Now that I've decided that this year will be my last in Korea, I've started a list of goals that I want to accomplish during this year before I leave and head home. Some are career-related, some having to do with travel, while others are more geared towards personal achievement. I won't call them resolutions, but rather guidelines for a productive year.
One of the main things I want to accomplish this year is to get into graduate school or to start work in NC public schools through a lateral-entry program. It all depends on my application, resume, and experience--and how that will weigh into an admissions decision. There are two universities in NC that offer lateral entry jobs through the NC Teach program: Western Carolina and Eastern Carolina. They are about as far apart as you can get geographically and socially, as each campus has a different atmosphere.
There is also a possibility of going through another teacher program called The New Teacher Project, which places teachers in high-need areas. You go through a summer training program first, and then you start teaching in the fall. In a way, it is similar to Teach for America. I'll be applying for that as well.
In order to prepare for all of this, I'll have to start studying for my teacher licensing exam, the PRAXIS test. Regardless of what route I take to get started teaching in NC, I'll have to take this test. The PRAXIS I is the general teaching exam, while the PRAXIS II is a subject test suited to potential high school teachers. From what I've heard from other teaching friends, the PRAXIS I should be nothing to worry about. Of course, it's been about 5 years since I took any kind of standardized test, so I feel like I need to at least do a little prep to make sure I still know basic concepts. The more time I've spent in Korea, the more I feel like I'm losing bits and pieces of my advanced English ability, and that doesn't sit well with me!
Another goal for this year is to travel to a few more places that I haven't gotten to go to yet in Asia. I'm hoping to get to Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong by the time I leave next year. I went to Australia this past year and loved every minute of it. And I got the chance to go camping on a small Korean island with friends, not to mention explore more of the province where I live. Money and time providing, more traveling will happen this year!
I also want to keep up with exercising and eating right. It was a big accomplishment last year for me personally, losing 10 kilograms (22lbs) and feeling better about how I looked in clothes. Buying smaller clothes and being a different size was a big confidence booster. Even better was being able to finally buy clothes in Korea, where sizes run in small, extra-small, and impossibly tiny. "Free" size didn't seem to be any freer than its minuscule counterparts, sadly enough.
I started out strong with my blog last year and kept it going through most of the year, but towards the end it was more difficult to stay focused with everything else going on in life. This year I want to continue writing and bringing life in Korea to you all, even though other things might get in the way. And although I might be leaving Korea in the next year, I'd like to transition this blog from my life overseas to my life back home. It won't be saying goodbye, but rather starting a new chapter in my life. Who knows what the next chronicle may be?