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–By Bria Kassner
Around this time last year no one could have told me that I would be living in Korea on a one-year contract. Nobody could have told me that I’d be (trying my best to) participate in Korean-language conversations, eating Korean food with native Korean teachers, and teaching hundreds of Korean students for five days a week. If you told me last year that I would be leaving my entire life in the United States to pursue my dreams and to follow my heart in South Korea, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you. 

I had just gotten engaged in June of 2015, and by July, my fiancé had chosen to be stationed somewhere new and exciting: South Korea! Aside from the happiness of our engagement, I was devastated that he would be so far away. What did that mean for me, for us? I hadn’t graduated college yet and the thought of not having another grade or class to aspire to was stressful, on top of that I was thinking of what being married would look like, and how this across-the-world romance was going to work. All of those thoughts came crashing down and one day I got really still and asked God to lead my next move. Soon enough I made the decision to be a teacher. And fast forward, 11 months later, I am a certified English teacher in South Korea, a Bachelor’s degree holder, and I am reunited with the love of my life — Life is good.
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On a daily basis my life consists of eager students and caring staff who ban together to make the learning experience one of happiness and joy. When I first got to Korea, I was a “newbie”and to an extent, I still am, but my experiences have made me a little more lived-in and comfortable. 

As a first time teacher, I was both excited and extremely terrified of my students. I had never been a teacher before and thus never had to create lesson plans and anticipate so many things not going according to plan. This was a completely new role for me. And the same people that I had studied my TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language course) for, for a solid 6 months while finishing up my last semester of college, were the same people that made me want to hide behind a curtain. This must be what it feels like for new parents: The thought of someone depending on you for guidance, understanding, love and patience can be both invigorating and petrifying. I have almost 300 little “someone’s” needing those things from me Monday-Friday for 8 hours a day, and though I love it now, I was scared out of my mind back in April.

Since then, a lot has changed. Lesson planning is now my life, and I don’t go a day without thinking of ways to connect with my kids more, because I genuinely love them! I have two schools that I teach at: my main school that hired me and handles all of my needs, and my “travel school,” which I work at 1 1/2 days per week. My kids range from 3rd graders – 6th graders, and I teach 22 classes per week for 40 minutes each. The life of a teacher is constant work, but I truly love it and embrace it! To keep myself full of life after long days of teaching, I make a constant effort to get myself involved in activities! I love to bike ride, play badminton with the teachers at my main school, attend a Crossfit class a few days a week (I am the only foreigner and get laughed at pretty often but in good spirits), and spend time with my fiancé, other teachers and friends! I attended my first Korean wedding last week! Each day is a new adventure that I welcome with open arms and it almost feels like I’m a baby again, re-learning everything and adjusting to this new culture. Life is meant to be lived — go out and live it!
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0 Replies to “Bria is in Korea!”

  1. Bria I'm so proud of you for being courageous to travel across the world and embrace new experiences. May God continue to guide your steps and bless you. Love Ayisha

  2. Bria you are an inspiration! I hope my children are as adventurous as you are. Keep working hard. Looks like all you previous hard work is paying off!

  3. Thank you so much Raquel! It was a lot of work and it seemed like the end was nowehre in sight, but I am happy that I made it through! Tell Jeffrey and Tim hello for me and that I hope they're doing well in school! They can do anything that they want to do in life!

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