This interview series feature interviews with travel bloggers and writers. If you are a travel blogger and a writer, and have something to share with and say to your readers, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
In this interview, let us meet up with an ESL teacher and a travel blogger Spencer Wayne Broom. Spencer is currently living and teaching in Seoul, South Korea. Meanwhile, he runs a travel blog Travel By Broom, where he documents his travels in South Korea and other Asian countries. He believes that being an ESL teacher is a good way to combine work and travel. I support his journey wholeheartedly, as traveling around the world while working is something I wish I could do in the future.
In addition to teaching English and writing, Spencer is about to work with a local tour company trazy.com. Check out his travels and city guides on Travel By Broom, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Now Spencer is going to tell us more about himself and his teaching experience in South Korea.
Welcome Spencer! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself, your career as an ESL teacher, your blog and your coming adventure?
I have been an ESL teacher in Seoul for two years but just recently started blogging about my travels and experiences as an ESL Teacher. I have traveled to many different countries before coming to Korea but this is my first Asian country and have been able to visit and explore several others during my time here. Japan, Macau, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, and Thailand are all countries I have been able to see and I hope they will not be my last. Next month I plan on changing positions to a new school in southern Seoul and I have plans on exploring more of Korea.
What made you decide to become an ESL teacher and why Korea?
I wanted to travel and explore more of this amazing planet that we live on but could not really afford to give up an income. Becoming an English teacher has afforded me the opportunity to combine traveling and working. I chose South Korea because the opportunities and ability to save money because of the pay scale and cost of living.
South Korea sounds like a great choice. Any culture differences you have experienced between Korea and the USA throughout your teaching?
I have experienced many culture differences between Korea and the US. The working culture here is very different from the US with many Koreans staying at work until very late. Korean children also seem to always be at school going to private academies when they get out of their regular school day.
Working overtime has been a common phenomenon in Asia countries. Hope you do not get to stuck too late in school. What is your biggest challenge of teaching students in Korea?
The biggest challenge would be the language barrier and how to properly discipline kids when they are acting up.
Discipline kids is not an easy job. If there is one piece of advice you would like to give to fellow ESL teachers, what would that be?
Do your research and try to ask as many questions as you can before accepting any position. Try to speak with a current and former teacher at the school you are being offered a position for. Be prepared for surprises and know that you are in a new country, do not assume it is going to be the same as where you are from.
If you would live anywhere in this world now, aside from USA and Korea, where would you choose to live?
This is a very tough question. I greatly enjoyed Thailand and most of South East Asia, I think those countries would be a great place to live for a period of time. I still have yet to make it to Australia or New Zealand but from all accounts, these are simply amazing places.
Thailand is also the country I want to visit on my way back in China. In your food reviews, you wrote posts about Korean BBQ, now tell us your favorite Korean dishes other than BBQ.
I would have to say Dagakalbi, it's a spicy chicken dish and if you add cheese it is amazing. I also have to probably mention Yukgaejang, a very spicy beef soup. After Korean BBQ those are probably from favorite Korean dishes.
Is there anyone bloggers and writers you want to meet in person?
I would have to say probably, Anthony Bourdain. Food has a huge connection with a places culture and I think he does an amazing job at combining the two.
I don't know if I really have a mantra but I just simply enjoy exploring and learning about other cultures first hand and not from a book or TV show.
Thanks Spencer for the interview. Enjoy your travels and teaching in South Korea!
NB: All pictures belong to Spencer Wayne Broom.