Korea or Japan? Just do it

I completed the TEFL. I can start applying for jobs in both Korea and Japan. Of course I will apply to the both major dispatch companies, EPIK for Korea and JET for Japan, but I also want to do research on more areas in Japan that would give me similar benefits of Korea. I want to go to Japan, but Korea has greater financial incentives.

I am stuck in a dilemma. Over the last couple weeks, I have been thinking of whether I should go to Japan or Korea. Korea has better financial benefits, but Japan has a culture that I have greater interest in. I have the choice between money and comfort or a greater cultural experience and the struggle.

I have to weigh my options. In Japan, I get manga and the Japanese culture that I have always been fascinated with since I was a kid. In Korea, I get an easy program that will basically do all the dirty work for me, place me at a public school, but will give me the experience of a foreigner while allowing me to save money.

The experience of being a foreigner is what is most important. The fact that I’m getting out of my comfort zone to travel abroad to teach English to children and young adults is justification enough to just do it, whether I go to Japan or Korea. But, there is a part of me that tells me to take the route I am most interested in because this will be my only opportunity to have this experience. I know I can continue teaching if I wanted to, but I won’t be 27, freshly American, and going to another country to have that experience. I’ll have had it in Korea. I want to have the experience with Japan. If only they compensated well. I don’t have to decide now, but I am definitely in a dilemma. I may be able to save a little bit of money and still pay down my student loans while in Japan, but Korea will allow me to eliminate my student loans much more quickly. It’s not to say that I won’t have a good experience in Korea, it just looks really easy. Korea has everything set up for you already—I don’t have to worry about a room, a visa, a plane ticket, or anything like that because it will be all set up for me. There’s a big incentive to go to South Korea.

I need to choose soon. I receive the TEFL certification sometime this week, so I can start applying to jobs by Friday. I can be out of here as soon as August. I would be out of here sooner, but I think that would give me ample time to set everything straight in America. I will have had enough time to save enough in case of an emergency, and have enough time to save to buy a new laptop, some new camera gear, and some new clothing and luggage. I’ll be able to sell all my stuff and get rid of everything that I’m not using. No matter what I choose, the experience is what matters.

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