I’m in Korea!

Wow, what a craaazy week it has been! There is already so much to process and so much to tell and so much to do! I promised myself I would do my best to take the time and blog before I forget the small details.

The day I flew out to South Korea was a loooong day. I pulled an all-nighter and had a 6 hour layover in San Francisco with my brosky to see him one last time before I left.

Adam in Daly CityThe flight was alright, my friend Mallory and I sat next to each other (she’s my new friend I pre-met via facebook and texting). We got along really well and it was nice to have someone going through the same thing with me. We only broke down one time, and it was towards the end of the flight after we had both pulled all-nighters and had an exhausting day of traveling… so I think we did good. We also met a friendly Korean-American who sat next to us who will be living in Seoul for the next 8 months…. starting to feel like I know so many people in Korea already! haha. We had some drinks and snacks together… and it’s true what people say, Singapore Airlines is the bomb! Such friendly staff, free snacks, free drinks, free warm towels, a special bag with socks, a toothbrush, and the cutest, tiniest little toothpaste tube I’ve ever seen.

When we landed we met up with a few other people we had been communicating with via facebook and then went to our hostel where we spent the night before meeting the EPIK team at the airport the following morning.

So! The next morning I found out my placement… very nerve-wracking and exciting! I’ve been placed in a tiny fisherman type countryside town called Geojin (pronounced Koh-jin but the J is like J+Ch at the same time – try it). My county is called Goseong and my province is Gangwon-do, for those of you who forgot, the country is South Korea.

Gangwon-do is the province, and there’s my little town way up in the corner by the North Korea border. I’ve been told I’m very safe here though and that if North Korea decided to invade it will be from the West, so it’s all good. I’ve already been told not to accidentally cross the border by my mother several times. Thanks Ima! I will be safe :-p

I was very excited to hear that I got Elementary School! I will be teaching at a school walking distance from my house… and then 2 other schools that I’m not 100% sure where they’re at yet, but I know I will have quite a bus ride. Oh well, I will enjoy the beautiful mountain views on my way to school.

So off they sent me to my little town, nearly a four hour bus ride away. At the beginning I was excited and looked like this:

Then after lots and lots of scenic view and mountains and having to pee and not sure who I’m meeting at the bus stop or what my apartment will look like or what my co-workers and students will be like, and why the airplane, and airport, and now the bus are so hot and I’m sweating an I’m not a sweater usually… I looked like this:

Oh yeah, here’s some of the view… it doesn’t really do it justice, but basically lush green mountains with bodies of water (ocean and rivers mostly) the whole ride. Amazing, and quite a change of scenery coming from LA.

Fiiiinally I arrived in Gangneung and was greeted by a very nice woman holding this sign:

Woo, I feel so special! Usually your co-teacher picks you up, but mine had an important event he needed to be present for at the school so instead Yuni picked me up (pronounced You-nee). Then I found out we’re still an hour and a half away from Geojin, the ride is not over! It gave us an opportunity to chat though, which was nice. We share an office, she’s extremely friendly and I enjoy her company. I told her that I’m interested in pottery and wheel throwing and she said there’s a place not far from our town and she’s interested as well – she will take me and we will take a class together.

I will spare you the details of my apartment as I am planning on taking a video of it once I am more moved in and settled and it looks nice and pretty. It’s fairly empty so I’ve been having to buy a lot of things, but it’s more spacious than I expected, so a nice surprise.

That night I met my neighbors Dana and Bernard. Dana has been an English teacher for 5 years and Bernard is finishing his 3rd year I believe. They are both very friendly and took me out to dinner for my first night here, as well as a walk around our town which took no less than 15 minutes, haha. I haven’t been to the beach yet though, and apparently our area is famous for having nice beaches and it gets very crowded in the summer.

One of my neighbors!

My human neighbor, Dana, and one of the adorable puppies of my dog neighbor.

First authentic Korean meal!

I’ve asked around about how the food is in Geojin, and most Koreans say it’s just okay… I must admit I am a bit snobby when it comes to food and I’ve been luck to try some amazing Korean food living in LA (especially the food in Koreatown!). So far the food that I’ve eaten at my school for lunch is the best… so I’m excited to go into the neighboring towns/cities which apparently have better selection and more delicious food to offer!

Alright, I’m heading out to meet some people in Sokcho (closest big town/small city?) and then on Saturday or Sunday I will be heading to Seoul to meet-up with some people and we’ll stay there for a few days. It’s currently a holiday called Chuseok, which is basically like the Korean Thanksgiving, from what I understand … so it’s a long weekend. There is much more to update on, but I must get ready.

I will tell you about my awesome co-teacher and show you my apartment next time!

Peace Out! 





About mshahar6

I'm 25 years old, graduated from UCSB with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education and Applied Psychology. I was working as a Behavior Interventionist for the last 4 years and decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone and teach English in South Korea for a year! I thought it'd be fun to document my experience, travels, growth, and keep my friends and family in the loop with this blog. Who know where this adventure may lead me?
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11 Responses to I’m in Korea!

  1. Az Gor says:

    You tell the story optimistic alive and you can feel the atmosphere of the place and Korea

  2. Monica says:

    I loved this post. You are sticking to the plan… meeting new friends and saying, “Yes”. When is your first day of school? The children will love you!

    • mshahar6 says:

      haha, I’ve said yes so much I haven’t unpacked yet! I’ve been to my school a couple of times, but I won’t be teaching for a couple of weeks. Going to observe for a couple of weeks first! :) How’s everything with you and the girls and CDA? Shoot me an e-mail when you get the chance!

  3. Jessie F says:

    So excited for you Maya!!! My brother told me about Chuseok, lol. So funny. I hope you’re having a great time so far!! Take lots of pics and keep us posted!!!!!!!

  4. Jenna says:

    YAY Maya! Your post is great! I’m so happy you made it to Korea safely! I’m glad your enjoying yourself before school starts. Remember to always say “Yes” to everything! :) I miss you and can’t wait for your next post.

  5. hili says:

    iam soooooo happy that you are enjoying…you are going to have a great year!kol hakavod!!write me to my email..kisses and hugs..proud of you!

  6. Az Gor says:

    dear maya
    happy birthday&shana tova
    שנה טובה מתוקה ויום הולדת שמח!
    Harbe הרבהsimhha שימחה
    הרבה hahava אהבה
    הרבה hatzlahaהצלחה
    love you very much
    neshikot ve hibukim
    miss you muchos savtasaba

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maya! I finally had a chance to read your blogs and i love them! It’s so crazy that you are actually in S. Korea! Just don’t fall in love with it and end up living there because we need you back in California! WE miss you and I hope you continue to have a blast while you are there! :)


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