Here are some answers for tha haters! :)
Why did I choose to teach abroad? Well... my plans for my future changed in October 2009. I had been planning on moving up to DC, landing a sweet government job/anything I could get :) And so on and so on. But the plan changed, I decided that I no longer am ready to move to Washington and I want to live my life to the fullest. If you know me, you know that I am extremely anal about money and my future. I worked hard through school, graduated early because I am paying for it and boy is it not cheap, and I wanted to start an amazing life for myself and have a family.
Umm... hello?!? I am only 21. The main question I asked myself that aided in my decision was. "Paula, when you're 25 do you want to say you've done the same thing for the past 4 years.. working in an office?!" and my answer was HECK NO, I LOVE to travel, I don't want to be stuck in a tall building slaving away to barely be able to afford a rinkydink apartment.
So, I did my research on the internet, and decided why not travel and live in a country and be paid while doing it. And teaching was the best thing I found. I wish I could say it is because I absolutely adore kids.. but!! Negative! I mean, I love the kids I teach.. I didn't think that would be a big issue, but I haven't had experience teaching kids.. only adults!
Why did I choose Korea? Oooooh Korea. Well, honestly? It was the easiest. They are hiring like mad. I applied in November and had signed a contract by December. I'm not a fan of the Japanese, China seemed too communist, I couldn't find a good recruiter for the more exotic countries, and Latin America was out of the question because you get paid jack squat! SO, long story short. Korea offered the most money, I knew next to nothing about it besides that my grandfather was in the Korean war, and the recruiter I used (Adventure Teaching) had the best looking website... YES I do go by website appearance for quality standards of an agency :)
How did I find the job? Adventure Teaching is a recruitment company that deals with ONLY Korea. This made me feel better, because if I had used a recruitment agency that dealt with a bunch of countries.. where is the quality assurance?! They also had an office in Korea AND in Washington State back in the states. I did not have to pay them anything, I believe the schools pay them $1,000 when a teacher shows up to teach. THey were extremely helpful. I asked tons of questions to different agencys throughout October 09, applied to AT in November 09, had a phone interview and got accepted the same month, I was then shown the job description for my current job and decided it was the one for me! I had a phone interview and a week later got the job! It took about a month for all of the paperwork and VISA, but it all worked out. And I arrived in February!
It was a very stressful time in my life when I decided to take the job that was offered. I was worrying about passing Statistics at JMU and worrying about graduation. However, while waitressing I made plenty of pros and cons lists. When I received the offer, I had to close my eyes, pray, and compose an email that said, I'LL TAKE IT. KOREA HERE I COME! I had only talked to a current teacher and the director of Oxford, so I really just had to go with my gut! I am very happy I did!
What are the stats? I teach 5 days a week. I have an unusual schedule, and teach an array of ages. Monday through Friday I work 10:20AM-12:30PM at a Kindergarten which is really 4-7 years old (Western ages are THREE to 6 year olds). I teach 2-30min. classes 4 days a week and 3-30min. classes once a week (about 6-12 students in each class). Then I eat lunch for FREE at kinder, it is homemade Korean (<3 it!). And I have a short break and work 2:30PM-6:20PM at Oxford English Academy (a hagwon.. private school). Here, I teach 3-45min. classes and have 45 minutes of office hours. Yes.. I only work 6 hours a day, not even teaching the full time. At Oxford, we have 200 students total, however I do not see all of them. I see each student 1-2 times a week, the class size is around 10 people.
I get paid once a month at 2.3million Korean Won. I get 3% taxes taken out, and my employer pays half my health insurance (its CHEAP too!). My plane tickets each way are paid for, my apartment is paid for, I only have to pay the water/electric/cell phone bills. Food is rather cheap here, and it is SUPER yummy, so I am spending a lot of money on that!
I have 2-1 week paid vacations, one week at the end of July and one at the end of December. I also have about 14 days of paid national holidays!
My goal is to live life, try not to spend too much money, but hopefully come back with more than $10,000 American to help pay for a car/the expenses of expensive life in America!
How long am I staying here? I signed a one year contract. I began in February 2009 and will end in February 2010. I believe I will be coming home after!