Awo Fahal, English Teacher, Korea
I’m currently writing this from a trendy café in Seoul where you’ve got the option of bringing in your dog, poppin’ tunes, and comfy floor seating with pillows. Would I be able to find a spot like this back home? Hell no. This is Korea, a completely different world and I’m loving every second of it.
So why did I move from my comfy life in Canada where I was working an even more comfy job at a digital marketing firm. I get this question a lot and there’s a lot to unpack. A lot of us young people in our early twenties face hurdles whether it be maneuvering the awkward post-grad life, or coming into our own socially. Just like every other young person, I’ve faced my own challenges and took time to figure out some of my crap – we can’t have it all figured out.
I did my degree in Commerce and specialized in Marketing. I worked in two different marketing firms and did everything from event planning and graphic design to digital marketing and social media management. What I realized after working at two startups was I want my own someday. Although I don’t plan on ever doing “traditional” marketing, my time in school and my first couple of jobs taught me a lot about people and business; crucial lessons if you ask me. I’ve taken these lessons with me abroad.
So why Korea? I’ve always wanted to work abroad. It’s been a dream of mine to work in different settings and after months of research I settled on an opportunity in Seoul. I’m here teaching English to the most adorable seven year olds and take time after work and on the weekends to explore the city and country.
Leaving a stable job and everything that is familiar is not easy and it isn’t for everyone. I came to Korea with no contacts, or friends, and not speaking a word of the language (slowly working on this haha). After three months, I’m finally starting to feel settled in. I’ve gotten to know my coworkers, figured out my neighbourhood, the maze that is the Seoul subway system (the TTC is nothing compared to it), met some amazing people, and of course all the paperwork involved with living abroad. I plan on having a career in a global setting so this experience has helped improve my perspective. I’ve learned first hand how different people from other cultures can be but also the little things that unify us. I wanted to shock my system and see if I could land on my feet – and I have.
The last thing I want to say, is for anyone reading this (particularly women) who have wanted to do something for a while and keep pushing it back, ask yourself WHY then ask yourself what can you lose. Really evaluate the pros and cons of every decision and do what’s best for you. Put yourself first - I’ve learned this isn’t as selfish as it sounds – and take the leap.