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Should I stay or should I go?
« on: June 08, 2016, 07:31:46 pm »
 I've been placed in a rural area and my school is very small. I like my school, adore the kids, and have a decent relationship with my coworkers. My issue is the location. My town is super small and there is literally nothing to do in my town. It consist of restaurants, 2 convenience store and a place to buy groceries. I'm the only foreigner, so it get pretty lonely and I find myself bored throughout the week.  I'm really starting to hate the weekly repetition of only going to work and then home.

The only reason I've considered staying with my school is because I really like the small class sizes and my kids. I still have a few months before deciding to renew, but I really don't know what to do.

 Has anyone else been in a similar situation?


  • yirj17
  • The Legend

    • 2782

    • September 16, 2015, 02:23:16 am
    • Korealand
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2016, 07:44:06 pm »
How far is the nearest town/city where there IS stuff to do?

I'm in a super rural place myself but for me personally I find that the pros outweigh the cons. I much prefer having small class sizes and I adore my kids. Kinda sucks being the only foreigner but on the weekends I go see my English-speaking friends if I feel like making the commute (which is 2 hours on average just to get to the nearest city). I have a friend who lives in a city with all the conveniences you could ask for but she has large class sizes (like triple the size of my biggest class) and often has issues with managing them. And her coTs never show up to her classes.

In the end, you just gotta make that decision about what's more important to you. If you transfer to a new school, there's a chance things will be great or even better but there's also the risk that it might be worse. Since you still have time to think on it, just see how the next few months go and see if you lean more one way or the other.


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 08:30:56 pm »
Yes! How far are you from "things to do". Is it possible to ask your school to move you to that town and then commute in to your school?


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 08:52:58 pm »
Life is too short to be unhappy. Just go. For all teachers considering coming to Korea...do not accept a working location in one of these small hick towns. You will be in the middle of nowhere and foreigners are scarce. If you are an extrovert, certainly do NOT go this route. Otherwise, you'll be considering the famous Midnight Run.


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2016, 09:24:35 pm »
Thank you for all the responses so far ^^

I live about an hour from the nearest city. I've thought about asking my school to be placed there, but I don't know how I would feel about commuting that far to work  -_-


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2016, 09:27:45 pm »
Thank you for all the responses so far ^^

I live about an hour from the nearest city. I've thought about asking my school to be placed there, but I don't know how I would feel about commuting that far to work  -_-

I used to commute an hour to work everyday. It was my choice as the thought of living in a small town (I'd done it before) wasn't worth it. My day started super early and I only ever got back home around 6pm but my life was so much better as I could actually do things and socialise!

Edit to add: I was still in a relatively small city so I ended up going to the bigger city (an hour and a half away) every weekend but the trip from the little town to the bigger city would've added an hour onto my travel time... so 1.5 hours on the weekend with some socialising during the week was better than loneliness during the week with 2.5 hours of travel time during the weekend.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2016, 09:30:46 pm by Teachersa »


  • Somebody
  • Super Waygook

    • 349

    • May 04, 2012, 01:55:20 pm
    • Suwon
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2016, 10:10:04 pm »
I bet prisoners around the world would love to be able to ask themselves this question.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1413

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
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Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2016, 02:34:41 am »
Every time I've questioned a relationship I have been in or a job I've had I've come to realize that should have been the time I bailed.

Too many people stay in bad situations because they TALK themselves INTO it. Any time you feel you have to rationalize your decisions.... RUN!!

When it's right, it's right and it feels right. I've ridden that wave at times over the years and have never regretted it. THAT is awesome, feels great and IS the way to go if happiness is what you seek.


