Lately I’ve been having a lot of phone interviews for positions teaching English in South Korea. I think this is an interesting way to learn about a place I have never been.
For instance, yesterday I learned that the country code of South Korea is 820 based on a call to my cell phone.
I had another interview about four days ago from a man who originally lived in Virginia who is currently in Daegu, South Korea. He told us that to get there in the first place, you must take a plane to Seoul, the capital city, and then take a four hour bus to Daegu. He informed us that all of the signs there will be in Korean and we won’t be able to read anything when we arrive. He also told us that if we get sick of Korean food, there is a plethora of bad American food options, including McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Dominos. He also mentioned Costco more than once, and said how there is a movie theater on the top floor there that plays American movies with Korean subtitles. I am not sure if this is quite the experience I wish to gain while being abroad, but it is nice to know that there are comfort nostalgia zones for others. It reminds me of when my Taiwanese students would show me their 711 cards full of Asian characters and cute, colorful cartoons. Globalization…
I am also having another phone interview later for Daejeon, which is the fifth largest city in the country. Having never heard of this place, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found that it was a place full of math and science institutes. It also has a subway. I was unaware of all of this information.
I also heard from another interview that the weather in Korea is humid year round. Being from the Northeast, I always thought that humidity was a summer factor that did not carry into the cold months, but apparently this is possible. Learning how to feel new weather is always part of the traveler’s journey.
Normally I find job interviews fake, boring and perfunctory, but this time around, I am having an interesting learning process.