Setting the Stage
About 6 months after my boyfriend Colin and I started dating I asked him if he’d be interested in teaching abroad. I’d always wanted to live abroad and I knew he wanted to travel as well – I was so excited when he said he was open to the idea of teaching in Korea! Almost a year later we moved to Busan. I’m so thankful to Aclipse for making this all possible and finding a school where we could both teach and work the same hours. Moving overseas as a couple has a lot of perks, and I have been so thankful for this experience! Having lived in Busan for over a year, I’ve met lots of single people, people who started new relationships while abroad, and other couples who moved abroad together. Regardless of your relationship status, living abroad is an unforgettable experience. I’m especially grateful I was able to share these memories with Colin. Let me show you what it’s like getting recruited and teaching as a couple in Korea!
(Below – a picture of us when we visited the colorful Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan)
Partner In Crime
Life overseas has been emotional at times, and I was sad to say goodbye to friends and family knowing that I wouldn’t see them for at least a year or even longer. But having a built in support system is amazing – despite everything else changing it was nice to have someone from back home who was going through the exact same experiences. We navigated the language barrier, culture shock, trying new foods, and starting new jobs together. Neither of us had been teachers before and it’s been really nice working together and sharing ideas for our classes!
(Below, us visiting Beomeosa Temple with some coworkers/friends and some cute cookies we got at school!)
Aside from the cultural differences and adjusting to working a new job, we also had to furnish an apartment. Having two people to share the cost of bills, groceries, and household necessities has allowed us to save more money than we would have if we came here alone! Also our apartment is bigger than a single person’s apartment, which has made it easy for us to host holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving – holidays away from family are difficult but much better when you can celebrate friends! (see below – some of our friends joined us to celebrate American Thanksgiving!)
Yin and Yang
Another great thing about moving abroad with Colin is that we both have different strengths. He’s amazing at navigating public transit (I have no sense of direction and had barely used public transit before living abroad). He’s also a great cook and has found lots of yummy restaurants for us to try in Busan. I’m good at budgeting, organizing, and planning. Together we’ve made a great team! We’ve been able to visit some amazing places together while teaching in Korea!
(Below – we love hiking together, there’s lots of great places to hike in Busan and we live at the base of Jangsan Mountain.)
Lastly, life as an expat can be lonely at first. It’s easy to meet foreigners in Korea – they stick out in a crowd! But for the first few weeks after we arrived I was jet lagged and spending most of my time adjusting to a new job and unpacking. From my experience, it seems like the most stressful time is the first month after you move abroad. Many of my friends agree with this as well – it can feel a little overwhelming moving your whole life abroad and starting a new job at the same time, all while feeling homesick. Luckily for me, Colin was always there for me and I never felt lonely!
Just Do It!
I would highly encourage anyone who has the chance to move abroad to do it! You’ll learn so much about yourself and other cultures, and have more appreciation for simple things lots of us take for granted. If you are lucky enough to be teaching as a couple in Korea, you’ll be even more lucky – I know I am!
Monica Russo graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelors in Psychology and is from St. Louis, Missouri. After spending a couple years in social work she decided to move abroad to learn more about other cultures and to challenge herself to live outside her comfort zone. Moving abroad hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth it and Monica loves living in Busan, South Korea. She loves new experiences, hiking, exploring other cities and helping others any way that she can. Her philosophy with her students is work hard, play hard!