Life as an Expat

This category contains 35 posts

10 EPIK Haikus

As my year with EPIK comes to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about the experience. Below are 10 haikus that reflect what I’ve learned while living, teaching and traveling in South Korea (though really they’re applicable to anyone teaching or living abroad anywhere!).   Being a teacher Requires kindness, patience And–JIMMY SIT DOWN!!!!     … Continue reading

Too Short for Korea

As a 6’2″ waygook, I have never experienced the problem implied by the title of this post. In fact, it’s usually the exact opposite for me. Every day I exit buses with extra care and walk under umbrellas at local markets like Quasimodo. Koreans, young and old, marvel unabashedly at my towering presence. Yet somehow, despite a … Continue reading

Naver Get Lost Again: A Guide to Bike Paths and Bike Travel in Korea

Naver is to Korea what Google is to America. It’s the go-to search engine and directions provider. And as far as mapped-out bike paths are concerned, Naver and Korea are both way ahead of the game. While it can be intimidating to stare at a screen filled with Korean words (there is no English setting, … Continue reading

A Take on EPIK Intakes: When to start?

Native teachers enter the EPIK program via one of four different intakes: Winter, Late Winter, Fall, and Late Fall. Regardless of when they start, all teachers receive the same pay and benefits; and no intake is reserved for hiring more or less experienced teachers.  So when it comes to beginning your year in Korea, objectively speaking, no time of … Continue reading

Jeju Trip and My First Visitor!

Whether you’re living abroad or just far away from home, nothing beats seeing a familiar face. Not only is it fun to play tour guide and show off a bit of your newly-acquired cultural knowledge. It’s also wonderful to feel like you’re a little closer to home, if only for awhile. Two weeks ago I was able … Continue reading

My Renewal Decision and 4 Life Lessons That Helped Me Make It

After thinking heavily about whether or not to renew my contract with EPIK, I’ve decided to return home in August. Signing on for a second year would offer me several enticing financial benefits and mouthwatering travel opportunities. And I’ve had a positive experience at my school, where I would continue to work if I were to renew. But during my … Continue reading

Trial and Hair-er – Getting A Haircut In Korea

Getting a haircut is usually a rather mundane part of everyday life. But when you’re an expat living in another country and you don’t speak the local language, it suddenly becomes a much more exciting and emotional experience. Every snip of the scissors and buzz of the clippers sends a rush of trepidation down your spine; … Continue reading

It Takes A Village

Starting last week my school moved to its new, permanent location about 20 minutes outside the city. The campus is absolutely huge and beautifully tucked into the valley of some small mountains with a distant view of the ocean (pictures to come later)! However, it makes for a bit of a longer commute and especially … Continue reading

The Beauty In the Ugly

Woody Allen is quoted saying, “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.” But after coming to teach English and live in South Korea, I’ve come to believe it’s about much more than that. One-hundred percent of life is about showing up with the best version of yourself. Author of Living From Your Soul, Neal … Continue reading

The Sounds of the Jimjilbang

I recently mustered up enough courage for my first trip to a Korean spa, locally known as a jimjilbang. Lots of public nakedness was had by all, and I left feeling relaxed and squeaky clean. While parts of it might be a tad exaggerated for comedic purposes, this song I made pretty well captures the experience, … Continue reading

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