Be Brave…Preparing to Jump

Gosh, whenever I think about this school thing I feel like my heart is going to break open.  I’m so nervous I can’t even stand it.

I’m looking at schools in the UK and planning on applying once I get all my stuff together.  I’ve wanted to move there for quite a long time–I’m not sure why–I’ve just really enjoyed myself each time I’ve been there and could see myself settling there for a bit.  The schools are also WAY cheaper than in the US (like half the cost)…

I know I just need to stop messing around and just make the leap…just apply already and see what happens, but the what-ifs are suffocating me.

I found these quotes and they seem pretty fitting:

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
C. JoyBell C.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
William G.T. Shedd

Progress?

After about 4 hours and feeling like I didn’t accomplish much, I wanted to write down what I did so I feel better about the time I spent researching.  I think the thing with research is that because it doesn’t produce any sort of tangible results, it’s harder to feel like you got anything done.  If you’re reading or doing practice  tests for an exam, you can see physical work, but just gathering information, not so much.

*Found basic info on 5 different schools
*Looked into classes for this summer to boost my GPA, then found out that you can’t boost your GPA after you graduate.  It just creates a new GPA.  Gah.
*Found a school in England that I’m really interested in (also half the cost of those I’ve seen in the US)–10 month program–The only issue so far is that my undergrad grades aren’t high enough for their prereqs.  I sent them an email asking what I can do to still have a shot at acceptance given my less than stellar grades (from 5 years ago…), so hopefully I hear something positive back
*Found out how to convert my GPA to the UK equivalent
*I’m thinking I’ll end up going to school in the UK, which helps me narrow things down a lot.  I still like the University of Oregon, but with $40k in tuition…and there are other places that will get me what I want for half the cost…I’m happy that the UK is making this decision easier for me.  🙂

I’m probably going to keep looking around tomorrow and see if there are other schools, just in case.  I also need to see if the PGCE is internationally accepted.  I’m assuming so?

Anyway, off to the gym to burn off some stress.

Life Plans

I’m currently planning to leave Korea in September…and I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop doing research on a few of the ideas I’ve had rolling around in my head for the past 6 months or so about what I could see myself doing next.  These are some of the things I’ve thought about:

*Teach for America (application is filled out…just waiting on my own self to hit the submit button)
*A handful of universities in the US to get my degree in education (each offering something a tad different than the others with varying prices)
*Teach First (essentially Teach for America, but in England–and they accept foreigners :D)
*a handful of universities in the UK/Europe (cheaper than the US, but the application process and terminology is very different than what I’m used to here in the US…also daunting)
*Stay in Korea another 6 months to save up more money for the big move

Each one has its own wild path and I’ve asked for advice from several people and gotten a lot of responses, which I’m grateful for, but it’s also made things a bit more confusing as well.  I’m hoping that my research today will help me narrow down some of my choices so I can feel a bit more on top of things.

I’ve heard…less than stellar things about going to teach in the US, and I’m aware of the differences, but about 95% of the people I’ve spoken with said do not teach in America because it’s a huge mess.
I also really like teaching, and I know things will be very different than they are here in Korea.  I know that, and I’m really looking for something more stable than what I’ve got right now.  I want to put down some roots and feel more that I belong.  I think with the Masters (and speaking with a friend of mine helped me to keep this in mind), that it is a higher-level degree, so no matter where I do it (for the most part), it’s the same degree.
I also think that it will help to open more doors for me.
I currently have a bachelor’s in business-marketing, which I haven’t touched, but it’s opened the door to this Korea experience, which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.  A Masters would allow me to teach in the country I got it in, but also let me teach English (or regular classes) in other countries aside from Korea.  Korea (and several others in Asia) only require a bachelors in something, but if you want to go elsewhere, many require a degree in English or Education.  Which I’d be getting…but it’s also insanely expensive (ie: $50,000 give or take a few thousand.)  FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.  My god. I just keep looking at that number and thinking how long it would take to pay back.  That combined with my undergrad and I’m locked into debt for the rest of my days.  *sigh*

That’s also why I’ve been looking at Europe and the UK–they offer Masters programs that are typically cheaper.  More research to do on these different programs, and here’s to hoping that they aren’t as suffocating and won’t rob me blind like the ones in my home country.

Anyway, I don’t think I’m really looking for advice or anything, just needed a bit of a vent and to get all of this off my chest.  It’s been swirling around in my head for the past few months and I’m ready to start making plans.

Oh, and ALSO, I could stay in Korea another 6 months or so to help save money for the next step…but I feel like it’s draining me.  I love teaching, but I’m feeling so worn.  We teach every day of the year with 2 weeks off–one in the summer and one in the winter and public holidays.  I love my kids to bits, but I feel like I need a 100-year nap.  I’d definitely need a break or something before diving into a Masters program.

Edit: I just stumbled across a really helpful site that converts the US grade scale to the UK’s grade scale.  Awesome 🙂

Done and done.

