I finally made it to Daegu, South Korea! That’s right, as I am typing this blog post, I am sitting in my new studio apartment, ondol on, piping green tea in hand.

None of it would be possible however, without the outstanding efforts of EPIK {English Program in Korea} and of course, my over-generous, hell-of-a-guy, recruiter Alistair {Korean Horizons}. Honestly guys, they have this down to a science.

This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to packing up my life and moving around the world. That being said, moving to South Korea finds itself in an entirely different category than anything I’ve tackled thus far. A new culture, a new language, and a new job description as an English teacher. As if one of those three wasn’t enough.

This girl is officially a resident of South Korea!

That being said, my transition into life here in Korea was made possibly, and more so enjoyable, due to the incredible humans that assisted us in becoming oriented. I plan on drafting a more in depth blog post on my orientation itself {seriously they killed it}. However, I am waiting for a decision about a possible additional job opportunity through EPIK, and want to delay publishing anything until I hear back.

I still have blog posts waiting to be edited pertaining to Belize and Guatemala, but I just couldn’t contain my excitement any longer. I needed a release. I needed to share my new found love for this astonishing country. So let’s get right into it.

Korean cuisine has been some of the best {and the most unique} food I’ve ever tasted.

I landed at Incheon International Airport sleep deprived and smelling of stale air. Immediately upon arrival, I spotted multiple signage pertaining to the 2018 Winter Olympics behind held just east of Incheon and Seoul. “Shit, I’m actually here” was all I could repeat to myself as I made my way through customs.

I found my charismatic recruiter waiting for me {and the rest of the Korean Horizon’s squad}. Some of us piled into vans to be whisked away and sheltered for our first night. Others waited for the remaining crew that had yet to arrive at the airport. My first night was spent at a Korean BBQ, sipping soju, and forming rare bonds with new friends. Some of the people I met that night still remain the closest friends I have here in Korea, despite then being introduced to nearly 200+ other eager expats the very next day.

Shoutout to my entire class during orientation for being some of the kindest, outgoing, and welcoming individuals #ClassFour

For the next nine days, I was put through a boot camp of sorts for ESL teachers. The amount of information I was expected to absorb was overwhelming. But extremely necessary for my transition into my new role and my new life. Everything I learned was relevant to the task at hand. Lecture after lecture after lecture after lecture.

Before it ever became too much, our lovely EPIK leaders would provide us with a bit of relief. We took a field trip to the Gonju Hanok Village, the Gonju National Museum, and the Royal Tomb of King Muryeong. Here we learned how to make traditional rice cakes, an acquired taste for some.

Gonju Hanok Village. Unfortunately, it was not a foggy afternoon, nor was it overcast. That is straight up polluted air. Pollution is a huge problem in South Korea… and something I have yet to get adjusted to.

We were also provided with Taekwondo lessons {to release our stress I assume} and Korean language lessons, where we learned Hangal and basic Korean phrases. I felt incredibly grateful to be invited to partake in such lessons. Opportunities to immerse yourself into a culture are not always handed to you.

Jaz, Skye, and myself. Impressed I broke that board with my itty, bitty fists? Same.

And then the people. THE PEOPLE. I mean.

How do I get so lucky? I have surrounded myself with a phenomenal group of humans here on the other side of the world. Of course, we are all from English-speaking countries. So, it should come as no surprise that my squad is a majority British. With a couple South Africans scattered amongst us. Sure, the largest intake of English teachers come from North America, but oddly enough I haven’t befriended many of my own kind since arriving. Maybe that’s not odd at this point {I mean, a year in New York City will make you want to avoid any loud American, regardless of where you are, even if it happens to be thousands of miles away from home}. And what can I say? I’ve always been a sucker for an accent.

Eventually, orientation was coming to an end. Some of us {me} were in contact with the English teachers we were replacing {shoutout to James, you are the real hero}. Others were clueless as to where they would be placed around the country, and what to expect once they arrived. I found out quite early on that I would be located in a somewhat rural area of Korea, on the outskirts of Daegu City. The jokes went on about me becoming a mountain woman, yodeling to my friends in the city, and hand writing letters in order to make plans for the following weekend.

Luckily, a friendly face {Tom} would be joining me out in the boonies, living only a matter of minutes away via bus. Upon arrival to Nongong, we discovered the British lads we would be replacing were in fact friends as well, so we met up for {you guessed it} Korean BBQ on our first night in order to thank them for all the help, and better prepare ourselves for what would be ahead.

The homies: Lauren, Me, Tom, Justin, and Gena.

I live only two short minutes away from my school {walking}, and have my own desk in the teacher’s lounge. Something I never imagined for myself in this lifetime. It never ceases to amaze me at how quickly life can change. I pride myself on my willingness to adapt to new situations, but sometimes it’s hard to believe how I continue to get so fortunate with my circumstances upon doing so.

I know the moments are coming. The breakdowns, the bad days, the wtf moments. They will undoubtedly arrive eventually. It is still life after all.

But until then, I am soaking in the moments that take my breath away. The ones that make me question what I believe. The ones that pull on my heartstrings and tickle my funny bone. The one that challenge me and force me into discomfort.The ones that remind me of why I live the life I do. These are the moments that I will hold on to.

I cannot wait to bring you along as I venture further into this incredible country, and Asia in general. In addition to blogging this year, I will be vlogging! Get excited. The first vlog will be posted next week.

This is exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my life. I feel recharged, inspired, confident, and {most importantly} at peace. I’ve said it once before here, but I’ll say it again. Home is where my feet are, and South Korea is no exception.


  1. So exciting Rachael. Getting hungry looking at the Korean BBQ. And your local teaching friend looks quite nice. Xxoo, Linda
    Thanks for broken boards photos earlier.

  2. This blog just screams HAPPINESS! So incredibly happy for you, my love!! You’re also absolutely gorgeous. Miss this face. We need to Skype asap.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am feeling so positive, and it seems like you are feeling similarly in Paris at the moment. Miss your face, so yes, let’s please Skype sometime this week xxx

  3. Rachel,

    Just loved your blog. so happy for you and the adventures coming your way.

    Have a great time in South Kore
    a, and beyond.


    Carol Pizzo aka Tina

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