Alright. The time has finally come for me to reveal my big decision. To those I’ve already talked to about it, I’d like to thank you again for your input about the upcoming change in my life.
So I’m moving to South Korea.
Yeah, it’s still frightening for me to say. I’ve spent the past five weeks trying to talk myself out of it. I’ve come up with a number of reasons NOT to go:
-I’d be moving away from all my loved ones.
-I need to learn another language.
-I don’t know what I’ll be doing there work-wise.
-Even though my health issues are decreasing, they still affect my daily life.
-There’s a lot of hoops I’d have to jump through to live in another country.
-There’s the whole North Korea situation…
And these are all completely valid concerns–except for the North Korea thing; I’m not worried at all about them.
I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed, about this decision. I’m 100% sure that God has been leading me towards South Korea for years; I’ve just now started listening and started piecing everything together.
As for learning, Korea, I’m just loving this language! I’ve been teaching myself for about a month and I can’t believe how quickly I’m picking it up. For one thing, I’m highly motivated to learn it. And secondly, it’s a very logical and precise language. It’s also helpful that there are so many online sources to help people learn Korean. I find a new resource every couple of days that expands my understanding of their pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and so on.
The main question everyone has asked me is: What will you be doing in South Korea? I don’t have anything set yet since I’ve only been completely committed to going for a week. But most likely, I’ll be teaching. But here are my options as far as I can tell:
-Option 1: Teach for DODEA
Working for the Department of Defense Education Activity is my number one choice, so I’ll be applying there first. If selected, I’d be a civilian working at an on-base school, teaching military kids. But sadly, there’s no guarantee that I’d be placed in South Korea, let alone Seoul–which is where I ultimately want to end up. I think I could live somewhere other than Seoul, but my main goal is to go to South Korea.
-Option 2: Teach for a Foreign or International School
I’ll be applying to as many of the Foreign and International Schools in Seoul as I can. I’d likely be a lot more immersed in Korean culture than I would working for DODEA. However, it’s my second option since DODEA has quite a few more perks. And yet, the Foreign Schools in Seoul are among the most prestigious in the world; I’d be honored to have an opportunity to work for one.
-Option 3: Teach English as a Foreign Language
Koreans want to learn English. There is a high demand for English teachers in South Korea. And yet, I’m not as excited about this option. I looked into getting my TEFL (Teacher English as a Foreign Language) certificate. It requires 120 hours of course work and could cost up to $2000. So I’m putting that on my back-burner for just in case I run out of options.
-Options 4, 5, 6+
I feel very strongly that there are options that I have not been presented with. I know that there are many other opportunities that require being fluent in Korea. Although I’m learning quickly, I don’t think I’ll be completely fluent in the next year. Maybe after teaching in Korea for a couple years, I might speak, read, and write in Korean well enough to do something else. Heck, I’ve even considered possibly getting my Master’s degree at one of the Universities should I really enjoy living there. But it’s way too soon to know for sure what my future holds.
***If you happen to know of any employment opportunities in Seoul, South Korea, please Direct Message me some details through either Facebook or Twitter. I’d love to hear about them!
As to WHY I’m going, the simple answer is that I love the culture. For the long version, keep reading:
So back in February, I became exceedingly bored with my music playlists. Nothing was inspiring me. I then realized that I’ve mostly listened to the same music for years. Resolved to find my next lyrical muse, I asked my Twitter-verse for suggestions.
I tried several artists. Many were nice, but nothing really stood out. That was until I was invited to listen to DNA, a KPOP song by BTS.
I clicked the link, unaware of what KPOP or BTS stood for. Boy, I experienced such a fierce case of culture-shock as I watched these seven Korean men dance and sing this blend of hip-hop, rap, and lyrical music. I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch it all the way through. I had to stop and catch my breath.
But I didn’t stop there. I watched a number of other BTS music videos, amazed at the diversity of their songs as my visual and auditory senses were pleased.
This was literally 3 days before the Pyeongchang Olympics. I had absolutely no idea that it was an Olympics years, let alone that it was being held in South Korea. I felt it was a beautiful coincidence that I was exposed to Korea music just days before the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
I spent the next few weeks shirking off many of my adult responsibilities to sit and watch the Olympics while researching South Korean culture. Okay, yeah, that entailed watching a hundred hours of videos about BTS and looking at their bios. I got quite obsessed–which I’m not at all ashamed of.
I remember sitting on the couch during the Closing Ceremonies, watching a band call EXO performing their songs, “Growl” and “Power.” I remember praying and asking God to let me visit South Korea someday.
But my soul wasn’t satisfied with just VISITING there. A few days later, I began praying for God to start opening doors to let me LIVE there someday.
Several weeks passed. After learning almost everything I could about BTS, I moved on to EXO. They’ve been my favorite ever since. I’ve started looking into other bands, too, but there is just so much awesome music out there and my free-time has been rather limited.
The next big affirmation that I MUST go to South Korea came mid May during Mother’s Day. A relative of mine has recently retired for the military and has moved his family to the states. He and I were talking about my hopes to move to South Korea. And that’s when I was informed about DODEA. I’ve done my research and it sounds like such an awesome, tangible opportunity.
So for the past month, I’ve been praying, praying, praying about my decision, feeling like the timeline to move there is much shorter than I originally imagined. That’s both exciting and frightening. Although I know I have a lot of work to do this year before I can go, I’m also excited that I could be living there this time next summer. And like I said earlier, I’ve tried really hard to talk myself out of it. The fact that I’m more resolved than ever to go is affirmation that this is happening.
While I’ve been weighing all the reasons to go or not to go, I asked God to reveal to me the people I should share my feelings with. Basically everyone I talked to has had a different perspective that helped me process whether or not this is something I really wanted or–more importantly–if this was something that God has blessed.
That’s honestly been my biggest concern: Is this something that will bring praise and glory to God? Just by making this firm decision is enough to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. I tend to be very controlling and I like having a set plan. But I’m resolved to go to South Korea without any idea what God has in plan for me. Is there ministry he wants me to be involved in? Are there people whose lives I need to touch over there? I believe the answer is: YES! I just don’t know who or why or how or what. And that’s scary. And yet, I feel so calm when I remind myself that God is in control of the situation. I’m taking my leap-of-faith and He will provide me with what I need.
I’ve been asked several times: What will you do if God closes the doors to South Korea and you don’t get to go next year? Or ever? I can’t afford to doubt things right now. Trust me, that’s really kept me from committing to this sooner. I will always come up with some kind of excuse. But I need to be brave and rely on the courage that God has blessed me with.
Yes, there’s a possibility that I won’t find a job that’ll let me live in South Korea. However, I don’t feel like wasting energy by dwelling on all the things that might go wrong. God and I have worked really hard to battle my anxiety. I’ve come too far to give into the fear at this point. I’m committed to this. I’ll continue going to God for guidance and strength, as is what He has called all His children to do.
Thank you so much for all your prayers and encouraging words. I’m definitely going to need them this year as I prepare myself for my journey to South Korea. I really appreciate your support. I’ll continue posting updates the following months as God continues to guide me to South Korea. I pray for blessings to you and I hope that you are living your life to it’s fullest.