Teaching And Living In Ilsan

Where I'm From

I’m a beach girl who spent the last few years in big cities—from NYC to Madrid back to NYC. The moment I decided to pick up my life and move across the world to Korea, I knew I did not want to be in the big city anymore. I missed waking up to the sounds of nature, but I was also wise enough to know I had become accustomed to access. Access to variation and choices, which I wasn’t necessarily willing to give up. I held my breath. With little research and a lot of trust in my amazing recruiter, I ended up in a place that more than met my desires and even exceeded them! Here’s what it’s like living in Ilsan!


High view of Madrid, Spain streets

Where I'm At!

A few months before my departure from New York City, I was informed I would be placed in a city called Ilsan, or ‘a mountain’. Ilsan is about an hour northwest of Seoul in Goyang. I figured, in the worst-case scenario, I could always commute to Seoul on the weekends. However, it turned out that Ilsan is its own vibrant haven. Home to the biggest man-made lake in Asia, there is so much to do outside and many unique places to eat. You can rent bikes and coast for miles or have a picnic in the massive space that is Ilsan Lake Park during cherry blossom season. There are even multiple water parks in Ilsan


Endless Access

Ilsan is easy to walk, but it is also connected by endless bus lines and subways. I never feel isolated. The variety of things to do is something I least expected. Some days I get off late, and some days I’m off completely, so it’s nice to have activities that meet those time differences. There are dance studios, two huge open-street shopping malls (Western Dom and Lafesta), endless pochas, 24-hour spas in basements, movie theaters, and endless opportunities to do karaoke. 

While I am still exploring my new home and becoming accustomed to my surroundings, I am thankful to be in a place that feels extremely local and quaint yet well connected and accessible. I highly recommend considering teaching and working in Ilsan if you want to be in the center of nature, with full accessibility to the benefits of city life!

Jasmine Phillips is a wanderlust explorer currently living and teaching English in Ilsan, South Korea. Jasmine is originally from Virginia Beach, VA but has lived in many places, such as Berlin, Madrid and New York City. Her undergrad is in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in international social justice. Her hopes are to eventually continue her studies in Ethnomusicology in South Africa. When Jasmine isn’t working she is curled up with a heart-wrenching memoir, spending time with strangers or painting giant canvases.