Farewell (again) to the U.S.

Trip Start Mar 18, 2003
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Trip End Apr 08, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Oklahoma
Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Looking back, it was a well-calculated and wise decision. At the time, it was more one of near-desperation and a desire to get unstuck before I sunk in too deep at home. I spent three months living in Seongju, South Korea from mid-October, 2002 to mid-January, 2003. Probably no one reading this would know the town, for good reason. Originally I was supposed to be in Daegu - the third largest (but certainly not prettiest) city in the country. As most EFL teachers experienced with Korea know though, things you're promised - even in writing - don't always work out the way they're planned. Discovering it not to be the case upon arrival was only the first of many uncomfortable realizations.

It's all a long story, really. In recollection, I'm not sure why I didn't do more research. I wound up, as already indicated, in a small town with next to no foreign residents, teaching at a tiny hagwon (language school) that had no business hiring a native teacher. How tiny? Perhaps 30 total students with one sole owner/teacher and next to no resources. My training consisted of "there are the kids . . . go teach!" A crash-course TEFL program focusing on adult learning - albeit intensive - didn't quite prepare me for dealing with hyper-active Asian children. The hours were well under what was promised ("don't worry - you can make up the rest teaching me and my daughter!") and that was just the beginning. Within a couple months time, my employer was informing me she'd only pay me for the hours she gave me (which were few and far between). Lovely.

There's more but, suffice it to say, I decided the Land of the Morning Calm was not for me. I had planned from the start to be in Japan, so now it was time to make it work. Upon my return to Okie-land, I immediately applied for ECC - one of Japan's 'Big Four' eikaiwas (language schools) - and was asked to be interviewed. After a short (expensive) jaunt up to Toronto, I got it in the bag and bided my time until the departure date. And so it begins. . .
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