Maria has a BA in History from Florida Atlantic University, an MA in Asian Studies from Florida International University, and she is currently preparing for a move to Spain for a teaching internship, where she’ll also be working on her Spanish and preparing to apply to PhD programs in Iberian Studies. Her academic interests are in history, especially Middle Eastern and Spanish history, and in literature. Personal interests include: eating; reading; Netflix; museums, and swimming. She can be contacted by email.
Tell us a little bit about EPIK.
E(nglish) P(rogram) I(n) K(orea) is a government affiliated program that hires recent grads, and professionals, to teach in South Korea (except for Geonggi Province – see GEPIK for that). EPIK really just does the recruiting for the various provincial offices, so you would be working for your given province, not EPIK. For example, I work for SMOE (Seoul Metropolitian Office of Education).
Why did you decide to go to Korea to teach English?
I decided to go to Korea to get some teaching experience as well as to do something productive while I figured out the next step in my academic career.
What do you do on the average day?
On an average day I go to work and teach, I have the same school lunch that all my students have (most of the time it’s good), and then I leave work at 4:40. After work I may run some errands, or just go home, or meet up with some friends. On weekends I’m a little more social and try to go out for dinner or lunch with some friends, or maybe go to the park.
What’s it like living in Seoul?
Living in Seoul is really like living in any other major city, but everything is just in Korean. I live in the Gangnam neighborhood – yes, that Gangnam – and it’s constantly busy. It’s almost like I live in Times Square. The subway is great and there is wifi almost everywhere. Living in Seoul is really comfortable and convenient for the most part and the vast majority of people I’ve met are very nice. Of course, experiences differ from neighborhood to neighborhood – for example many shops and restaurants in Gangnam have at least one person with passing to good English skills, this may not be true for other neighborhoods.