Teaching English with EPIK is a great opportunity because they connect you with other foreign teachers from the first week you arrive in South Korea. The orientation helps to prepare you to teach, introduce you to new friends, and encourages you by showing you your purpose as an ESL teacher in Korea. You are a part of a team and a bigger vision, with EPIK. You have so many people who want you to succeed and will help you to do so!
Kayla is a graduate of OnTESOL’s 120-hour Advanced TESOL certificate. She now teaches English in South Korea with EPIK.
Support from Korean Horizons and OnTESOL
Korean Horizons and OnTESOL were amazing in helping to prepare me for the 6-step EPIK application process. I was given preparation questions, a mock interview, feedback and helpful tips. I definitely felt more confident going into my interview well prepared. In addition, they prepared me by letting me know that it takes adaptability and patience when working in this country. I was informed on certain instances that people may stare at me in public or that I would miss home, for example, but also how cultural differences may affect my work environment and a way to handle such differences.
Encouraging Learning on a Larger Scale
I wanted to become an ESL teacher because of my background in English, as well as working with children. Language is such a valuable tool in this day and age, especially with more young people travelling to many different parts of the world. I want to encourage growth and learning on a global scale, starting with the youth.
The Rewards of Teaching Overseas
Working overseas provides you with a strength you may not have known you had. It requires you to be fearless, resourceful, independent, and strong. The experience humbles you and opens you up to a new perspective on life. I have learned so much about myself since moving away and grown so much as a woman. I’m so confident and proud of myself, I’ve taken “can’t” out of my vocabulary. I have never felt so free to be who I am in my life.
A Tight-Knit Community Close to Nature
I requested to live in a larger city in Korea because I thought that was what I wanted. Instead, I was placed in a small town and I love it more than I thought I would. I have made such strong bonds with friends because the community is closer with less people I also spend a lot of quiet time alone. I live close to the beach, which is my happy place and it is so safe in my town that I can walk on the street at any time with not a single fear.
Learning to Adapt
It can definitely be challenging to be so far away from family and friends. There is, of course, a language barrier if you have not taught yourself the language prior to moving, and there are many cultural difference you must get used to. The air and water quality in Korea are not what I was used to, which took my body some time to adjust to. Your diet may change and you may not be able to find certain foods, products, or brands that you’re used to, which may be challenging at first, but you learn to adapt and try new things.
The Incredible Benefits of a TESOL Course
The OnTESOL course gave me the background knowledge on teaching kids and understanding how they learn best. It provided me with the tools to create a lesson plan from start to finish and how to carry out that lesson in reality. It encouraged me to think about how to handle issues with children in the classroom, how to make learning effective, and how to integrate different types of activities, games and information into my classes.
A Positive Work Environment
I did not choose the schools I was placed at but I love them both. The students are friendly, sweet, well-behaved and joyful. The teachers are helpful, kind, and welcoming. Although both schools are very far from where I live, it is worth it to commute because they are so wonderful.
Real Life Fears Conquered
I was concerned about my lack of experience, I was concerned that my students and fellow teachers would not like me and that my students would be bad and ill-behaved. I was fearful that I wouldn’t have anyone to help me and that I would feel lonely and sad, but none of those things happened.
Teaching English is Fun!
I have learned that teaching ESL is meant to be fun. Students are less likely to remember the things you teach them if they are constantly just copying sentences and repeating after a tape. Playing games with the students, making it fun for them, getting them to speak and participate is what helps them to learn and remember. Getting to know the students is key.
A Life-Changing Experience
I would encourage anyone to teach abroad. It is a life-changing experience to broaden your view of the world and humble yourself. The job is fulfilling if you do your best and care about your kids’ education. Even on your worst days it will still be worth it. Korea is a great place to teach, whether you are settling here or just getting started.