Usually the process of moving takes so much of your focus that you rarely have time to think about what your Korean life, or a new start in any country, might really be like. While you’re doing interviews with schools and making visa runs, the people you’re leaving behind will most likely be doing all they can to spend time with you (or deter you from going). Then, when you first arrive in Korea, you’ll be so overwhelmed with your new surroundings you’ll have little time to miss anything back home. A few Skype calls here, some emails there, and most parties will feel satisfied for a while.

But soon you’ll start to miss your friends and family. You’ll crave the familiarity of your own country because of the language difference, if nothing else. You’ll miss being able to ask for help by going up to someone and simply talking to them. There’s even a chance you’ll miss the crazy quirks of your homeland you hated when you were there.

There are some teaching programs (like EPIK) that put applicants through orientation, which includes training and the chance to make friends. There are tons of foreigners to meet and your Korean colleagues will most likely take you out a couple of times. New friendships are often fun and entertaining, but personally I miss the ease of friendships you’ve had for years. It’s one thing meeting new people, but having to make a whole new group of friends at once is a whole other story. Back home, it’s simply a quick text and you can meet up with a friend for a drink at your favourite watering hole. In Korea, it’s way more difficult: from the simple act of that one text to a relative stranger, to ordering at a potential new watering hole and using your phone to translate. Everything is a struggle…

Once you start your new life, you’ll realise how simple things make you feel alone. Trips to the grocery store become the hardest thing to do. Travelling from one side of town to the other is a tricky endeavour. Now I’m sure this doesn’t happen to everyone and some people are uberprepared. They’ve completely gotten their heads around what the future might hold. These super-humans are not only aware of the crazy changes to come, but take it all in their stride. Personally, I was hit with this realisation a month into my stay, despite the fact I moved here with my partner and I’m sure things are considerably easier for me.

Maybe you’ll be in your little apartment trying to figure out where the trash goes, or at your school needing help with a lesson, or even walking on the street looking for a certain place.

 At that moment you’ll realise that not only are you unable to ask for help, you can’t read the signs along the street and you most probably don’t have someone with you to discuss the problem with. Even venting to your friends and family on the other side of the world will have to wait due to the time difference.

Honestly, there’s not much you can do to fix this dilemma immediately. There’s no way you can learn the language overnight, create solid relationships in a few hours or know exactly how to navigate your new surroundings the second you step off the plane. You need time. You have to learn to say, “Fuck it” and simply give it a go. In fact, attempt it many, many times. What’s awesome, though, is that it’s all new! After a few short weeks, you’ll become more accustomed to your new life. It took you years to build your life back home; you’re not going to slip right into the same thing here. And that could be a good thing