Today, when this blog goes live, I’m on a plane to South Korea to start my new job as a Kindergarten teacher (well, to start training anyway. Job starts March 2nd).
It seems like a perfect time to talk about my decision to move abroad.
The first time I got on a plane to another country, I was 20 years old flying to Shanghai, China for a semester abroad. That was only 3 months, and I had my friend traveling with me the whole time. I was going to school and exploring the city, but I felt like just a regular student.
I didn’t get really comfortable being in China until the end of month 3, as I was getting ready to go home. I wished I could have stayed longer but I was eager to go home.
In 2015, I got a job teaching in South Korea (very similar to what I’m doing now).
For the first time I was going alone. I was meeting with others in the same government teaching program as me (EPIK), but I was flying alone. I would be living alone in an apartment, not in a student dorm.
Most importantly, I didn’t speak much, if any Korean.
I went to China after studying the language for 2 years. I was at least a bit comfortable with Mandarin Chinese.
I knew how to sound out written Korean, but never really knew what any of it said.
I figured out menus and food pretty quick, but living alone in a country where I don’t speak the language and most people around me (outside of work) didn’t speak English – I got majorly stressed out.
I’m really glad I did it.
Living alone in Korea really pushed me to grow as a person.
I had to cook and take care of the apartment all alone.
I had to learn to be alone.
Out of my comfort zone, first job out of university, I struggled.
Clearly, that was not a deterrent because I’m going back!
Honestly, if you are at a point in your life where you can take a leap and go live alone in a foreign country, I say do it.
The experience is amazing and, though there are definitely low points and stress and days I cried myself to sleep, I am stronger for it.