Always Something New

  • Macy McLaughlin

Why I Moved to Jeonju, South Korea

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

“We need some sort of existential crisis to take an objective look at how we’ve been deriving meaning in our life, and then consider changing course.” - Mark Manson

I graduated from the University of Oregon in March of 2018, and like most college grads, I had no idea what to do with myself. Of course, I knew I had to get a job. With a degree in Political Science, I had no set career focus in mind so I had to quickly figure out which path I should take.

I decided to move to Seattle, Washington. Seattle was my college boyfriend's hometown so naturally I decided to follow him, which at the time seemed like an obvious move for me. I found a room to rent in a shared house on Craigslist, and shortly after I moved in, I found a good 9-5 job as a legal assistant at a law firm downtown. I was doing all the right things, or so I thought.

After my first month in Seattle, my college boyfriend and I broke up. While it was hard to accept this change at first, I knew it would be in my best interest to focus on only me while I tried to build myself and my new life. Things were good after that. I was learning a lot with my first post-grad job, I was making new friends, I was dating, and I even adopted a kitten.

Months went by, and I started questioning if I was in the right place, doing the right things. With a full time job, I wasn't able to travel, explore, or take adventures like I always loved to. At the age of 22, I questioned whether or not I wanted to spend the rest of my twenties on this path.

In August, my anxieties had grown so strong, I could hardly stand it. My lease was up at the end of the month and I had no idea where to go, I was becoming very stressed with the job I had, I was dealing with drama in my dating life and I was just completely unsatisfied with everything around me.

After this peek in anxiety occurred, I decided to accept defeat. I called my mom, and by the next day I had made plans to leave Seattle, and move back home to California. I felt like such a failure and I really struggled to stay positive at first.

So I was back at home with no school, no job, and no plans. I had a chance to take a breath, and really decide what it was that I should be doing with my life. I knew that was the first time I was really starting from scratch and making a decision for myself, with nobody else in mind. With this time to reflect and no obligations pulling me in any direction, I decided to take a leap of faith.

In April of 2018, right after graduating from college, and right before moving to Seattle, I had taken a trip to visit my friend Mariah, who was living in South Korea and working as an English teacher. I fell in love with South Korea, and I was very envious of the life Mariah was living abroad. While I have always been very eager to leave my comfort zone, and travel to new places, moving to Korea was not something I would have considered at that time in my life.

Shortly after moving back home from Seattle, I came to the conclusion that now would be the perfect time for me to make a big move, and do something amazing. I had always had Korea in the back of my mind, and I finally had no other expectations, or obligations holding me back. I immediately started the process of applying to jobs in Korea.

I found the perfect job in Jeonju, South Korea. The position was at a small private English academy for elementary and middle school kids, in a perfect sized city, a few hours away from Seoul, which is exactly what I wanted.

I moved to Korea in November 2018. Living on my own, being a teacher, being able to travel, and also being able to live independently with a comfortable salary is amazing. In the past couple of months, I have made so many new friends and have learned so much more about the world. I am always encountering new obstacles and challenges, and discovering new things and adventures. My journey has just begun and I am always excited for what will come next.

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