Recently I had one of the best experiences of my life by attending a MasterClass at Oxford University. A class for teachers to learn how to be better teachers. I was literally charged and looking forward to looking for new teaching opportunities on my return back to the states. But this isn’t solely about my time at Oxford. This is about how I didn’t count the wins I was accumulating to the final goal.
Like all trips abroad getting to Oxford was a journey, a slightly expensive one and honestly I didn’t know how I would pay for it. Most people fear that they can’t do things financially and that stops them from actually trying to achieve something. I was in a similar situation. I chose to apply for the Oxford Teacher’s Academy (OTA) Masterclass even though, at the time, I had no method of paying for it. I have spent the last few years teaching abroad.I figured my experiences would help me qualify.
I got accepted to the class. Through a collaborative effort of family, friends and myself I...
Its time to get back in the saddle and earn a living now that I am back in the States. However, since I still want to see the world and experience other cultures I was fortunate enough to retain my job from before I moved to Korea as an English Teacher. This time, however, I am fortunate enough to teach adults.
The beauty of teaching adults is that they come with all of this cultural experience and knowledge and are usually willing to share it with you. Thanks to this opportunity, in the brief two months I’ve been working as a teacher I have learned a little more about Venezuela, Bangladesh, the Ukraine, Thailand and many other countries. It is almost like I am living vicariously through my students.
In addition to learning about their culture I get to see how they feel about American culture. I’ve learned that the process for getting a work visa is extremely arduous and is somewhat of a gamble for foreigners. This means they are forced to stay in the country on a student visa until th...
A year has gone by since I started my journey in Korea and the chapter has come to a close.
It has been an amazing year and I have had a lot of great experiences. South Korea is a great country and I have met a lot of great people. The beauty of traveling abroad is that you get to do everything you did in the states and even discover some new things.
I had a trading card game hobby back in the states:
And I found that hobby in South Korea. What’s even better is that I made a bunch of new friends while keeping up my hobby:
I discovered the world of crossfit and getting in shape:
In my journey of crossfit I made new friends that I have bonded with and shared a lot of great experiences:
I’ve gotten to work with some amazing people and some amazing kids:
Traveling the world gave me wonderful opportunities and shown me things I have never seen before and it reaffirms the fact that I made the right decision and going abroad. Once again I encourage everyone to do the same thing and s...
It’s the end of the first month of 2017 and while it may start off rocky withAmerica’s political decisions its important to realize that there is still good in the world. I have been fortunate to find to make many new friends here in Korea doing the thing I love most…eating healthy and working out!
I had developed a good routine in the States.My hopes were that in Korea that I would be able to simply catch the lightning in the bottle, do the same thing I did in America and have the same results. I was wrong. I quickly got bored and I found my Korean apartment to confining to actually do my CD workout program.
Then I discovered the world of CrossFit! Crossfit, a new exercise craze that is sweeping the world. Well, its not that new, but its new to me. I found a crossfit gym here called KB’s Badass Gym.
But more than just weight loss I discovered a new group of friends that I have come to call my #crossfitfam!
I’ve had the pleasure to meet some brilliant men and women who are extremely phy...
It has been almost 10 months since I started this particular faithful journey on the CIEE teach abroad program and I got to experience one of my new favorite events. This was my kids having getting ready for their great talent show!
For the past month and a half my school life has been leading up to one event. A magical talent show where we had to have the children perform dances, give speeches and sing songs. Normally the Korean teachers are supposed to teach the kids a dance, but of course I ,who has seen the entire series of Glee, am too much of a showman to let that happen. Therefore I took command of my 8 boys and had them practice a dance to the popular song “Kungfu Fighting."
So the day finally came and it was time to hit the stage and I can’t express how happy I was. These little boys had been practicing and it was finally show time. They had the most grand costumes and they were so ready to get on the stage and show all of their parents everything they have got!
