroad” you will get six million results back, so I suggest making your internet search a little more specific. If you can determine a few cities you think you would enjoy being stationed in, then it will make your search a bit easier. At the same time though, you need to be flexible. If you have your heart set on one city, it might take you a while to find a job, or you could be disappointed when you only find listings in other cities.

If you are interested in teaching in a developing country, I usually suggest packing your bags, buying a plane ticket and just showing up in your country of interest. This sounds incredibly scary and risky, but is worth it for a few reasons. The first time I left the country to work abroad, it sounded like it would be a great fit, but I quickly found out upon arrival that the city I was going to be living in was not ideal for me. Throughout my stay in Thailand, I was constantly offered teaching positions everywhere I went. I realized that I could have just wandered the country until I found a suitable location, and then accepted one of the many jobs offered to me.

If this is an option you might actually consider, then you need to be a very proactive person. Sometimes being offered a job is as easy as mentioning that you are an English teacher to the right person, but if you are avidly looking for a job, you might need to be a little more aggressive than that. Tell everyone you meet abroad that you are an English teacher looking to settle down in that area. Most people you will meet know at least one other English teacher or school, and this can lead to important connections. Schools can’t hire you if they don’t know you are out there looking for a job. Make sure you let people know you are interested. Networking is your best friend in this type of search, not the Internet.

Things can be much more complicated if you are looking to teach in a more developed country. For example, South Korea requires that you send them your diploma, a background check, and transcripts from your university. Not only do they need all of these items, but they also need you to be in your home country during the application process. So it would be a poor idea to show up in South Korea and hope to get a job.

If you are leaning towards teaching in a developed country or don’t want to show up in a developing country looking for work, then your next question is “How do I find a job on the internet?” Before you start googling, let me warn you that many of the ‘jobs’ you will find listed are not in fact jobs. Many times they will ask you to pay them to come teach English.

Volunteering is wonderful and I am sure that there are pay-to-volunteer programs available that put a lot of the money you pay towards helping the organization you work with, but unfortunately there are many that don’t. Sometimes the organizations that will set you up with a teaching position if you pay a couple thousand bucks are just scamming you. For one of my previous jobs I worked with volunteers who came through a rather large name in the pay to volunteer business, and I can say without a doubt that almost all of the money went directly into their pockets and did not reach our organization. So if you choose the pay-to-volunteer route, make sure your money is going where you want it to.

Remember what I said in my previous post as well, TEFL and TESOL certification is not completely necessary to teach abroad. Before you spend the money on it, make sure you absolutely need it.

Sifting through the results that your search engine will turn up is definitely a process. Idealist.org is a great website for the global job search. This website allows you to search by country, language, categories, job type, etc. If you are interested in teaching English in South Korea I recommend going to Dave’s ESL Cafe and checking out the listings there. I wish I had a list of websites for prospective teachers for every country, but I don’t. If you know of a great website for teaching abroad in any country, please comment below. Let’s compile a list of helpful websites for prospective English teachers!

This post was written for www.diwyy.com.

Dinner That Fights Back

I don’t like tomatoes. My dad constantly makes fun of me for this. I also don’t like salad or avocados. Hard boiled eggs and Mayo are two foods that I actually fear. The smell of canned tuna turns my stomach instantly, and help me God if you put ranch dressing on my plate. The silly thing about this list is that the foods I hate and fear aren’t very exotic or threatening. They are ordinary foods that most people have probably never given much thought to. It’s all rather funny because I can’t seem to stomach eating these perfectly normal foods, yet I purposely sought out a restaurant that serves live octopus here in Korea once I found out about it.

Last night my friends and I went to a makgeolli restaurant in hopes that I would get to try the special octopus dish they serve. Makgeolli is a type of Korean rice alcohol served at specific restaurants in large teapots along with a few dishes of food that they choose for you. The bigger the group, the more exciting the food. We made a point of inquiring about the chance of getting a plate of live octopus and ended up getting three!

The live octopus was cut with scissors above a plate with seaweed, green onions, and tasty oil. The tentacles still wiggle and writhe after being cut, and turned out to be quite difficult to pry off the plate.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUNfnD0BZow]

Surprisingly, it wasn’t very weird having a moving piece of octopus in my mouth. One piece attached to my tongue briefly, but other than that most of the octopus tentacles stopped moving upon arrival in my mouth. My friends seemed surprised by this. I guess I have a good mouth for eating octopus. You still can’t get me to eat canned tuna, though.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh_w1ErNIIw]