Moving to Daegu (Looking Back)

Three years ago to the day, I moved and arrived to Daegu, South Korea to teach English. I chose South Korea because I wanted to experience a new, yet comfortable country where I could make and save some money and my girlfriend of 2 years could visit and stay with me and even potentially get a working holiday visa for. The entire process for getting a job in Korea was long and drawn out and practically a job in itself, actually getting a job wasn’t hard, it was getting the requirements to get a job which was difficult. It required months of paperwork and mail and bureaucracy. I had to get transcripts, degrees, FBI background checks, among a slur of other legal documents and then they had be notarized locally and nationally and it was just so drawn out. I started all of this back in August of 2012 and by December, I finally had everything I needed to start applying for jobs. I found a placement agent for English teaching jobs in Korea, I specifically asked for a middle school job. The first job that I was offered was at a school in Ulsan, however after a bit of research, I found out that the school was blacklisted for unfair treatment of its teachers. I then was offered an interview with a kindergarten (I was told by my agent prior to the interview that it was a job working with older kids), but through the interview I came to learn my agent was a little dishonest, however the school made it sound fun and so even though I was sure kindergarten was too young for me, when I was offered the job a few days later, I took it. I was told I could start in January, however, it turned out they didn’t need me until March, with a mid-late February training date.

Enjoying bi-bim-bap between Chicago and Incheon.

My connection was in Chicago, however after waiting for hours at not only the wrong gate (same destination, almost the same departure time, wrong airline), but also the wrong terminal, I had to rush out of the terminal, on the terminal train, and back through security before just barley making my gate time (I think they were holding the gate for passengers who were delayed from another flight). Anyway I made it and took the long plane from Chicago to Incheon. This wasn’t my first time to Korea, as I visited briefly for a week three years prior in 2010. At the airport, I took a highway bus to Daegu, where I was greeted by the head foreign teacher and the manager of the school (whom I spoke with on my Skype interview).

My abode for my first ten or so days in Korea.

My apartment wouldn’t be ready until my contract officially started in March (as the old teacher was still living there), so I was set up in a love hotel called O2 close to where I’d be working. It was definitely a new experience, as I had never really been at this kind of hotel before. There were all sorts of adult/love things such as heart shaped slippers, condoms, romantic mood lighting, etc. I had arrived late at night around 1 or 2 am and they already expected us to go to work the next morning around 9 am, so I didn’t have time to connect to the internet or anything other than a quick “I’m safe” Facebook status. the next morning, I go out of bed met the head foreign teacher and another new teacher and we walked to work together for my first day teaching at the Korean kindergarten.