Korea is for many who live here a unique experience and differs for each individual. There are however, some similarities for many who live in Korea a year or more. Some will take to it like a duck to water, while others will be totally unable to accept this strange new place and get on the next plane back home. Most do experience 3 similar stages within the first few months.
Upon first arriving one can feel a fresh new and exciting experience of a new country and culture. It is extremely interesting and fresh. Like coming from a daily routine and the very familiar back home to this new and somewhat opposite way of life. A new language, food, morals and values as well as new job await the first time teacher of English as a second language in Korea. There maybe a 1000 small things done differently, and in this case we see a person usually moving into the second stage of being in Korea; the oh no, what am I doing here, I don’t know if this is for me.
The honey moon phase being over and the second, more eye opening experience begins, as you realize you may have to do some real work, and that living in a new and different culture and society and country may not be as easy as you thought. Things will be done differently, not necessarily bad, just different. Some may complain and become nasty and negative, always comparing back home. Perhaps you may forget the reasons why you came to Korea, adventure, save money, see the world or to meet the love of your life, or all of these. One can continue on and grow more and more bitter and even get on a plane, or accept this new place and take it for what it is.
This third stage is how most who stay a year or longer, several years, adapt to living in Korea and accept their new surroundings and environment. This can become a placid and positive way of life, of travel, meeting interesting people, a fairly laid back ESL job and free rent, lots of great food, relaxing in a café and night life. Hiking some of the numerous mountains and visiting a tranquil temple and getting to see the spiritual side of Korea helps one enjoy Korea. Koreans can be very open and friendly, curious to meet the foreigner. Some get married to a local Korean, upon local parent’s acceptance. Some of these people live and even raise children in Korea and return home later with a new family, and others marry back home.
Assimilation into Korean culture does happen but is more or less rare, as most keep their culture and perhaps a partial assimilation. Like little Korean town in the west. Some learn the local language. Even many who marry Korean do not become proficient in the language. If you decide to live in Korea a year or even just a short visit, relax and enjoy it all as it comes. Enjoy the food, folk villages, local people, art and museums and accept the differences without trying to change them. Most likely we cannot change much at all, except ourselves from within. This perhaps the real struggle in life, from within.
http://www.domscafe.com Your ESL resource site, information on living and teaching English as a second language abroad and ESL jobs.