Q: How’s adulting going for y’all? What are some concerns and worries that you face in your everyday life? How do you go about making decisions for your future? What is your biggest concern about finding a career? How do you go about finding the right career for you and preparing for it? How do you base your decision-making?
Whew, that’s a lot of questions, eh? Don’t worry, I’m not asking you these questions to have you answer them for me right away, I’m just curious. Right now, these are some of the questions that I’m asking myself as I stay in Korea. With that being said, this post will be a little different than my normal informative ones since, as of right now, I am in the process of finding my own answers to them.
This conversation, for me, is a long-overdue but a highly avoided one. I think for most of us, we have our own concept of adulting and how we should be as adults. Some of us take this process in stride claiming that if it’s meant to be it will be, while some, like me, overstress and worry if they are making the right decisions for their lives or if they will make a wrong decision that will finally be their undoing, and I think a few of us have a clear direct goal that we plan and aim for our lives so the path is pretty clear. Or maybe some are in a different boat altogether where your parents have decided your future for you and you are just following the path that was already decided for you. Whichever boat we find ourselves in, the fact remains that we still have to grow as young adults and ask ourselves tough questions from time to time.
Seeing that I have decided to stay in Korea and have renewed my contract for another year, my family and some friends have started asking me tough questions regarding my future plans and expectations. This, naturally, forced me to really consider my future and what I wanted from it.
Did I really not want to go back to America and settle down there?
What kind of job opportunities could I find here besides teaching?
Did I really want to live in Korea forever?
What is my end goal for my life and how would I like my future to unfold?
If I stayed in Korea, how could I be helpful to my family?
How will I survive in America when I return?
Honestly, I love my life in Korea. I love how I have been able to grow, challenge myself and the person I’ve changed to be and I don’t think that it is time for me to go back just yet, however, the fact remains, the longer I stay here the harder it will be for me to pick up my life back in America. So, in an attempt to answer these questions, I’ve decided to start with what I know: I love Korea and my life here. I love who I am and who I am becoming.
This brought up the question- If I stayed here did I want to stay here as a teacher or would I rather pursue a different career?
Ideally, I want a different career path for my future.
Korea is a small country with high competition. For natives, finding careers is an intense process and highly stressful because of the limited options, so would it be feasible for me to pursue a career here outside of teaching?
With this in mind, I decided to ask my Korean friend, who is the same age as me, the process Koreans go through with adulting. Her answers stressed me out even more.
Young adults in Korea go through an intense job-seeking process. In order to get a decent job in Korea, there are at least two required tests that these job seekers must take. The TOEIC, an English proficiency test, and a test in Korean history. I’m not entirely sure why they need to know Korean history to get a job, but it is what it is. However, these tests don’t guarantee a job. No, no. You have to take these tests to be even be CONSIDERED for the job you are applying for. These are the basics. I’m sure there is more that you need to do to put yourself above the rest.
I’m not entirely sure if it’s the same for foreigners who choose to live here, but one thing is for sure, in order to find a job here that is not teaching, you have to prove that you are equally competent if not more than your Korean competition. Otherwise, what’s the point of them hiring you? You need to prove to Korean bosses that you can offer them something they can’t find anywhere else.
So, for panning out purposes, let’s say that I did find a career outside of teaching here and I decided to live here. The fact remains that I’m a foreigner living in another country. My rights and my identity is consumed in this fact. Do I want to have to worry about things like visa renewal and stuff like that all the time?
So with this in mind, I must consider what I want from myself and my life.
I know this post is excruciatingly long and in the end, I haven’t reached any sort of conclusion. I mean, it’s not like these questions can be answered in a day, but I do think it’s healthy to discuss them, and facing reality instead of coasting by, is vitally important as young adults. So, as far as questions go for growing up in another country, and the decision-making process, I will answer them another time when I have decided my future.
With all that being said, good luck with your adulting process, my friends!
Until next time,
See ya around, friend~~