Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

A Much Needed Update


As my Grandma so aptly put it, I am no longer in Asia and this url is incorrect and needs to be updated. I’ve been out of Asia for almost a month now. After a hideous lead-up to a not-so-bad flight (problems with weather, problems with check-in, problems with immigration, delayed flight, missing my connection, taking a new flight — not so bad food, movies, lovely service, no one in my row) I made it to America at 2 in the morning on Wednesday, August 7th.

The days leading up to my flight were a veritable maelstrom of activity. I packed, I cried, I packed, I cried, I hauled my stuff across the country, I taught at a camp, and then two days of nothing. I hung out in Seoul, watched movies, got my hair cut, closed my phone account, then went to the airport.

Now I’m back and it’s strange. I went from the rigidity of a high school schedule, to the intense rigidity of camp, to this. I feel… like I’ve lost my purpose. I have no job, I have no apartment, and many of my friends are still in Korea or are scattered across the globe. Instead of having a year-long contract, I have… nothing. I could get a job and quit in three weeks, or I could get a job and keep it forever. I could live in Virginia forever, if I wanted to. I could move across the country. I could go back to Korea. There are so many possibilities, I feel choked by it all. In coming back to America, I feel like I’ve taken a few steps backwards, though I know that this is a necessary stage in my life. Who would’ve thought I would have stayed in Korea for so long – certainly I didn’t at the start of this all! Who knows what direction my life will take this year.

Though I’ve enjoyed keeping this blog, there’s no place for it anymore. This blog recounted my adventures in Korea, but more importantly my time at school and my time with my students. I don’t plan on deleting it, but I won’t write in it anymore. If you want to keep up with my adventures, you can follow me at http://emafterasia.tumblr.com/. Also, I’ll at UMW on Thursday, September 5th participating in the Life After Study Abroad Seminar hosted by the Center for International Education. It’ll be from 6 to 7 pm in Lee Hall.

Thank you for reading.



“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

posted under School
One Comment to

“A Much Needed Update”

  1. Avatar August 31st, 2013 at 8:36 am Amy Iversen Says:

    Welcome back, Em! I empathize with your situation (having my own son go through some similar adjustments upon his return to the US). I want to thank you for your diligence in keeping this blog going. It made me laugh, cry, reflect, and think. A bundle of emotions and I’m really appreciative that you were able to share your life experiences in this fashion. You are a gifted writer and, by your stories of teaching, a really dedicated teacher.

    You will find your way-I have no doubts. Be patient with your readjustments and yourself. Next week we drive Jake to Chicago to begin the next chapter of his life (law school at U of Chicago). It was a difficult decision for him, too. But he’s looking forward to it! You, too, will find your way. I’ll be looking forward to your next adventure(s), too.

    So take care of yourself! Warm regards from a very avid reader if your blog.

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안녕하세요! My name is Emily and when I started this blog I had received a 2010 – 2011 F*lbright grant to teach English in South Korea.  I then decided to apply to renew my grant, so I am now staying in Korea until July 2012. This blog is not an official F*lbright Program blog, and the views expressed are my own and not those of the F*lbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Philosophy Pre-Law and Classical Civilizations, and found myself 3 months later teaching English at SGHS. The town that I taught in, SG, is a small town of 12,000 people, an “읍” (eup) rather than a “시” (shi – city), and though it was sometimes hard teaching in such a small town I really enjoyed the unique experience of being the first foreign teacher SGHS had ever had. I lived in the largest part of the county which is significantly bigger (40,000 people) than the town the school is situated in, but is also considered rural by Korean standards.

During my second grant period (2011-2012) I decided to change schools and I currently teach at CPHS which is located in an even smaller town than previously, in Jeollanamdo.

This blog is meant to serve as a reflection not only of being a Native English Speaking teacher in Korea, but also of living as a foreigner in rural Korea.