Lost in Korea: Teach in One Country, Get More For Cheap

Solo Travel, south korea, Working Abroad — By on January 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm

There are a few perks about teaching in Korea. Among my favorites are an apartment paid for by my school, low utility costs and meeting new people. But one of the more unexpected ones is the opportunity to travel during the school year.

You might be thinking that’s obvious. Almost everyone comes to Korea because they want to travel. However, at least for me, teaching here was the means to an end: put in my time for a year and save enough money to explore Asia for several months after my contract was up.

But since arriving, I’ve realized that if planned correctly, long weekends during the school year and the two one-week vacations my contract offers me are an awesome way to take advantage of my location.  It also provides the opportunity to visit places I hadn’t originally considered, just because I can.

For instance, after arriving in Korea in June, I discovered that our vacations are set by the school staff and that the next one was in August, just two months away. After a little Internet scouring, I discovered a cheap ticket to the Philippines, just a four-hour flight away.

The Philippines had never crossed my mind as a vacation destination but when an inexpensive flight beckons, I will follow. I ended up spending a week on the beautiful island of Boracay. Turns out it’s a hugely popular destination for English teachers working in Korea and I ended up meeting a ton of people I’ve kept in touch with since returning, including two of my closest friends here.

The benefits of being so close to so many interesting places can’t be overstated. A trip that would have taken almost a day in flying time alone is now doable in just a morning. Some of my friends have hit up Singapore or Japan for the weekend and, during the Lunar New Year long weekend coming up (another Asian perk!), I’m thinking of trekking down to Vietnam for a few days to meet up with some friends who are traveling.

So if you’re thinking of teaching abroad to travel afterward, remember that with some planning and a flexible mind, you can hit up locales you hadn’t even heard of quite cheaply. And trust me, the prospect of even a few days away helps keep your sanity intact when teaching!

Photo credit:  tonybpics,reinkim/flickr

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