  • chelly90
  • Adventurer

    • 44

    • September 11, 2015, 09:40:10 am
    • South Korea
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2016, 10:10:52 am »
How long have you been in this small town? I also live in a very rural area and am an hour from any city or entertainment. After almost 10 months I have come to love it and I consider myself a extrovert to some degree. You can do anything for a year and there is no reason you should just give up and say, well I am going to be miserable if I stay. Take up hobbies, learn an instrument, work out, play games, anything that you can look forward to doing after work. Then on weekends get out of there and get to a city, travel, meet up with people anything. I can only speak for myself but I am hardly ever bored living in rural Korea. Being the only foreigner would be difficult and I can't speak on that but I wouldn't just give up. Fight it first.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 10:15:12 am by chelly90 »


  • Enzo
  • Adventurer

    • 44

    • January 20, 2015, 07:44:27 pm
    • Cape Town
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2016, 11:10:26 am »
I too am in a small town about a hour from the nearest big city.

I recently bought a car (which happens to be really chap over here) and it has changed everything.

Weekend excursions, travelling around or just going for a drive to clear your mind.

I know that not everyone is comfortable with driving in a foreign country, let alone Korea with its 'wonderful' drivers on the roads, but I really enjoy it.


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2016, 11:14:40 am »
How long have you been in this small town? I also live in a very rural area and am an hour from any city or entertainment. After almost 10 months I have come to love it and I consider myself a extrovert to some degree. You can do anything for a year and there is no reason you should just give up and say, well I am going to be miserable if I stay. Take up hobbies, learn an instrument, work out, play games, anything that you can look forward to doing after work. Then on weekends get out of there and get to a city, travel, meet up with people anything. I can only speak for myself but I am hardly ever bored living in rural Korea. Being the only foreigner would be difficult and I can't speak on that but I wouldn't just give up. Fight it first.

Nice attitude. I get like that sometimes but its hard to sustain. Depends on your temperament.
Creating shared values


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2016, 12:01:18 pm »
I don't think the OP is going to break his/her contract and I think what he/she wants to know is if she should change schools instead of renew at the current school.

I think the OP should go somewhere else. Why not go to Bundang or Ilsan? They are great places to be in Gyeonggi Do. Even better than Seoul itself. They are GEPIK areas.

You may get good co-teachers. You never know.



  • Zaiterade
  • Super Waygook

    • 250

    • September 08, 2015, 07:36:23 am
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2016, 12:07:44 pm »
How long have you been in this small town? I also live in a very rural area and am an hour from any city or entertainment. After almost 10 months I have come to love it and I consider myself a extrovert to some degree. You can do anything for a year and there is no reason you should just give up and say, well I am going to be miserable if I stay. Take up hobbies, learn an instrument, work out, play games, anything that you can look forward to doing after work. Then on weekends get out of there and get to a city, travel, meet up with people anything. I can only speak for myself but I am hardly ever bored living in rural Korea. Being the only foreigner would be difficult and I can't speak on that but I wouldn't just give up. Fight it first.
As someone in a similar situation, I agree with you. Find out what you love and pursue it wholeheartedly. It can in fact be a greater crutch than any person, as people come and go rather quickly in Korea.


  • nomadicmadda
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1585

    • July 01, 2014, 06:49:40 am
    • Seoul, formerly Boseong
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Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2016, 12:13:30 pm »
If you're already thinking this strongly about leaving, then leave. You don't have to leave Korea, but when those seeds of frustration or resentment are planted, they only grow.  I'm like you, where I adore my job and (at least for me) everything about my life here is perfect....except for the distance from another major city.  I even love living in a small town, but I just wish I had easy access to Seoul or Busan.

When I signed on for a second year, I was okay with still being in the countryside.  I still love my job and am very upset to be leaving it, but I know that if I stayed here for a third year, it would only make me bitter.  I've had such an overwhelmingly positive experience here that I don't want it to be tainted by that.

So, even though it's heartbreaking, I'm choosing to move on.  I know it'll be the better choice for me in the long run, and that I'm leaving on a very high note.  You can find a great school in a larger city too, and being in Korea already gives you the upper hand!


