There’s no reason to beat around the bush on this one: the transition to living and working overseas as an English teacher will be challenging. You’re going to need all the honest information you can get your hands on.
We strive to provide you with the tools to you’ll need to make well-informed decisions throughout this process. From getting a visa to securing a teaching position, from understanding cultural norms to finding the right cell phone for your needs – we know what we’re talking about. Can’t find the answers you’re looking for? Shoot us an email: [email protected] or call us at1-844-597-3064 and we’ll help you out.
Let’s Be Frank
Though it may not come as a shock to some of you, the adventure of this experience doesn’t come without its fair share of frustrating and uncomfortable situations. If you have researched teaching English in Asia, or talked to people who’ve been there, you’ve probably heard a handful of horror stories that make you a little weary about your decision to be an ESL teacher. The ESL industry in Asia can be full of difficult encounters and conflicts between foreigners and their employers that can taint and even ruin many teachers’ experiences. We aren’t going to hide the negative details from you or try to sugar coat the challenges that come with teaching abroad. We hope that by being up front with the nitty gritty, you’ll believe us when we say that the good aspects of life and work in Asia far outweigh the challenging ones.
Throughout the duration of your time in Asia, we want you to feel supported and well taken care of. Our company is committed to being a resource to you as much as we are to finding you a position that best suits your needs. We will be available to advise and direct you through any questions or concerns you might have as you live out your experience in Asia.
Whether or not you take the time to tackle some of the reading material we’ve provided, there are some things you should keep in mind while preparing to live and work abroad. We highly recommend you invest some time reading up on the people, culture and customs before you arrive in country. Not only will it help you adapt to the way of life but it can greatly relieve some natural frustration and confusion that comes with immersing yourself in a new culture. Brushing up on some do’s and don’ts will be one of your greatest assets when starting at your work place, exploring the city and interacting with locals. Adaptation and flexibility will be two life skills at the forefront of your daily life as you venture into this new environment. As western as Korea and China may appear, they are countries rife with ancient culture, age-old traditions, and beautiful people who are very set in their ways. Many foreigners arrive with an expectation to maintain their own cultural and social standards, and in many ways they can. But remember: you are moving to and working in a foreign environment and cannot expect things to function the way they do in your home country. Having the ability to bend and flex within the culture might be challenging at first but will grow into a skill that will not only compensate for your lack of experience and training as an ESL teacher but your inability to fully identify with the people there.
A quick insight to Korea, specifically: because of its vulnerable geographic position, the Korean peninsula and the Korean people have been overthrown, ruled and protected, both willingly and unwillingly, by larger, more powerful foreign countries for the past several centuries. They are indeed a nation striving for independence, identity and international power. Against the backdrop of a tumultuous 5000 year history, modern Korean culture is infiltrated with a sense of insecurity as it is with a growing sense of confidence. Today’s generation, though preoccupied with Western idealism, has begun to propel South Korean culture in more adaptable and inviting directions. Although there is an apparent skepticism towards foreigners, expats are a important piece of their international progress and have been placed in high regard within the education system.
It’s hard to believe that the South Korean government has only had sovereign rule of the nation since 1950. It seems that the evolution of Korean culture is still trying to catch up to the impressive industrial advancements the country has taken in the past 60 years. This is quite evident in the country’s growing appetite for establishing an identity, on both a national and international scale, and can often alienate as well as idolize foreigners. This makes for a plethora of mixed reactions and responses to their visiting population and misunderstanding inevitable.
And China is no different. Although they have a very different past, China and Korea are more connected than one would think. Everyone knows that Confucianism was birthed in China, and later we’ll talk more about how that philosophical background has impacted the entire region. Suffice it to say: expect the unexpected, and brace yourself for cultural frustration when embarking on this journey. With an open mind and ability to appreciate the rich heritage Asia has to offer, you will find both the people and culture in this region to be some of the most enriching in the world.