RTT Teachers: Lisa Vinish
When I ponder the fact that I’ve been in Korea for almost 5 months, I almost cannot believe it. The time has gone by so fast, yet at the same time, I’m so comfortable that it sometimes feels like I’ve been here 5 years. It’s a paradox.
I teach middle school in Busan, Korea. I was initially expecting elementary school, and had my heart set on that age group, so when I found out I’d be teaching middle school I almost had a panic attack. However, five months into my job I’m SO eternally grateful I was given my last (yes, last) choice. I love my students. They are at the top of my ever-growing list of “things I will miss when I leave Korea”. Though it’s not perfect and there are times I get incredibly frustrated, I really don’t think I could have been handed a better job.
I arrived in Busan at the end of August. It was hot, humid, and crowded. My apartment was the size of a shoebox and I didn’t know how I would ever get used to it. I was also afraid to use anything in my apartment, including washing machine, microwave, and television, since all the buttons looked the same and were labelled in Korean. I was terrified of taking the bus to school, grocery shopping, clothes shopping, eating in restaurants, and pretty much every day-to-day thing you never think twice about in your own country.
I’m now happy to report that I love my shoebox apartment. It feels like home. I still don’t know how to work my washing machine and microwave. I wing it every time, but it works. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through my experience so far is that a positive attitude goes a long way. I think it’s easy to get down and feel isolated when you’re living in a foreign country, even if there are other foreigners around, however through befriending Koreans and spending a lot of time with them, I’ve come to realize that we are more alike than not. Knowing that has made the adjustment process that much easier and actually enjoyable.
There is so much to do in Busan, and I have to admit I still love being a tourist. There is always a random samgyupsal restaurant to try, or a noraebang open. I volunteer a lot on the weekends and I’m a bit obsessed with studying Korean. There’s never a reason to be bored here. I enjoy every ounce of spare time I’m given, but I don’t live for it; I truly look forward to going to my job every day. I can honestly say that moving to Korea is the best impulsive decision I’ve ever made.