After three weeks in Korea in quarantine and training orientation I was finally on my way to my new home in Daegu. Our first day in the city was an intense one as we were introduced to our co-teacher, our school and shown to our apartments.
My co-teacher was really welcoming which was a great start and as we got closer to the school and I could see the famous Daegu tower close by I started to get more excited. I had my first taste of school lunches (so good!) straight away and was then taken to my office/classroom and to meet the other teachers and principal. I was given flowers as a welcoming gift which was so touching. I share my office with another NET which was a great surprise for me. My fellow NET has been at the school for a few years and I’m so grateful to have a sidekick to help with settling in and make desk warming in the holidays less boring!
Our office is the English classroom which currently isn’t being used for teaching due to COVID. We have views of Apsan mountain out of our window which makes for a fab backdrop.
After signing some paperwork, me and my co-teacher headed to my apartment. I live a short walk away from both my schools and a 10-minute walk from the metro. I live in a villa style apartment building which has three floors and around 10 apartments. My space is small but I’ve been falling a bit more in love with it every day.
I have an entranceway, a main room, a ‘balcony/ laundry room, kitchen and bathroom. The fact that I can separate the kitchen from the main space is the biggest plus for me and I can’t wait to show it to you when I’m done decorating. Right now, it is still pretty sparse so needs a bit more work to it before I’ll be happy to show it off!
From my apartment we went straight to Homeplus to pick up all the essentials as well as some food for the next few nights. The first night in was daunting but I made some dinner and prepared myself for my first day of teaching the next day.
This was at my travelling school and I went straight into the deep-end with 6 classes. Luckily, my co-teacher here was really welcoming and my first few introduction lessons with the students went down well. The first week is definitely overwhelming as you try your hand at teaching for maybe the first time and consume all the information but if I can get through 6 classes on the first day unscathed so can anyone!
With the first day under my belt, I celebrated it being Friday and our first weekend in Daegu by meeting some friends afterwork for our first taste of downtown. This is only two stops away on the metro for me. Downtown Daegu offers everything you need. We went to a cute pizza restaurant called Zione which had amazing authentic Italian pizza. It also has some amazing wine which was well needed after such a long and stressful three weeks.
Our first weekend was spent exploring downtown Daegu and the nearby Duryu park. Duryu park surprised me in its size but it has loads of features to explore including the stunning Seongdang Lake. On my first Sunday I decided to spent the day on my own after figuring out the basics and went back downtown to do a bit of shopping.
My first week at school was mainly introduction lessons and a lot of lesson planning. I was lucky to have my fellow NET to show me the ropes and how my co-teachers and school preferred co-teaching to work here. At my main school and my travelling school I co-teach 50/50 so we both take turns leading the class through activities. This works well and means I’m always in charge of planning a game or activity to end the class. At first, the amount of work seemed overwhelming but now a few weeks in, it seems a lot more manageable.
After work I made sure to meet with various friends for dinner and exploring which was a well needed break from the stress of the first week! The second weekend in Daegu arrived quickly and after spending Friday on the other side of the city to see a friends neighbourhood, our weekend was spent at Suseong Lake hiring Swan pedalos and eating bingsu at the airplane café there.
Our third weekend here was spent on Apsan Mountain. This mountain looks over the city and has cable car access. We took the cable up and then chose to hike a round route to the peak of Apsan and other various viewing points. We chose a really hot day to do this in but it was worth it for the perfect views and sunset. The restaurant at the top of the cable car is really reasonably priced and had an outdoor viewing deck which is the perfect spot for a sunset view.
Now that a few weeks have gone by, I feel a lot more settled and less overwhelmed. All the locals I’ve encountered so far have been nothing but friendly and welcoming. My listening skills when it comes to Korean have gotten better but I’m still too nervous most of the time to speak much. I’m hoping to start classes once again next month.
I have been loving my time so far exploring Daegu and will be sharing more on my life here as I settle in further in upcoming blogs. I also have some exciting trips planned around Korea which I'll be sharing on here soon!