Before joining the XploreAsia staff as the South Korea Program Manager, Sabina Qader was a teaching in South Korea, in a province called Bullo Dong. Recently, Sabina was able to clear her demanding schedule and sit down with us to shed some light on what it is like to live in South Korea. Sabina shares some insight on the culture of Korea, her experience as a teacher, and her hobbies during her downtime.
What inspired you to make the decision to teach in South Korea?
I wasn’t using my teaching qualifications in Australia, so I wanted to get back into the classroom. Teaching in South Korea gave me the opportunity to revitalize my teaching skills and experience a new culture at the same time.
What are some of the challenges you experienced teaching in South Korea?
The main challenge that I experienced while living in South Korea was shifting my mind into the Korean way of doing things. Koreans have a very intense work ethic about the way that they do things. Initially, it can seem intimidating and overly-disciplined. But the more that I immersed myself into the culture, I gained a huge respect for the discipline the Koreans executed on their daily lives.
What were your accommodations like?
I had a lovely one bedroom apartment in Bullo Dong, Daegu. Main furniture and appliances were included. It was only a ten minute walk away from my school and a 15 minute bus ride from the nearest train station, which made it easy to travel through South Korea.
What did you do in your spare time?
To recharge, I would walk around the lake after work and on weekends, go hiking some weekends, and climb the ancient tombs two minutes from my house. I would often sit in one of Korea’s numerous cafes, reading and occasionally glancing up to watch the world go past. Dinner and drinks with my friends who taught at nearby schools on weekends became a fun ritual. There was also the occasional swing dance lesson and travel to different provinces around South Korea.
What was the most fulfilling part of your experience?
Teaching those gorgeous children who would always take the time to run across the playground and say hi. I miss the daily hugs! Meeting the lovely Korean teachers I worked with was also a fulfilling experience. I am still in touch with them, they are such wonderful people. I always felt very well taken care of.
What did you like most about South Korean culture?
It’s a very communal culture, family is so important to Koreans. This is what makes the separation from North Korea even more heartbreaking. Koreans also truly value education.
If you had to make a recommendation to someone considering teaching in South Korea, what would it be?
Don’t hesitate! Come live in South Korea. You get paid really well to do a fun job!
Get in touch to begin your adventure teaching in South Korea