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Surviving the Heat---->Being in my late 20s, I am a little embarrassed to admit I am homesick. This isn’t summer camp, this is life! And I’m a full-grown adult! I know living in a new country is always a challenge. It’s nice to know I can depend on my coworkers to lend a hand when I need help.

The first night in SK was honestly exciting and also a bit hard for me.

I was taken immediately to my hagwon after my feet hit Korean soil and I observed classes and even taught a lesson despite having passed a sleepless 15-hour flight to Seoul. All I'm trying to do is survive and create memories. I didn't bring much money, so its very few things I can do this month.

Holidays Abroad


(Me and my family rocking Christmas sweaters.)

With Thanksgiving long past and Christmas just around the corner, I wanted talk about what it is like to be away from your family during the holidays. I do realize that everyone have different attitudes when it comes to family and when it comes to the holidays and the mixture of the two; but for me the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, have always been my favorite time of the year especially during college. I loved being able to come home and be with family and eat until I could eat anymore and just be able to wind down from the stresses I endured during exam week.

Now that I am not able to come home for the holidays, it has made me miss my family even more and I can't help but to think about all of the things I'm missing out on and all of the things that I took for granted while I was with them. There were a few things that I didn't really care to do while I was home, like going from one family's house to the next during Thanksgiving or decorating the Christmas tree, that I now wish I had an opportunity to do.

I'm not going to lie, if you and your family are really close and you love being with them on the holidays living in abroad for a whole year is going to be tough; but it's not all sad. I made friends here and was able to convince them to have a Thanksgiving dinner with me. We spent all day shopping and cooking a big meal that we could enjoy together. It was the first time I've ever made a whole Thanksgiving dinner, and sitting down and seeing what we created together and then stuffing out faces made me feel at home. 23795886_1790769700941413_6268521076099725936_n

(Final picture of out Thanksgiving dinner.) 

Also for Christmas this year my fiance is coming to visit me and I will be able to share all of the wonderful cultural experiences that I have enjoyed with him. 

So, even though my holidays are not going to be same without being back home and with my family, I do get to make new and exciting memories here in South Korea. 

Happy Holidays!

The Five Major Things You Need to do When You Land in Korea

Step One: Fly to Korea

Step Two: Land in Korea

Step Three: Profit?

Okay, so ignore that last one but for real: you’ve landed in Korea, you’ve gotten to your apartment, you’ve met some of your co-workers (maybe even taken a tour of your school, and now you’re trying to mentally prepare yourself with navigating your way through this unknown and exciting world…now what? You here, you’ve made it, there can’t possibly be anything else to prepare, right? No, dear reader, that’s where you would be wrong. There is still more paperwork to be filled out and more things to prepare. Luckily, I’m here to give you a heads up!

  1. ARC (Alien Registration Card)  Id

Before you even eat your first piece of gimpap or snap your first “I’m in Korea!” photo you need to start setting into motion the paperwork for your Alien Registration Card. This is basically the Korean equivalent of a “green card” saying you are allowed to be working and living in the country. “But wait,” you might be thinking, “Isn’t that what my visa is for?” Unfortunately, dear reader, the visa only allows you to work and live in the country for up to 90 days and allows you time to work on getting your ARC. If your hagwon is like mine or you’re teaching at public school, then it is most likely that they have already started to set into motion this process; but not every school is the same and though the majority of the paperwork needs to be completed by the school it may be necessary for you to take the initiative. Don’t be hesitant to talk to your school about getting your ARC because it is also very beneficial for them: obviously if they hired you for a year or more then they probably would very much would like you stay longer than 90 days.

Your ARC is not only important in the fact that it is the only thing between you and deportation but it also necessary for you to have one in order for you to do important things such as, you know, get paid. Which brings me to my next point.

  1. Bank Account  Korean-banks

Depending on where you live and what banks you have near you, you may need to wait to get your. ARC before opening up a bank account (which why, in that case, it would be better to start the paperwork ASAP); but banks today are slowly allowing foreigners, or at least ones with specific types of visas, to open up a bank account without their ARC. My bank, KB Star (Kookmin), for example, allowed me to open up a checking account which came with a Mastercard credit card with only my passport and visa, and allowed my school to pay me through direct deposit.  And, boy, am I sure glad I opened it up so I could get paid because I would not have made it for another month!

