Q: Are you planning on leaving Korea and if so, what’s your next game plan?
The Big Question
In a previous post, I opened up a floodgate to feelings that I haven’t felt in a while, and I promised to revisit it, sort them out and be honest with myself and others. I’m finally getting back to it.
As my first year here comes to an end, I’m left contemplating my next move and what kind of future my life holds. While coming here was never, in my mind, a short term thing, reality has been forcing me to seriously contemplate whether or not continuing this route is truly what is best for my future or not. There has been definite perks to living here and my reasons for coming here were solid enough to transport me across the great Pacific, but the big question now is- What would be my incentive to stay?
So, I thought I would recap my reasons for coming here, whether or not I should stay, foreseeable issues I will face if I continue to do so and be open about the process of staying. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Reasons I moved to Korea.
I came here for many reasons. I wanted to learn Korean, understand the culture, challenge myself, and push myself outside of my comfort zone. But, if I’m being totally transparent, there was also part of me that came here to escape. I was the only person in my family to that had never flown outside of the US and seen what life was like outside of it, and I thought a change of scenery would do me some good. That, and the fact that here I have something stable, which I don’t have in America. Here I have a job, a steady paycheck and my own apartment, three things which I didn’t have in America, and I think letting go of something that I’ve always wanted to go back to something that is uncertain, doesn’t sit well with me.
The move, though a daunting one was a beautiful experience and I have grown and changed so much in the past year and part of me wishes to continue that experience.
Korea Long Term
When I try to envision a long-term future in Korea to see if it’s the right place for me to live, I can’t see it clearly. I always see myself going back to America. I don’t know if this means anything significant, but as of right now, it means I don’t have any intention of living here long-term. Which brings me to my next problem: what will I do when I go back? This gray area that plagues most of us after graduation has placed a cloud over my stay here. I’m always worrying if staying here will be good for my future and fretting instead of just truly letting go and living in these precious moments.
I have a few options that I am considering:
- Cut my time here short and go back home in the interest of working in a field I studied in college.
- Look for a different career in Korea dealing with my major that will translate well in America.
- Continue life as nothing matters and deal with any problems as they arise.
Frankly, out of the three, the second one is most appealing to me. I’m not ready to leave, but I am interested in starting a career in the field that I studied in university. However, listening to the struggles some of my friends go through in Korea concerning job hunting and when they actually find a job, has scared me more than anything.
Common Korean Struggles.
In my post, Adulting in Korea, I mentioned some of the struggles the youth face briefly, but I can go over some more things in detail here.
I touched on two basic tests, TOEIC and History of Korea, that are taken here to ensure a chance at achieving a decent job here (surprisingly, there are more), but what I failed to mention was that even before you take these test, your education (the kind of college you went to, the grades you’ve received throughout your academic career, etc) matters as well. You can’t just rely on the test to land you a great job, they are just the icing on the cake after you’ve put in all the effort of going to a good college and getting great grades. Let’s not forget the life experience that proves your leadership qualities and show how you’ll be a great asset to the team. For us, that would translate into having a portfolio, internship experience, and other job related experience needed before graduating college.
I think one of the most stressful thing here for Koreans isn’t just the competitive atmosphere, but also the comparing nature of the society. I think in America, we too suffer from the competitive nature of society that we are apart of, but we usually don’t have the societal from of comparing nature that we have to deal with and if we do definitely not to the the extent these young people go through. From a young age, these kids have been compared to someone else, whether it’s from their parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, society, or maybe just from themselves, and as a result, some probably deal with a lack of self-confidence or self-love if they don’t feel as if they measure up to someone else’s standard.
Personally, I don’t want to become victim of this mindset. I have a hard enough time dealing with the pressures I place on myself and I don’t think I could survive with that much additional societal pressure on me. So, this sort of pressure causes me to serious contemplate what would be best for my future, what I’m capable of living with, and what I don’t want to live with. My experience here could be different since I’m a foreigner and options are more limited but that doesn’t change my concerns.
However, each day I’m starting to realize that even though I’m human, I’m tenacious and can adapt well to situations and make the best out them, choosing to enjoy my life rather than wallow in self-pity- but will that be enough to sustain a life away from loved ones long term? There are lot of factors to consider and personal values weigh into my decision, but I think I am going to take a chance on myself, stay and search for a little bit longer. We’ll see how life unfolds.
Anyway, I’ve rambled on for way too long again, but you don’t mind, right?
Until next time,
See ya around, friend~~