So, I went to immigration today and got myself sorted for the next year in Korea.  I’m thinking this will be my last year teaching in Korea.  I love teaching, but I’d like to further my education and I hope to teach in a more stable setting.

The after-school academies (or hagwons) tend to be a bit more unstable as they can be opened up with anyone with enough money (really) and they’re everywhere.  I really enjoy my classes and the school that I’m at so I’m hoping for another year like this one.  This past year seemed to breeze by pretty quickly.  There’s a bit of negativity though, and that can be a bit rough, but trying to keep my head down and do my own best with my classes and sort of just do what I’m doing.

I already have quite a few things in store for the coming year, so hopefully things go smoothly.

Here’s a teaser for the year to come–obviously things change and put this is what I’m looking at as of now:
*Hoping I get the OK to carve pumpkins with my kiddos at school.  Our classes are smaller and I’d LOVE to give them this experience.  Halloween isn’t really that big here yet (slowly…) so I’d like to let them experience making a jack-o-lantern.
I’m thinking that letting them draw and scoop out the mess would be best and I’ll do the cutting.
(Plus decorating my room a bit for Halloween!  Yay!  I love having my own classroom!)

* Christmas at home (first time in almost 3 years!! Squeeeee!)

*New Years in LA (first time!)

*back with ultimate frisbee in the spring 🙂  (Too many things going on in the fall right now to dedicate the time and money to it)

*Toying with the idea of Budapest in February (Yes, winter)

*Working on another surprise of sorts for my summer vacation— I sent my mom and brother on an all-expenses paid cruise two years ago (to the Bahamas, I believe).  Expensive, yes, but it makes me happy and I think that’s what life is about.  This won’t be quite that extravagant, but it still puts an extra spring in my step and makes my heart feel lighter when I think about it. My mom is a single mom and she works her butt off (and has) for years and years and never gets a vacation, so I had wanted to change that.

*Finish contract in September

*Thailand for a bit of muay thai fighting training

Anyway, this would be the dream scenario, but I like making my dreams happen.  So, we shall see 😀

Re-Grouping

So, I’ve been feeling kind of blah recently, and I think it’s because I haven’t really had anything going on (and I’ve got the winter blues) because I’ve been trying to save more money…which leaves me with less here to play around with.  It’s fine and I’m not starving or anything, I’ve just found how much I can actually live on here and been trying to cut out expenses.

With that being said, I was looking at gyms and dance studios but ended up deciding on Ultimate Frisbee.  Totally out of left field, and I’ve never played before, but I’m pretty excited. That doesn’t start til spring though, and I’ve still been working on my Korean when I have free time.  I’m teaching myself and going at a relatively slow pace, so I still feel pretty beginner, but I love when things start to click.

I ALSO decided that I want to get back into learning Spanish.
I have a lot of free time because I don’t really go out to bars and that sort of thing anymore, AND I’ve had a long-standing goal of being fluent in 5 languages before I die, so…why not start while I have some time on my hands.
I was looking at Spanish course books online and they’re only like $15-20 AND I still remember A LOT from when I took it in school…so that makes me pretty happy.

Anyway, that’s pretty much what’s happening around here.

4 day weekend next weekend for the Lunar New Year!  Wahooo!!!  (Next holiday isn’t til like March or April, so yeah…bah.)

//Also looking into grad school programs and teaching certifications…a weeee bit overwhelming to look at.

Just Stuff

So, I think I’ve finally settled on a DSLR camera…the Nikon 3200.  It seems to be what I’m looking for…nice quality photos, good for a beginner but not too beginner where I might get bored easily with it.  Video features and the ability to make the whole portrait black and white except for certain colors.  Not horribly expensive either.  Expensive, but I’ve been wanting one of these for a few years now…hoping to have it around March-ish…  😀  Perfect timing as Spring will be here and the Cherry Blossoms 🙂

Also, I’m in love with the movie ‘Frozen’…love love love.

There’s a song on the soundtrack called ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”, and I kinda want to introduce it to one of my classes.  I have an intro class that I teach songs to once a week.  We’ve done “Wheels on the Bus”, “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”.
The snowman song might be a bit difficult, but I think it might be kind of cool because it’s from a movie soundtrack.  //impressive\\  (And because I like the movie.  haha :D)

Anyway…I think that’s all for now.  Have a good week!  😀

//Edit:  Oh, and I also signed up to play Ultimate Frisbee in the Spring…first time for that, haha.  I’m excited to go play another team sport and to meet some new people 🙂   I’ve never played before, so this should be exciting.  😀

*SQUEE!!*

Hit a milestone with paying off my credit card 😀
Still a ways to go, but feeling PRETTTYYY happy about now.

Here we go, savings account!  Here we go!  Here we go debt-free, here we go!  😛

Ok, I’ve gone a little bit crazy, but if you think that’s nuts, just wait til my credit card (and then student loans) are paid off.  haha 😀

Also, I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from Facebook.  I’m going to try and extend it out for as long as I can.  I feel like it’s a bit of an addiction and my list of things to do has gotten a bit ridiculous.  I want to get back to being productive, going to the gym and reading.