Disclosure *Just be sure to ask your Korean co-worker or friend for help, and don’t be surprised if it takes longer than expected; getting a Korean bank account is much harder than in America.

  1. Wi-Fi and Korean Sim Card  Wifi

It’s a cliché to say, but in this day and age you cannot survive without Wi-Fi and data and being in a foreign country it’s even more so. I don’t think I could have survived with not being able to speak to my family and friends for more than a few days, which is why I took the initiative in getting someone to help me get a Wi-F- box for my apartment. It cost me around 40,000 won or around $35 for a Wi-Fi box plus an extra 20,000 won ($18) to get some equipment to set it up; and, yes, it’s true what they say Korean Wi-Fi is A-ma-zing. And it has been definitely worth it to get not just because I am able to keep up with all my favorite American shows, including Game of Thrones and Project Runway, but because in order to get used to some of the culture shock you’re going to need to be able to contact your family and friends for support, and I mean also Project Runway.

In addition to a Wi-Fi box you will need to get a Korean phone or sim card, depending on whether or not your phone is unlocked. (If your phone is not unlocked then you will need to get a Korean phone on top of a sim card plan). This has been a lot more difficult for me to get considering that I am still working on getting my ARC; unlike some banks getting a Korean phone plan does require an ARC number. And what’s more a Korean phone number is pretty essential to some things in everyday life. Whether it’s needing to call one of your co-workers for help, ordering a pizza, shopping online, or even being able to watch YouTube videos only suitable for 19 years or older, you need a Korean phone number.

There are a few alternatives to just waiting for your ARC in order to get a Korean phone number. Which is to buy a prepaid Sim Card that allows you to have a temporary mobile data plan and phone number. However, the downside to this is it tends to be a lot more expensive than a regular data plan and you may not have as much data available as you like. However, if you are not interested in getting a Korean phone number (because let’s face it everyone just uses Kakao Talk to communicate anyway) and are only interested in being able to use data while you’re out and about then a lot of people have mentioned to me that getting a Wi-Fi egg is the next best thing. A Wi-Fi egg is like portable Wi-Fi router and gives you a certain amount of date per day for 30 days, and once 30 days is up you can recharge it again for another 30 days for one flat rate. This gives a bit more data than the pre-paid Sim Card and is cheaper as well. Whichever you choose to get, I still think the most important thing to get is your Wi-Fi box so that you can use this next thing.

  1. Kakao Talk  Kakaofriends_talk

As I mentioned before, most Koreans nowadays uses an app called Kakao Talk to communicate. It uses Wi-Fi or data to make calls, send texts, and make video calls, and best part about it is it’s free AND you can already use your American phone number to make an account (it also has a bunch of cute characters as mascots who are Everywhere in Korea). I highly suggest this app because as soon as you get to Korea I guarantee your co-workers will be asking, “Hey what is your Kakao so we can meet up?” Of course, you can’t go anywhere without a T-money card.

  1. Public Transportation card  T-money-card

In Korea I constantly use my T-money card to get around. A T-money card is a rechargeable public transportation card that you can swipe to pay fare for buses, subways, and sometimes even taxis (depending on how much you have). Many convenient stores sell these cards for a small price and then you can go to any convenient store to recharge it. T-money is the most common card you can buy but there are other brands you can buy as well. I never leave home without it and it makes riding the bus less stressful than trying around to correct change for the bus fare.

Those are a few of the things I think you need to get as soon as you get to Korea, until next time dear reader!



How to Survive the 13+ Hour Plane Ride to South Korea

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For those of you getting ready to leave for South Korea (or wherever you happen to be flying to), you probably have a million and one different things going through your head: “Do I have everything packed? Do I have my passport? My plane ticket? When do I have to be at the airport? What do I do when I arrive?” But one thing you’re probably not thinking about is, “What am I going to do on this 13+ hour plane ride?” Well, fear not reader because lucky for you this is isn’t my first time flying across the world on a long-duration flight, and here are some of my suggestions on how to survive it.


