My name is Jessica Clark. I’m 26 years old, and after YEARS of wanting to travel abroad, I’m finally getting my chance. Starting this August, I will be living and working in South Korea as a teacher (of kids!) for the EPIK program for one year. My Origin Story tells a bit more about exactly how I got to this point in my life, if you’re wondering How does one decide to go teach in Korea, anyway?
I’m a writer in the sense that I process the world around me best by scratching a record of it using symbols on paper (or the digital equivalent). But, I’m also a writer in the sense that I enjoy the craft of writing, of storytelling, of capturing moments in unique and interesting ways and sharing them with others, some of whom will read them and think, “Yes. This. I relate to this.”
(I’m also a huge geek, so you’re much more likely to relate if you–say–have the majority of the dialogue in Buffy the Vampire Slayer memorized.)
I have a Master’s degree in English–general English, I was all over the map (well, the English part of the map) while in grad school, and decided to sample a bit of everything. While getting my degree, I taught English composition and rhetoric to college freshmen, which was a bit of an adventure in and of itself. After graduating, I did a brief stint working for the marketing department of my university, writing content for their major website overhaul, before becoming the Outreach Manager for The Literacy Center, a local non-profit that provides English language and literacy services to adults in the Flagstaff area. My job at TLC is primarily focused on promotion (i.e. finding ways to make people in the community know us–like [insert shameless plug here] their blog Think Literacy) and fundraising, but we have a pretty small staff, so everyone does a little of everything there.
Perhaps most the most interesting thing about my decision to live and work abroad is that I actually really like it where I am. I am happier at my current job than I’ve ever been at work (my amazing co-workers can take a good chunk of the credit for that!), and I really like Flagstaff–I always have. Some people grow up in a town this small and all they want is to get out. That’s never been me. I’ve always liked it here, which is at least part of the reason I didn’t go away to college. But the world is just so much bigger than Flagstaff, and I’ve spent enough of my life not going out into it. It’s time for me to get the hell out of here.
While I’m happy and excited to be leaving, I want to maintain my ties to this place and the people in it. That is what this blog is all about. Through it, I’ll be able to share what life is like for me across 6,000 miles of ocean and 16 hours of time zones. And, I’ll do it using my primary mode of operation: writing.
I know that some of my year away will be great–learning another language and set of cultural norms, eating Korean street food, sight-seeing around Asia, getting international teaching experience, and some of it will be HARD–being far from my family and friends, wishing I could just have some tacos right now, wanting to just have a freaking conversation in English. But even if the “hard” sometimes feels like it outweighs the “great,” I know that my experience will be worthwhile. Either way, I should have A LOT to write about.
If you know me, this blog should serve as a good way to keep track of me. If you don’t know me, and you stumbled upon this blog because of an interest in South Korea or teaching English or some other crazy thing I may have written about, I hope that you get what you were looking for. I’m always open to conversation, so feel free to comment or contact me if something I write strikes your fancy (or whatever slightly clichéd idiom is appropriate there).
Thanks for reading!