Bridging The Gap Between At Home & Abroad
The confusion of having to tell your family and friends that you want to move to abroad is nerve-racking and requires plenty of advanced preparations. I informed co-workers and family I intended to study at a University in South Korea I experienced a myriad of questions. Because of the current political climate (Fall 2016) they didn’t understand why I wasn’t afraid to leave my familiar surroundings.
Unbearably, they would ask a whole host of questions. Some of the questions I had the answers too, and some of the questions I didn’t. I prepared myself for the usual questions when I first mentioned the plans that I enrolled in a Korean Language program in Seoul, South Korea.
Common questions included: Do you speak the language? How, are you going to live on your own if you can’t read the directional signs or menus in restaurants? Additional, questions included do you know anyone who lives in South Korea and where are you going to live?
For most expats or nomadic lifestyles who want to live abroad, teaching English is a viable resource. Two programs, for example, are the EPIK and TALK program. The program provides monthly income, housing, a group orientation (meet new friends), and assistance with completing the Visa requirements.
However, this was a question I always hated being asked; “Are you going to teach English?” My closest friends and family members don’t understand why I would want to leave a full-time job with medical and insurance benefits. The thought of taking time off to follow your passion for writing and traveling is a choice they believed I should live without experiencing.
When I listened to stories told by creative activist like Whoopi Goldberg, who went to live in Germany to perform improvisations. She talks about how much her eyes were opened because of her experiences, I know that I don’t want to have any regrets as well when I reach a mature age.
Just for the record, it’s not that I don’t like kids, my families, or anyone else’s. But, to answer the question if I ever want to teach, tutor or create lesson plans, the answer is, “No, I don’t!” Not now, not ever. I know my strengths and teaching is not one of them.
I believe people are called to teach, they are born with the patience, love, and understanding to mold young impressionable minds into future politicians, lawyers, and doctors. Those are the teachers that you remember years later as having changed your life.
Mrs. Lamb was that fifth-grade teacher for me, the only woman who sang an upbeat song as her introduction on the first day of school instead of writing her name on the chalkboard. If you’re not this kind of teacher, if you’re not the kind of teacher who stopped teaching to make an announcement on anti-bullying long before bullying ever became a campaign, then you don’t need to be a teacher. This is just my opinion and not a requirement to be a teacher although I believe that it should.
My rule of thumb has since become to inform friends and family of major life decisions after I’m absolutely sure what’s right for me. This way, their fears, and doubts will not leave me feeling unsure about my choices.
The reaction to informing family and friends of your plans to move abroad is a process that will be different for everyone. If you plan ahead and prepare answers to common questions not only will you alleviate fears that you’re rushing into a decision, but your discussion can go a little smoother.
Additionally, I want to share another resource I came across with researching about teaching programs (location flexible) is VIPKID. They provide access to teach anywhere in the world as long as you meet the program’s requirements.
Lastly, I want to share resources with anyone who doesn’t want to teach English but still desires to move abroad. Check out the Facebook group; Non-Teaching Job Seekers Korea.
Do you have an interesting story about informing friends and family of your move abroad? I would love to read your messages in the comments down below.
If you like this story check out American Misconceptions About Living In South Korea and Breaking Down Cultural Barriers In South Korea.