Entertainment Download

With nowhere to walk to when you’re bored and no ability to stare at your phone except at a very specific instant in time (the airplane WIFI is not the best), there are limited options to what you can and can’t do while you’re awake. If you’re lucky like I was, my last flight had mini personal screens in the back of every seat filled with new TV shows and movies, so I spent a good few hours watching those. But if you get bored then bring some other things on your carry-on to keep you occupied: bring that book you’ve been meaning to read, a notebook to write in, your DS and your favorite Pokémon game, one of those adult coloring books, maybe a phrase book to catch up on your Korean, and even though most of the time they are provided, bring your own headphones. You’ll thank me later.


Sleep Sleep on plane

Sleeping has to be one of the hardest aspects of a long plane ride; it almost comes down to a science. First, know that you WILL sleep but knowing when to sleep is essential. Be aware of when you’re arriving at your destination. As I mentioned in my previous article sleep is important to not only adjust your body to the time difference, but also to protect your mind from being too strained from the effects of culture shock. So, knowing when you arrive in (my case) Korea because if you arrive at night then you want to be tired enough so that you fall asleep at an appropriate time or if you arrive during the morning or the day you want to be awake enough to make it through the day so you can, again, go to bed a reasonable time. For the love of all that is decent, Do NOT take a nap! Your sleep schedule will not be kind and you will regret it. So, sleep close to before you arrive if you arrive during the day or sleep further from when you arrive if you arrive at night. It will be impossible to get a full 8 hours (unless you just so happen to be flying first-class) but sleeping even just a little will make a world of difference.


Food Images

What’s the deal with airline food? No, but, really amateur comedians don’t have it completely wrong. The food is … well food. It’s not good and it’s not bad; one thing it does have going for it is that the meals are varied and you do get enough per meal.  My suggestion is even though the food is not super appetizing it’s best to still eat even a little each meal. Even though it may not seem like it, flying can be a very tiring venture and food is the best way fuel your body for the long road ahead.  My other suggestion is do NOT eat the fish especially if it is sushi; yes they do serve that and yes it probably as bad, if worse, than gas station sushi.


Bathroom Breaks Download (2)

I know reader, you probably read this and thought, “Do we really need to talk about this?” and to that I say yes, dear reader, yes, we do. Take bathroom breaks! Take bathroom breaks as often as you can. Flight attendants everywhere might hate me for this, but I’m going to say it. The fastens-your-seat-belt symbol comes on more often than you think and when that light is on there is no way you are able to go to the bathroom. When the light is off don’t hesitate to go especially if you have just finished a meal. Trust me you don’t want to have to go when the plane is flying through some slight yet unexpected turbulence and while staring impatiently at the fasten-your-seat-belt light. If you think red lights take a long time to change then you have another thing coming.


Hope that was helpful dear readers. All of this advice I accrued from my first trip across the world. Let me know if I left something out or if you have advice of your own. Until next time, see ya!

Excitement, Fear, and Advice From Friends

As the day of departure is fast arriving and the only thing standing in my way is the return of my fully visa-ed passport, I wanted to reflect on the things that I am most excited and most anxious for my one-year stay in Korea

  1. Culture Shock Blog #1 image

My friend once described the culture shock she experienced at the beginning of her semester in France as an overload of the senses; and even though she had been studying French language and culture for some-ought-6 years she still couldn’t believe the adjustments she had to make while over there. Now, looking at myself who up until this summer had zero knowledge on Korean culture or language, I could pretend and say as John Mulaney once said “I know what most things feel like,” but I know that would be a total lie. Luckily for me I don’t have to this alone and unaware.  My world-traveling friend, like so many others, was able to survive the dreaded culture shock and she gave me some advice which I know will be invaluable to me in the near future:

She said the number one best thing you can do for yourself is to get a good night’s sleep. Because culture shock is such an overload to the senses, it is best to give the brain time to process and to adjust and learn from mistakes. It’s going to be hard not knowing how to communicate effectively sometimes and it’s going to be frustrating if you mess up some cultural norm, but do not fret and dwell and instead reflect and move on. Give your brain a rest and you will not regret it in the long run.  

  1. Teaching  Blog #1 image 2

Do you remember the question “What is your major?” during college and when you answered, “English,” the person automatically assumed you’re were going to be a teacher? Remember when you got so angry because that was the furthest thing you wanted be? Remember that? Haha well if you’re wondering, yes, that was me; and now I’m kind of laughing hysterically because now after only a few months after graduation I’m going to South Korea…To Teach! For a YEAR! What has the world come to?

