“If you’re ever going to take a leap of faith, now is the perfect time to do it!” These words kept playing in my mind as I embarked on my journey to move to South Korea as an EPIK teacher. Leaving my home, family and friends back in South Africa to move abroad is possibly one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. Sitting here today, I can thankfully say that I made the right choice.
I landed at Incheon International Airport, full of hope, fear and excitement. My fear was soon overtaken with relief after successfully finding a group of friends I had met on the official EPIK Facebook group before my arrival. A few days after our arrival, we departed for our EPIK orientation which was hosted at Kankuk University campus in Chungbuk. Orientation was a whirlwind of remarkable lectures; fun-filled field trips and beneficial networking opportunities. I often left the orientation lectures with a wealth of knowledge about South Korea, teaching techniques, effective communication skills as well as an idea ‘what to expect’ for the year ahead. After a jam-packed 8 days, we left the University to be dropped off at our relevant MOE and POE’s. This was a seemingly bittersweet day for both the EPIK teachers as well as staff members. The novelties of our cushioned environment at the University started to wear off as we realized this was the official start of my own EPIK teaching journey.
Arriving in Daegu felt like a dream. The only introduction I had to this bustling city was a series of YouTube videos, blogs and online Google searches. So far, Daegu has lived up to my expectations and is everything I had imagined and more. The city of Daegu is beautifully nestled between surrounding mountain ranges and hills. As a nature lover, the scenic views of the mountains provide me with joy and tranquility on my daily walks home. I consider myself as seasoned hiker, but hiking in Daegu is definitely not for the faint hearted. My first hiking attempt up Apsan Mountain was both challenging and invigorating. I had the opportunity to watch the sunset and overlook the city from the Apsan observatory. My best description of Daegu is that it is a little gem. There are so many beautiful little hidden things to do and see.
The teaching aspect of my time here in South Korea has been the most rewarding. No matter what type of day I am having, seeing my student’s faces is sure to always brighten my mood. The children here are energetic, polite, focus-driven and excited to see you every time without fail!
Even though I have only been living abroad for a short while, I can say for certain that I have been challenged and grown in ways I never imagined. I have met such amazing people, eaten the most delicious Korean food and seem some of the most beautiful sites; it’s hard to believe this is just the beginning! I am reminded that every day will present an opportunity for me to learn something new.
None of this would've been possible without the help and assistance from Alistair and Korean Horizons. Alistair made every part of the application process smooth, stress-free and manageable. His dedication, passion and hard-work made moving countries seem like a piece of cake!