Why Would Anyone Go Back to the US?

Ever since our arrival, Jen and I have basically planned on doing two years here. We’re half way through and I’m beginning to think about what to do a year from now.  A lot of people I know have gone back home to the States, and it seems like plenty of other people are planning to leave.  Why?  The more I think about it, moving back to the US would be a huge financial risk.dollar bill in a mousetrap

I plan to have ~$10,000 saved up by the end of my next contract. As soon as I arrive in the US, it will begin to disappear. The first thing I’ll have to do is buy a car, because you can’t get a job in the US without one. A car means extra financial costs like gasoline, insurance and maintenance, plus a lot of extra stress. Then I’ll have to plunk down a deposit for an apartment and start paying rent.

Then I have to hope I land a job with a reasonable salary. With a car and the fact that I have to pay for my own apartment, I estimate I’ll need to make 50 percent more per year than I do in Korea. Yeah, I spend like a rock star here, but I also don’t have to pay for my housing or a car. Transportation, internet and doctor visits are all very cheap here. Going back into credit card debt looks like a very real possibility, even if I have a job.

Let me also re-emphasize the sobering fact that, thanks to a bunch of loud-mouths at town hall meetings and the distressingly ineffective government who does what they say, I won’t have easy, affordable access to doctors and dentists. This means everything I do becomes a risk. Playing sports? I’m pushing 30 and have seen more than one friend tear an ACL during casual athletic activities. Car accident? “Don’t take me in the ambulance, I can only afford to hitchhike.” Candy at the movies? I’d better not risk a cavity.Jesus Told me Public Health care is wrong

Meanwhile, I really don’t want to make a career out of ESL. Especially not in Korea, where none of my experience counts for anything outside of the country.

One thing’s for sure:  I’m going to have to start taking some risks in the not-too-distant future.



Filed under Daily Life

8 responses to “Why Would Anyone Go Back to the US?

  1. don

    Interesting slant on the job market and career direction… keep having fun while you’re young.

    I have felt the same way as you for most of my life. America is nothing but Wal-Mart stores, Burger King and McDonald’s on every corner, and camouflage overalls on red-necks.

    When you want some new adventure, let me know. We intake new students twice a year here and contracts begin in August/September. We need English Instructors… plus there is the opportunity to expand with math, physics, and Aviation English. As well as Human Factors, and Soft Skills.

    We offer better and much more grand housing and allowances too. I can get you and jen placed here through Dr. Fallon, head of UAE English pedagogy.


  2. I’ve pretty much already decided that I’m going to be in the country for a long long time…But I as well, don’t want to make a career out of ESL. That’s why I’m preparing for my future here. Learning the language gives me huge opportunities for a Post-graduate free ride. Making connections will hopefully get me better jobs and towards editing or publishing. Even a job at an international school is possible…

    …one things for sure. I agree with everything you said. It’s not that staying here is being childish…or prolonging adolescence (although it can be if thats what you want) …it’s just a sound financial decision!

    • Daniel Daugherty

      Unlike you, I really don’t want to be here forever. Definitely not long enough to where I would need to be fluent in the language …

  3. cindy

    Good to hear that you are thinking about such things. Planning is a good thing. And start your plan as early as you can.

    Love Mom

  4. I really appreciate you putting my blog post on your blog site, but I never mentioned I was going back to the U.S. I do plan on visiting though.

    You asked why people are leaving. I’m leaving because I’d like to travel, get my CELTA in Spain, teach English there, learn Spanish fluently and improve my guitar skills. Korea has been an awesome, interesting, difficult, weird, life-changing experience for me, but it’s time to move on. With that being said, I will always remember where my ESL career started, be proud of such accomplishment and where it will take me in the future.

    When I do return to the states (whenever that will be), I want to be able to help people with my experiences whether it’s outreach work, being a translator, an ESL teacher or even a community organizer.

    Best of luck to you and Jen with the decision-making!

    • Daniel Daugherty

      I only said you were leaving, I didn’t try to guess where… it was simply a jumping off point for my own exploration of what to do next.

      It’s funny because you’re pursuing two ideas I’ve lately considered: CELTA and Spanish fluency (I gave up on improving my guitar skills a long time ago).

      My problem with going after CELTA is that it’s another investment — I’ve already gone through the work/expense of earning two degrees. Do I dare continue paying for qualifications, especially in a line of work I’m not passionate about?

      • When I read it, I thought it implied I was going to the States, especially with the question about going back afterward. But I just read it wrong. Woops! Yeah, the CELTA is pretty expensive. If I weren’t passionate about teaching I wouldn’t be investing the money in it.

        But the question now is: what are you passionate about?

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