If you know me well then you know I’m not the biggest fans of kids and therefore I never wanted a career where I would have to work with them for long periods of time. Yet, after much reflection (in between the “What am I going to do with my life”-crisis-periods) before graduation I realized that I had been working with kids during a lot of my college career. I volunteered at an after-school poetry club, I tutored after classes, I volunteered with the Girl Scouts for my sorority; and even though it was difficult for me I still tried my best to help the kids and have fun with them.  Combine that with my English degree, I few classes on TEFL, and a love for South-East Asian culture and boom! you’ve got a pretty good candidate for a foreign English teacher in South Korea.

So, while I’m nervous about the teaching aspect of going to South Korea, I am going to make the most of it and take in what lessons the kids have to offer. Who knows, after this year, maybe I’ll end up being a teacher after all.

  1. Independence Blog #1 image 3

“To find yourself, think for yourself” -Socrates

When I got to college freshman year, I expected that by this time now I would be a little more in tune with myself and little more independent. I would be paying my own bills and buying my own groceries. Unfortunately, I still feel as though I’m riding on the coattails of others, receiving, and never giving. Even during college, I’ve always had the option, and the luxury, of being able to go home when there was trouble. 

This time it’s different, however. Even though technology has come so far and I can now easily video chat with my friends and family from anywhere (while simultaneously looking at cat memes), the fact of the matter is I won’t be able to see them for a long time. And while this does make me extremely sad, maybe there is a silver lining in this dingy ol’ storm cloud.

I have the opportunity to find myself and to not only be physically independent, but emotionally and financially independent as well, and I’m not about to waste it.

It’s exciting and downright scary but I plan to make the most of it. Stay tuned, reader, to see where this goes!

Hello everybody! My name is Jayde Glaser and I'm about to go on an adventure of a lifetime and I want to share it all with you. This August I'm trading in my life in the United States for a brand new one in South Korea. It's going to be a whole new world with a new job, new language, new culture, new food, and new friends and I'm going to tell you all about it. Stick around every week where I will share articles, pictures, and videos full of opinions, advice, experiences, and much more.
Stay tuned!

Teacher Spotlight: Clarissa Brucato

Clarissa korea

Meet Clarissa from Teach Abroad South Korea! Check out what he has to say about living and working as a teaching assistant in South Korea for the past two years!

Where are you from?

I’m from Cincinnati Ohio!

What was it like to work at your school?

My school was located in the countryside of Gwangju, Gyeonggi so it was not as big as schools in Seoul or other large cities. I was the only foreign teacher at my school so I taught third to sixth grade, averaging around 200 students each year. My students were very eager to learn from a foreign teacher since they rarely ever saw a foreigner in their small country town. What I loved about teaching at my small school, which was surrounded by rice paddies, was the excitement they brought to the classroom. Every single day students would come up to me and ask questions about my life in America because they were truly fascinated. Of course they saw certain things about America on TV but to actually hear from a real American and see real pictures from my hometown and places in America made them so happy!

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Why did you decide to teach abroad?

My father was a high school teacher for over 30 years and my mother has been a yoga teacher for over 10 years. Growing up around two people who loved to teach and learn, really guided me towards an Elementary Education degree. While I knew I definitely wanted to teach, I didn't want to teach in America - at least not right away. In high school I met an exchange student from Seoul which is when my curiosity and fascination with the country began. In college I took two semesters of Korean and learned so much from my professor and Korean exchange students I met during my five years at university. Eventually I traveled with a friend to Korea in 2015 to make sure it was truly where I wanted to live and fulfill my life goal of teaching abroad. I'm happy to say that at 25 years old, I accomplished my goal of teaching English in South Korea!

What was your favorite place in South Korea?

To say I am inspired by my parents is quite the understatement! They are both Buddhist so when I lived in Korea I traveled to numerous Buddhist temples all over the country. One of my favorite places in South Korea is definitely Jogyesa Buddhist Temple in Seoul. While it is surrounded by the bustling city that seems to never sleep, it remains a quaint, peaceful place. The gardens are beautiful with multiple flowers and plants leading up to the temple. While perusing the gardens you can hear Buddhist monks chanting in the background, really creating a unique atmosphere in a busy city like Seoul. My parents visited me during my first year in Korea and were able to experience the beauty of Jogyesa. While I love its beauty and spirituality, the memory of sharing it with my parents makes it one of my favorite places. Even if you are not Buddhist, you can still enjoy the intricate details of the buildings and the giant, gold Buddha statues. There is no place in Seoul quite like it!