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2016, 01:39:29 pm »
If you're already thinking this strongly about leaving, then leave. You don't have to leave Korea, but when those seeds of frustration or resentment are planted, they only grow.  I'm like you, where I adore my job and (at least for me) everything about my life here is perfect....except for the distance from another major city.  I even love living in a small town, but I just wish I had easy access to Seoul or Busan.


This. If you're feeling you want to do something, then if you don't do it, sooner or later you'll regret it.


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2016, 02:17:48 pm »
If you're already thinking this strongly about leaving, then leave. You don't have to leave Korea, but when those seeds of frustration or resentment are planted, they only grow.  I'm like you, where I adore my job and (at least for me) everything about my life here is perfect....except for the distance from another major city.  I even love living in a small town, but I just wish I had easy access to Seoul or Busan.


This. If you're feeling you want to do something, then if you don't do it, sooner or later you'll regret it.

It could also be a fear of the unknown issue. Unfortunately, you also don't know what will happen to your school next year. Your great principal/co-teachers might leave and while you'll still have small classes the set up might be vastly different. I'd either get a car and live in a bigger city and commute into school (slightly uncomfortable but you'll know your class set up). Or move to a bigger city/different school and face the challenges that come with it. You don't know, you might land a better job situation and love it. Take a chance! And if it doesn't work out you, you finish out your year and move again...


  • juslisen
  • Adventurer

    • 27

    • May 07, 2015, 12:51:55 pm
    • Toronto, Canada
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2016, 02:32:00 pm »
There are apps like Hellotalk, or even tinder, that you can use to talk to Koreans or even other foreigners in your vicinity.

You can make friends this way, especially with Hellotalk, you can talk with local Koreans who are interested in learning English, and some even want to meet foreigners.  But of course, you gotta make sure if you do meet up, you've asked a fair bit of questions about them and you meet at a public place.

Good luck!


Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2016, 04:51:09 pm »
I was in the OP's shoes about a year ago. I decided to renew with my rural school. I'm glad I did. I had a lot more time to study Korean this year because I could reuse the hundreds of lesson plans I wrote instead of writing new ones. And I really liked having the same students 2 years in a row because I could modify a lesson and objectively measure if my changes were either more or less effective. All my lessons were unique so I had to stay an extra year in order to iterate.

But this year the loneliness is getting to me, so it's definitely time for me to move to a city. Really you're the only person who can decide if it's time to move on or not. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. But all of us came here to Korea because we're interested in traveling and new experiences. So it's natural for us to want to move somewhere else.


  • ciannagh
  • Super Waygook

    • 275

    • March 03, 2014, 06:34:16 pm
    • Korea
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2016, 09:50:43 pm »
If you like your school, and the small class sizes, I would recommend staying and buying a car. A car gives you SO much freedom to explore the countryside, visit other foreigners, and just get a change of scenery.

I'm going to go against the popular opinion and say to try and tough it out. Why? Because you have a school that you love with small class sizes. That alone is gold. Public schools are hit or miss - I myself had classes of 40+ students that I taught alone (My co-teachers left me to my own devices, which was fine by me).  Take advantage of your situation and study Korean - you'll pick it up fast in rural areas with no other foreigners super close by.


  • amgoalng
  • Expert Waygook

    • 720

    • August 31, 2012, 08:00:20 am
    • Gobuk, near Seosan, closer to Haemi
Re: Should I stay or should I go?
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2016, 09:43:47 am »
Is there a bigger town between your school and the main city?  I worked and lived in a small town.  I loved the school but hated living there.  There was a bigger town between the main city and my school so when it came to renewal I asked (which they agreed to) to be moved there.  That way you have more options and my living situation got a lot better.  Also, the commute turns into 30 minutes compared to an hour.

That said, currently my commute is an hour.  I get a lot of reading done!  I also get to watch a lot of Netflix if I want to on my phone.  The long commute isn't that bad.  Especially if it is a bus, calculate the time between getting on and your school, set an alarm for you to wake up before school, and bam, you can get a good nap in!