My Mommy came to visit! And while she was here she reminded me about a very important aspect of traveling… Just do it! While she was here we did so many things I had planned, but we actually did so much more because when a new opportunity came up we just said “yes” and we did it.
For two weeks, she stayed with me.My Mom brings a portable air mattress on legs to sleep on.My apartment is smaller than her living room, but we treat it like a camping trip. We climbed a mountain and went to palaces and museums.She came to my school, sat in a class, met my fellow teachers and students and went out with us to eat on a Friday night.I went to work everyday and she made her way around the community by just smiling and nodding when making a purchase.The shop clerks in the neighborhood came to understand that she was my Mom.
But we had even more amazing adventures.The first example is my mother helped me discover a new attraction in Korea called the Namsan Seoul Tower. It started with my taking my mo...
Not to long ago I had the great opportunity to travel to Tokyo, Japan. I got to go to one of my all time bucket list places and it is something I definitely intend to do again. There are three things I took great note of: my new friends, colleagues and the phenomenon of Pokemon Go!
The coins: One thing I found a little unnerving was how expensive it actually is to live in Japan. I remember I had a brought over roughly $300 there at the start of my journey. This roughly translated to 23,000 yen and given that half of that was going to my stay at a hostel I figured I could make it through the week on $150 dollars. So this left me with one 10,000 yen note and some smaller notes. The fault was that in my mind I treated that 10,000 yen note as a 10 dollar bill. Sure I was careful how I broke it down, but what I didn’t realize till much later was that 10,000 yen is roughly $95. I spent almost a hundred dollars in a day.
Yes, I understand this could easily be written off as I’m bad with money...
Stress is real. Stress kills. And stress can be overwhelming when you are on your own in a foreign land and you don’t know how to cope with a completely different culture. Throughout my Journey in Korea and Japan I have found two places that are the perfect places to chill out and relax. They might not be for everybody, but I would feel guilty if I didn’t share the experience.
Korean Jimjilbangs :
A Jimjilbeng is a Korean Day Spa that has both a “wet area” and a “dry area.” The wet area is separated by gender most likely due to the fact that it is a completely nude environment. The wet areas are typically home to at LEAST three varying temperatures of hot-tubs, wall to wall showers, and three different “rooms.” These rooms are sort of mini saunas that allow to sweat out all of your worries. While in my experience the rooms vary from Jimjilbang to Jimjilbang there has been a consistent trend of one sauna lined with salt crystals on the walls, one of intense dr...
When you’re traveling and you’re on a budget I recommend that you stay at a Hostel! Hostels are somewhat like small dormitories for foreigners to have a pit stop in during their travels. They don't have all of the opulent accommodations of bigger hotel chains. The price is a huge plus. A typical night in a hotel can cost you easily upward of $100 a night, but a hostel space, in a room with eight other people can start at $9 a night! And while you may think that cheaper isn’t better in my experience the cheaper option was definitely a better option.
My first experience in a hostel was when I was in my first teaching job in Daqing City, China. There I had spent almost every dime of my money on bills. American bills, that is, because in China there aren't so many ancillary costs of living… anywho ending rant now (lol), but I still wanted to go to Beijing for my vacation. My friends were going to Madagascar or something and I definitely didn’t have the funds for that. But I definitel...
Every adventure starts with the first step and for two of my three journeys abroad my first step was with a great organization known as CIEE.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: This may sound like a total plug for this organization. It’s not. I’ve just repeated this story so many times, I decided to blog about it. I constantly encourage my peers to travel and experience this world. This is how I’m doing it.
CIEE: The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is an organization that helps bring countries together through study abroad and teach abroad programs. I have participated in their Teach in China program and am currently participating in their Teach in Korea program. From start to finish the CIEE staff helps you and guides you through every step of the process.
It starts while you are home and you decide to go. CIEE provides you with a variety of options that allows you to participate around the globe. CIEE is very great with constantly dealing wi...