I am getting out of the US and living in another country for a few years. In a few months, I plan to fly to Korea or Japan and teach English to children and young adults to earn a living. I’m ready to take the next step in my life.
My Next Step
I plan to teach in a different country for at least a couple years to get the full experience under my belt and shake away the experiences as a newcomer. I want to get familiar with the area and learn a new language. I’m deciding between Japan and Korea because these are the two areas that seem like would give me the best chances of paying down my student loan while still earning a strong cultural experience that I will enjoy. Korea will allow me to save more money, while Japan will give me a greater cultural experience—in my opinion. It really is a toss up, but I’m leaning towards Korea so I can pay down my debt already and move on with my life.
The 2.5-Year Plan
From now until August, I’ll save money and continue to work on self-improvement. I’ll continue eating and living healthy, reading books, writing, and scaling down my life so I only carry the few things that are essential to me. I’ll donate or sell most of my stuff by then, so I’ll be down to the bare minimum. During this time, I’ll also look for a position in either Japan or Korea, locking me into a contract for the next year and setting me up for the upcoming school semester.
In August, September, or October, I’ll have found a position as an English teacher or teaching assistant and be ready to move to Japan or Korea. Korea is the easier option, as most companies in Korea will assist in finding accommodating, acquiring a working visa, and giving the assisted first experience that makes it
For the next two years after that, I’ll teach in a country foreign to me, learning the language and discovering more and more about the world. I’ll laugh, cry, and feel the entire range of emotions a person leaving their comfort zone and venturing into the world alone will feel. But I’ll have done it. I’ll have taken that next step.
Japan looks like a great opportunity to visit a culture that I have always been fascinated with. Growing up as a fan of Anime, I always had an appreciation for Japanese culture and looked up to their philosophies—at least those depicted in the anime I watched. I believe Japan produces some of the best stories in the world. I am still a big fan of manga and anime. While I haven’t been reading much lately because of all the things going on with my life, choosing Japan would not only allow me to watch anime and read manga, it would encourage it! I could read to enhance my knowledge and experience with the culture and learn the language. Not a huge reason to choose Japan over Korea, but it highlights the cultural differences that could make Japan more enjoyable for me.
Korea seems like an excellent option as well though. Because the government program in Korea, EPIK, funds a lot of the initial costs that it takes to get to another country and find a job, it’s an easy choice to make to get my feet wet as a travelling teacher. Companies in Korea help with acquiring a visa, they supply a free studio apartment, and they assist with a few initial costs such as furnishing and buying a plane ticket. Japan can be difficult and more expensive to find accommodations.
I’m leaning towards Korea because I figure, I can live in Korea and save a little extra money, the money I would be spending towards rent and all the extra amenities I would need to have to live comfortably in Japan or another country—I’m a high-maintenance, tech-savvy vegan—while still paying down my student loans and saving towards my adventures travelling the world. Korea seems like the smarter plan financially. Additionally, Korea can expose me to experiences I least expected since I’m less familiar with their culture. I could learn Korea in two years, then move to Japan after my contracts are up, after having earned experience and saved a little more money.
No matter which route I take, the sheer fact that I’m venturing out of my comfort zone and doing something that I’ve been wanting to do for years is reason enough to just do it. Just get out of the country and just explore the world while I’m young. Regardless of what I do, I know I’ll have the time of my life.
Which would place would you rather travel to? Korea or Japan? Why?