Hey everyone, I'm Jess, and for the next year I will be teaching English in Daegu, South Korea! I am super excited and nervous, and I can't wait to share all of my experiences with you - the good and bad alike.
But before we go any further, let me introduce myself a little more! Like I mentioned before, my name is Jessica, but most people call me Jess. I am 32 years old and have lived all over the United States. In college, I spent a semester studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, and I traveled all around Europe while I was there. I love exploring new places and traveling became an important part of my life. Since college, I have spent the last 9 years as a professional zookeeper working with elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions, and more!
Now, why did I suddenly leave my career and move all the way to South Korea, you ask?
Can the answer be as simple as, "why not?"
Not too long ago, I sat where you are sitting and thought to myself, "What would it be like to live abroad?". It's something I had often thought about, but, until recently, I hadn't put much thought into what would it actually look like. So, I decided to do some research (that phrase is practically my life motto at this point). I read countless professional and travel blogs in order to get a better idea of whether or not it was possible to turn all of my idle daydreaming into a reality.
The common denomenator across all of my research was this: teaching English. There were countless opportunities to teach English abroad, and surprisingly, there weren't that many requirements. I wouldn't have to go back to school, I didn't need to know the language of the country I was going to, and there were even countries who provided paid accomodations for teachers! If I wanted to live abroad, this seemed like the best way to get my foot in the door.
Then came the doubt.
How could I give up my career of almost a decade and move to the other side of the world? Wouldn't I miss my friends and family (and two adorable cats) too much? Was it worth it?
That's when I had to get real with myself. If I wanted to live a life of travel and adventure then I was going to have to accept that sometimes it might be uncomfortable. There might be nights when I get lonely or times when my job is frustrating. But when I look back on my life in 50 years I want to be able to say that I had the courage to follow my dreams despite of all that. And that sealed the deal for me.
So, for the next year, I will be sharing all of my experiences with you. And if I can give even one other person the courage to follow their dreams and embark on the adventure of a lifetime then this blog will have been worth it!
If you have any questions about the CIEE application process, living in South Korea, international travel and quarantine, or how I manage to teach English to kindergarteners, you will always have a place to ask here!
Always choose to be brave!