How To Overcome Homesickness When Teaching in Korea

Want to know how to overcome homesickness when teaching in Korea? A lot of people who go to Korea to teach English have been abroad before, possibly to Europe or perhaps on a quick trip to Mexico or somewhere hot.

However, there is a very large difference  between chilling out on a beach for a week when compared to moving to Korea for an entire year. Sound daunting? It shouldn’t! In years to come, you will look back at this time and remember it favorably. However, when you first arrive in Korea, you will go through a period of adjustment and may become a bit homesick.

Here are 5 tips on how to overcome homesickness when teaching in Korea that you can use when teaching and living in Korea.

1) Prepare for your 1st week  in Korea: Know that your first week will be an a period of adjustment. You are going to a new country where they speak a different language, eat different food and have an entirely different culture! Get yourself mentally prepared for this so that your transition is easier. Understand too, that you will have to get used to a new time zone, while getting over your jet lag, and getting used to a new job. As all of this is coming at you in your first week in Korea, it is understandable that homesickness may come into play.

2) Schedule times to reach family and friends back home: If you do have a bad day or two in your first few weeks in Korea, it is natural to want to reach out to your family or friends back home. However, you need to be aware that they will be in a different time zone and will likely be working while you are sleeping and sleeping while you are at work. In times that you are feeling the doldrums, you’ll want to hear a friendly voice, so make sure you plan ahead so that you are able to reach who you want to for some words of encouragement.

3) Make friends with your co-workers: While you may not always make lifetime friends at your workplace, you do share a lot in common with your western co-workers in Korea as they went through the same transitions and adjustments that you are going through. Share your feelings with them and allow them to share their experiences with you for some insight on how to overcome feelings of homesickness when teaching in Korea.

4) Learn how to speak Korean when teaching in Korea: While learning Korean may not be on your top priorities list, you should at the very least learn how to speak enough of the Korean language so that you can interact with local Koreans, making your life a whole lot easier. It is difficult to get over homesickness when no one can understand a word you are saying!

5) Stop calling home: In direct contrast to tip #3 on how to overcome homesickness when teaching in Korea, sometimes being ‘too connected’ is a bad thing. If you are going home from school every day and spending hours on the phone with your mom, you will not enjoy your time in Korea. Remember why you are there in the first place – accept what is and enjoy the challenges that will come your way. Once you have made it through the homesickness stage, you will move forward with enjoying your life in Korea.

For more information on teaching English in Korea, and ESL teaching jobs in Korea, keep up with our Travel and Teach Recruiting Blog.

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