Hello! As I write this, I'm in the middle of my second full day of quarantine. I'll be writing another post detailing my experience with the flight, immigration, and quarantine later, but for now, I wanted to take a second to introduce myself.
I'm Sarah! I'm originally from St. Louis, MO, and I'm going to be teaching young learners in Incheon, South Korea this year. Along with being TEFL certified, I have a bachelor's degree in creative writing and Asian studies. Before teaching abroad, I studied in Korea on the Arts + Sciences program with CIEE, and, after graduating from college, I worked as a freelance writer for a communications office. While I have some experience teaching and tutoring, this year abroad will be my first experience with formal teaching—especially of such young students.
Since I'm still in quarantine, I've been thinking a lot about what I'm excited to do this year. I'm looking forward to getting to know my students and getting to a place where I feel confident working with them. I can't wait to explore my favorite neighborhoods from when I last came, and I'm really interested in getting to know new areas, too. Last time, I was only here for a semester, and, being so busy with school and other program activities, I didn't have as much time to explore independently as I wanted. I also wasn't as confident with speaking Korean and interacting with Korean culture as I am now, so I anticipate being able to not only do more but also have more qualitative experiences this time around. I'm really thankful for the opportunity to visit Korea again, and I'm even more excited to be here as a teacher.
I've also been giving some thought to things that I'm nervous about. Being away from my family for so long, navigating a culture that—while familiar to me—is completely different from my own: the prospect of doing these independently all while adjusting to a new working environment and new career path is one that makes me uneasy, certainly. I'm thankful to the helpful people I've already met since being here; I happened to share a flight with someone else working at my same school, my quarantine cab driver was very kind, and my boss has been texting with me to check in over the past few days. CIEE has also done a good job of laying out when certain things will happen and how to go through various processes, so, while this experience relies on independence, I know I'll never be unsupported.
I'll sign off with that for now, and I'll make another post after I'm finished with quarantine! Talk soon.