So visiting South Korea had never really crossed my mind, and whilst a job offer sat on the table to work at Busan International Foreign School I thought, well this is what travelling is about isn't it? Random, Uncertain, Adventure.
So without much further though, I took the job.
As they say, all experience is good experience, and after a few solo travel adventures prior to this endeavour, I can certainly say I agree. So to Korea I went.
What was supposed to be a two year contract, turned into 3, which is what happens there. So many expats I met there (many of whom teach english abroad using the TELF qualification) planned to go for a year, and stay much longer. I think this is what speaks most about the incredible country Korea is. So many people are so ignorant to how beautiful, stunning, forward thinking and developed the country is (myself included until I moved there!), that it doesnt cross many people's thoughts as a place to visit. However, it really is an incredible place to spend time. The food is fantastic and (very) cheap, the transport infrastructure is superb and there is an endless list of cultural and scenic places to visit.
A huge percentage of the expat community their teach English, and are able to enjoy a fantastic work/social balance. What's more is that it's a great place to save money too with accommodation often included in TEFL teaching jobs and a low cost of living. If you are looking for a new experience but don't have much money, Korea is a win, win.
As with all places there are some downsides, such as frustration people can feel at times when confronted with the confucius systems of respect and hierarchy (which are a foundation of the korean culture), which can sometimes seem an obstacle to progression in some ways. Also the influence of the corporate world in korea is big with self image and branding an obsession for many. However if one can accept/look past these things Korea really is an incredibly special place to visit/learn/grow.
Also their is a huge outdoor scene there. As the country is a mountainous peninsula some might say it should be, but korea really makes the most of it. Their are huge communities for many sports from climbing to ultimate frisbee, from golf to baseball. It is a place where you would struggle to get bored. I did a lot of climbing there, and found the korean climbing community so welcoming and friendly.
I lived in Busan which is a great place. A choice of beaches, surrounded by mountains, and great food on every corner. You can climb and surf in the same day, and in winter, we could even ski after work! Need I say more ;)