18447678_1192327184228543_4996677791332340243_nWhat is the funniest thing a student said while you were teaching?

It's almost impossible to choose the funniest thing a student has ever said to me since I taught in Korea for two years! But if I have to pick one it would have to be when my students were playing Guess Who to learn about physical features. One of my sixth grade girls was really into the game and asked me, "What is black cheek hair in English?" It was so funny to me because she used what English she knew from the chapter and was so determined to win Guess Who!

What was the biggest challenge of teaching and living abroad?

The biggest challenge of teaching and living abroad would be communication. Sometimes you feel very vulnerable when you haven't fully mastered the language of the country you're living in which creates some uncomfortable or unfortunate situations. However, in South Korea at least, the majority of Koreans know basic English so sometimes if you speak in short, simple sentences they can help you. What I learned from what I think is the biggest challenge, was that I can't take English for granted. Yes, almost every country knows at least some English but that doesn't mean I should only speak English. It encouraged me to learn more Korean and study every single day, building on the two semesters of Korean I took in college. Sometimes there's an English word that doesn't fully capture my feelings so I switch to Korean! It's been a great learning experience from some frustrating situations.

What will you miss the most about teaching abroad?

As a teacher you are constantly learning. Every day in the classroom I would teach my students but I would also learn from them. They opened my eyes to a different culture and a different way of living. Even though I studied and learned about South Korea back in America, it was so enlightening to learn about the country and culture in my own classroom in South Korea. Every day you see something you never thought you'd be able to see in real life. You notice things you would never notice back home. It really opens your eyes. While you can have those eye-opening experiences from reading, watching, or looking at pictures of other countries and cultures, it's so inspiring to be able to experience those things you'd never experience, see those things you thought you'd never see with your own eyes, and do those things you never thought you'd get to do. I never thought I'd be able to visit five Buddhist temples in Asia. I never thought I'd be able to cruise down the Han River with new friends I made. I never thought I'd be able to hike to the top of a mountain in Jeju Island to be among the clouds and stars. So many wonderful things happened while I taught English abroad and I will miss every single minute of it.

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How did teaching abroad influence your career and life path?

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and I always knew I wanted to teach abroad. However, now that my time has ended, I realized that I still want to work in a field that has to do with different cultures and languages. I would love to work at a university, much like the one I graduated from in 2015, and inspire students to travel abroad and teach abroad. While I was a student, no one told me about the opportunities available to teach in other countries. It was all about teaching in Kentucky or Ohio. I would love to help others teach abroad and I would love to share my opportunity with others, either working in an international office at a university or at a place much like CIEE!

Teacher Spotlight: Brooke Laven

Brooke with header

Meet Brooke from Teach Abroad South Korea 2016-2017! Check out what he has to say about living and working as a teaching assistant in Sunchang, South Korea:

Where are you from?

I’m from Minnesota!

What was it like to work at your school?

I teach at five schools: two elementary, two middle, and one high school. I have a wide variety of students, but my favorite thing about working at all of my schools is all the fun activities we get to do in place of class every now and then!

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Why did you decide to teach abroad?

I wanted to learn about and experience the rest of the world outside of my hometown and home country. Yes, I've certainly begun to accomplish them!

Did you get TEFL Certified before teaching abroad? How did it help you?

Yes, it taught me how to be prepared for getting in the classroom in real life.

What was your favorite place in South Korea?

There is a mountain half-a-mile down the street from my apartment, and my favorite place is in the pagoda on top of it.


What is the funniest thing a student said while you were teaching?

I've had my students write stories and comic books, and those have definitely been the funniest things my students have said in English!

What was the biggest challenge of teaching and living abroad?

The biggest challenge of teaching and living abroad is the language barrier, but I've become a much more adaptable person due to the situations that I've faced dealing with the language barrier.

What will you miss the most about teaching abroad?

The excitement of something new every day.

How did teaching abroad influence your career and life path?

I've learned how to be adaptable to almost any situation.


My Apartment as an EPIK Teacher in South Korea

As a teacher in South Korea, you actually get a furnished 1 bedroom apartment (for free) as part of your contract! Sweet deal! Let me take you on a tour of mine. 


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