I have been accepted to the program called "Teach and Learn Georgia", a volunteer teaching program in the Republic of Georgia. I will be teaching there from approximately September 30th until December 23rd, basically one semester. It's a program that places English teachers (from any nationality as long as they are fluent in English) in local schools in Georgia. Not only are you expected to teach, but you are also expected to integrate into the community. Teachers are placed in Georgian homes with host families to encourage them to learn the language and the culture. I'm sure it helps the English of the hosts as well.
The program is pretty excellent, for a volunteer program. "Volunteers" receive round trip airfare, health insurance and a stipend of 500 GEL ($300 by today's exchange rate). 100 GEL of that is paid to the host family, leaving you with 400 GEL ($240) for living expenses. The stipend sounds very low, perhaps, but it is much higher than a typical local person's salary, and therefore should be plenty to get by on even with some local travel in the region. And the thing that attracted me was the fact that you didn't have to sign a year contract. I'm already itching to go back to Korea, but I think I need a little change of pace for a while. Three months is perfect I think, though who knows how I'll feel once I get there...
I think most people couldn't find Georgia on a map if they tried, so I'll give you a little help. It's south of Russia and north of Turkey and Armenia. Perhaps you heard about them because there was a war there in 2008 with Russia. One region has essentially broken away from the country and Russia supported their succession waging a 5 day battle with Georgia. Things seem to have settled down for the most part in the country and they are now trying to quickly improve the economy to encourage more tourists to visit. From the sounds of it, a lot of corruption that once existed has been stamped out and the country is developing. Oh, and apparently some people claim that it is the birthplace of wine, which is certainly another incentive to check this place out.
(It's the dark brown one on the left hand side)
I'm really excited for something new and COMPLETELY different from anywhere else I've ever been, but I'm really sad too that I'm delaying my return to Korea. The boyfriend was here all week and we had a great time in Boston and Vermont. It makes me sad that I will not see him now for over 3 months. I'm hoping to return to Korea early January (if anyone knows of any awesome non-kindy jobs in central Seoul starting around then, please hook me up!) so fear not, my loyal followers, I'm not done with my Korean adventures. I hope that you continue to read as I explore a new part of the world. Maybe I'll even inspire one or two of you to make a trip to Georgia yourselves.