Teaching in Daejeon South Korea During COVID19
Teaching in Daejeon, South Korea During COVID-19
Is it possible to teach in South Korea right now during COVID-19?
Yes, it is! Reach To Teach has been running a special series of interviews with Reach To Teach teachers who arrived in Asia in January and February, just as the pandemic hit. We’d like you to know what their experiences have been like.
To learn more about teaching in Daejeon, South Korea During COVID-19, check out Teacher Taylors’s interview.
RTT: Please tell us a little about yourself. I feel like I got to know you so well during the interview process with Reach To Teach, but I know our readers would love to learn more about you.
TS: I’m 26 years old from Atlanta, Georgia. I love exploring and eating new foods. I traveled all around Europe as a baby, but sadly I have no memory of it. Since then, I have not traveled outside the US. I’ve always had an interest in East Asia, and I’ve been really enjoying Korean culture.
RTT: What advice can you give to new teachers interested in teaching in South Korea?
TS: Be flexible and open minded. With all the stuff going around in the world (Covid-19), it’s imperative that you can roll with the punches.
It took a while for schools to figure out how they wanted to conduct online classes. So there were last minute changes. Just do your best, and have fun. Schools are going to open back up soon, so you shouldn’t have any issues. But being flexible is definitely an important trait to have.
Also, if you haven’t already, learn Hangul. There is a lot of Konglish words. And you will find it helpful. Words like taxi, bus, pizza and coffee, are the same in English and Korean.
RTT: What are some positive aspects of living in South Korea?
TS: Almost everyone is very friendly and respectful, they try to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. They treat you like a family member. I’ve had several older people give me masks and food just because they want me to stay healthy. My landlord, restaurant owners, taxi drivers, and fellow public transport riders, are just a few examples.
Also everything is also easily accessible and affordable. It is really easy to live a comfortable life here and be financially stable. I’ve already saved money.
RTT: How do you think South is handling the COVID-19 pandemic?
TS: I think they are doing an excellent job.
The government is very cautious and provides free testing and free treatment to those who get the virus. Hand sanitizer is provided in every public building. And they notify you anytime someone gets the virus and the area they were in.
They sanitize public areas regularly and some places even have booths that will sanitize your whole body! You just walk in and stand for 90 seconds. Also lots of places won’t let you in if you don’t have a mask on. They also temperature check you and in smaller places they will require you to put your name, address, phone number, and birthday.
Just in case someone sick comes in, that way they can contact you and tell you to get tested.
RTT: You arrived just before the outbreak hit? Do you feel safe here? Any extra advice for teachers during these uncertain times?
I feel very safe here in Daejeon. Korea has one of the highest recovery rates in the world. And lately has had very low amount of new cases throughout the whole country. No one is scared here, they are just living their lives like normal taking the necessary precautions to stay safe.
If possible please make sure to stock up on masks. It will take a while to get your ARC (2 weeks to a month). And you need it to buy masks at the pharmacy (you can only buy 2 per week). If you can’t get masks at home, don’t worry!
In Incheon and Seoul they don’t require you to have an ARC and you can buy as many as you want. The only downside is that they are more expensive. I recommend going to a Red Eye (an accessory store in most train stations) or window shopping in Seoul to find the best prices for masks. At the time of writing this, a box of 50 masks should cost you between 24,000 to 39,000 won. And sometimes they have buy one get one free.
Thanks so much for your time today, Taylor! We really appreciate your time and and have enjoyed learning more about your experience teaching with EPIK in South Korea. We hope you enjoy the rest of your year in Korea!