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Worries/jitters
« on: December 07, 2014, 06:56:26 am »
Hi

I'm 21 and due to start teaching with EPIK in April. I've been starting to get a little nervous about things. I know everything I'm thinking is probably typical "newbie nerves", but I'd just like some reassurance from people who have been through the same.

I'm mainly worried about loneliness. I've been told by my recruiter there's only about 8 positions for April. I think it's possible I will be the only native English teacher in my area, and I've read a lot of stories about the Korean teachers not always being the most welcoming of people. Being on the other side of the world, with only a laptop screen to connect me to my family and friends... it's a frightening prospect. Skype calls can't full replace human contact. How do you guys cope with the isolation? I've also got worries about landing a "bad" contract like some of the stories I've read on here. I could cope with not so great working conditions if I had people here to fall back on, if I was alone it would be really tough.

Just wondering how some of you coped with any difficulties you encountered. Thanks  :smiley:


  • confusedsafferinkorea
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5371

    • October 08, 2010, 01:02:32 pm
    • Zhubei, Hsinchu Province, Taiwan
    more
Re: Worries/jitters
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2014, 11:54:01 am »
Wait till you are here and see what it is like. No good worrying, it won't help. It is true that some people get bad schools but for the most it is okay.

When you arrive, look on Facebook for a local group of teachers and join in there. If you go to church, that is a good place to meet people or there are all kinds of social clubs.

It is a big challenge to come here especially at your age, but if you are adaptable, you will be okay.

There are lots of friendly people here to help you.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


  • Pennypie
  • Expert Waygook

    • 862

    • July 26, 2014, 08:16:47 pm
    • Koreaaa
Re: Worries/jitters
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2014, 12:14:01 pm »
Do you know where you are going yet? I just wondered how the recruiter knows there are only 8 positions?

Either way, you will be fine. If you go to a city there will be tons of other foreigners to make friends with, and even the small towns have amazing tight-knit communities.

Even if the unlikely happens and you're the only foreigner in town you will probably be a bus ride away from other people and Facebook is great for that. Thankfully Korea is a small place :)

As for the school, everyone takes the risk that their school won't be great but the situations you read about where the co-teacher is a nightmare is the exception rather than the rule. Just remember people don't always write about the good things on the internet!



  • Pennypie
  • Expert Waygook

    • 862

    • July 26, 2014, 08:16:47 pm
    • Koreaaa
Re: Worries/jitters
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2014, 12:17:14 pm »
"I've also got worries about landing a "bad" contract like some of the stories I've read on here. I could cope with not so great working conditions if I had people here to fall back on, if I was alone it would be really tough."


Oh and the EPIK contract gives you certain rights and guarantees. Your working conditions will meet certain standards (they might not be perfect, it's down to the school) but remember these are public schools in Korea. They won't be so bad. :)


  • stemarty
  • Featured Contributor

    • 1135

    • September 02, 2011, 12:20:42 pm
    • Jeonnamdo
Re: Worries/jitters
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2014, 12:28:25 pm »
Just because there are few positions for April doesn't mean you will be alone.
You will most likely be put in a place where there are already foreigners living there.

Keep your chin up and start to get excited about this new adventure. It's really tough at first (we've all been there) but if you can get them to tell you the area you'll be working you can join some FaceBook groups to help you get to know people.

Really it's all about your attitude and how you want to enjoy your time here in Korea. If you want to make friends be charismatic and join groups. Make a point to get out and join events, too. Don't be afraid to talk to people! Some expacts won't want to chat, but there are tons who will if you make a first move.

The Expact community here is pretty good about helping out new comers. We want you to come and feel welcomed. Stay positive and look forward to coming. It's a great experience with the right attitude.


  • ItsMaarrr
  • Waygookin

    • 18

    • May 16, 2014, 10:25:16 am
    • South Korea
Re: Worries/jitters
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2014, 01:51:10 pm »
Don't worry, everything will be fine! Like someone already mentioned, check Facebook for groups in your city. Chances are, there is already a foreigner community where you will be living. You have to put yourself out there and be social. Look into churches with English services, that is how I have met some really good friends in my city. I'm curious to know where you will be living... Anyway, worrying won't do you any good. Trust me, you have way more things to be excited about than you have to be worried about. Best of luck!


  • Tiggercs
  • Waygookin

    • 20

    • November 06, 2012, 06:50:46 pm
    • Jeollanamdo
Re: Worries/jitters
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2014, 02:20:05 pm »
Don't worry so much about being isolated. In my experience the rural areas have the best foreigner communities because you are all friends by default. It's very unlikely that you'll be the only one there... there will probably be a handful where you end up.

Also, transportation in Korea is frequent and cheap, so it makes meeting people or going to bigger cities a lot easier.

My only advice is to come with an open mind. :) It'll make things a lot easier.


  • MJHanson
  • Expert Waygook

    • 502

    • May 02, 2011, 09:42:58 am
    • Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Re: Worries/jitters
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2014, 04:07:30 pm »
EPIK contracts aren't bad, so don't worry about that.  Trust me, doing EPIK for your first year in Korea is much better than working for a hagwon. 

You won't be isolated.  You'll be surprised by how many foreigners live here and you'll make new friends in no time.  Korea is a well-connected, bustling little peninsula. 

Yes, you will be far away from your family and old friends.  This will make you stronger and more independent.  Embrace the independence, don't fight it.  Also, living apart from your family is only temporary (if you want it to be).  You're not losing anyone; you're just leaving for a little while. 

Most importantly, living abroad is AWESOME  :laugh:  There's a reason why you have chosen to do this!  And the first few months of living abroad are the best, so cherish them!  After that, you just kind of get settled in and it feels like normal life. 

My basic advice for living in SK:

- Be open-minded.
- Be patient and optimistic.
- Don't be a picky eater.  Life is easier here if you are omnivorous.
- Dress and groom well.  You'll get more respect.
- Start studying the language right away.  Korea is easier if you can speak Korean.
- Avoid angry, bitter expats.  They are toxic.
- Understand that somethings you just cannot change.  You must learn to adapt or ignore them.