Ok, so wow! I’ve gotta stop starting my blog posts stating how long it has been since my last update, but I swear I have a reason, lol
First things first, the whole 5 weeks to fluency challenge was a complete fail. I studied the first two days for a total of two and a half hours…
Yea…..feel free to judge me.
But the big news is *drum roll please* I am moving to Korea!
So these past two months have been filled with working (my last day is tomorrow), getting my final documents in order, and truck loads of nervous excitement. Half of me is super excited and can’t wait to get on the plane. The other half is scared out of her wits. But thankfully it’s not enough fear to change my mind and pass up this opportunity. I have chosen to teach English and I applied through the EPIK program.
Well, to be honest, Korea wasn’t even my first choice; Thailand was. And my desire to go to Thailand to visit or live for a year was first sparked back in late 2016 when I was introduced to the language and watched my first ever Thai Drama. I don’t really know what it was but Thailand lit a small fire inside me, and trying to learn the Thai language mixed with the idea/desire of traveling to the country started to consume me.
I was constantly trying to find the next Thai drama or movie. I watched countless YouTube videos that I could find on students studying abroad. I searched a depressing amount of hours for Thai language books that I still have yet to find. I read blog after blog after blog about people moving to the country. I even started exploring degree programs and even went as far as reaching out to leaders of specific programs to have some of my questions answered.
From November of 2016 up until almost mid 2017, Thailand was where I wanted to go. I even joined the language app HelloTalk so I could meet Thai people and do a language exchange. But the more research I did, the more disappointed I became because of a lot of the things I was finding out. I continued to come upon these main three things:
- Thailand has a huge stigma of having nasty older western men moving to Thailand to retire and “dating” young Thai girls (and sometimes boys). This is a huge thing and has been one for years. When you type up “moving to Thailand” in Google or YouTube, you will find countless older white men talking about it. Apart from your average tourist website, these men seem to saturate the internet when it comes to finding out anything about Thailand.
- “Only backpackers go to Thailand”. Obviously this is not true but if you’re not reading some god-forsaken, unhelpful Thai forum or website filled with the losers listed above, then you will find a lot of blogs run by backpackers whose only goal is to stay a few days, pet an elephant, and buy as much food as they can for 5 cents.
- Lastly, and the most important (to me) is that the education system in Thailand is not really a good one. There is a lack of discipline with the kids, “saving face” is more important than the children actually learning so schools tend to pass students when they have in fact, failed and learned nothing; Cheating and copying in school is huge and is somewhat condoned as teachers do nothing to stop it. Overall the Thai education system is pretty weak and even if I did get a degree there, it wouldn’t amount to much here in the states. This is by far NOT the type of environment I wish to be in as a teacher. I value education. A LOT.
So then I started looking into teaching in Korea instead. I already had an interest in the country (hence the reason I was trying to learn the language) so I figured why not since it was looking like Thailand wasn’t going to happen. That’s how I found out about the EPIK program.
Korea’s value on education was more closely matched with mine and through research, there were much more positive things about moving to Korea than there on moving to Thailand. But I wasn’t immediately sold on the idea as I was still stuck on Thailand and kept pouting that I wasn’t going. I kept the idea in my head and researched off and on for a year before finally making up my mind and applying to the EPIK program, and I am completely happy with my decision.
I found out that I will be placed in Jeonnam which is a rural province at the southern most tip of Korea, right before you cross the water to get to Jeju island. At first I was disappointed about being placed in a rural area but it wore off quickly because…I mean, come on. I’m moving to Korea, lol.
My Korean language journey
Will my Korean language learning take off now? I have no idea. Unless I can find a language class open on the weekends, I will still be self studying. There’s nothing wrong with that; I enjoy studying by myself. Although I am hoping that my level of Korean will improve drastically over the next year, I am not expecting any miracles. Learning a language is hard work. If moving to another country was the answer to learning a language, then millions of people would already be fluent in multiple languages. All the foreigners here in the US would already be fluent in English. All the foreigners in Korea would already be fluent in Korean. But that’s not the case.
I have packed two of my Korean language books with me. I wanted to pack all of them but packing 21 language books is a little ridiculous lol. So I packed my TTMIK level two textbook and workbook (I consider these one book since they are both quite thin) and Korean Grammar for Speaking. If I finish those, then I will just have to make my way to a book store and buy another language book.
And omg Korean book stores!! They are literally heaven on earth. I’m thinking about making a post on all the book stores I want to visit 🙂 But to keep this post from getting any longer, I will end it here.
This blog will continue to be a language blog where I share about my study days, language mishaps, foreign dramas/movies I’m enjoying, and any music recommendations I might have. If you’ve made it this far in my post without skipping, 감사합니다! 🙂