Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in Korea can be a rewarding and exciting experience, but it can also be challenging for new teachers. Here are some helpful tips for newbie ESL teachers in Korea:

1) Be open-minded. It is important to remember that you are not only moving Korea to teach English, but also living in a country that is completely different from your own. Do not expect things to be the same as home, because they will not be. Bring an open mind and you will adjust faster.

2) Prepare. You need to realize that you are not going to find all of the comforts of home, so you will have to be ready to adjust. When you get to Korea, look for stores that carry the foods you are looking for; even something as simple as finding the cereal that you like will make you feel a little closer to home while you are in your adjustment phase.

3) Enjoy a simpler life. There will only be a certain number of channels on TV that will be in English, so if you are a big TV watcher, you will have to find other ways to spend your time. Explore your new city, and find things that will occupy you in your free time.

4) Try to meet as many people as possible. Meeting new people and creating friendships is one of the best benefits that teaching abroad can offer, so take advantage of it. Everyone you meet will be doing the same thing as you, so you will have that in common. It is also important not to be too quick to judge people when you first meet them; you will find that some of your new friends will be very different from the people you usually hang out with back home, but this is a good thing.

Networking with other English teachers and local expats can be a great way to get acclimated to the country, find housing and job opportunities, and gain valuable advice and support.

5) Don’t be too judgemental. You will inevitably notice things that Koreans will do things that will not make sense to you whatsoever; don’t hold this against them but try and understand the reasoning behind it. You don’t have to agree, but understanding is better than being annoyed.

6) Stay as long as you can. Most people plan their return home before they even leave to teach English in Korea. While this is a natural thing to do, don’t limit yourself to a deadline. You have no idea what is in store for you, so the best advice is to go with the flow and see where the journey takes you.

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