My Top 10 for choosing to live abroad

10) Learning about a new culture. Exposing myself to a homogeneous culture has been similar to falling in love. The first three months you stay up late taking in the moments, however then by month 6 the honeymoon period is over and you just want to “take a rest” (ß- Korean saying) or abscond from the diurnal struggle to stay committed to learning about the culture. Yes after 3-4 months of living in Korea I was ready to go back to America to visit friends and families for a couple weeks, then once I arrived in Ohio there was a sense of nostalgia to be in Korea. Funny how your new culture of living inundates your dreams and thoughts once you arrive back in your original home.

9) Learning a new language– Learning Korean gives me 78 millions people plus to communicate with.  Since I live here it’s pragmatic that I become fluent. My aim is to speak this language over my lifetime not just while I live here. Check out my youtube : Within the first three months of learning Korean I suddenly had a dream about my new language. In this dream I was hopping along steps made of the Korean consonants called (자음 ja-um)when I came to the top step I was greeted by King Sejong (세종대왕), the creator of (한국어) the Korean language with a smile J. Korean Dreams for Korean Speakers.

8) Traveling opps– Living in Asia, especially Korea has granted me opps to travel to Japan, China, and the Philippines. South Korea is a spring board for Asia. Living here gives you the chance to save money, plan your life, learn an awesome language, expose yourself to a warm “정- jung”culture, and travel to other countries in close proximity.

8) Exposing new people to African American culture– This may seem silly, but many people assume they know African American culture from watching rap videos, President Obama giving a speech or the outcome the O.J. Simpson trial. Each semester at my school I hold an evening class encouraging students to ask those deeply rooted questions about why black people are so violent or why black people are portrayed in movies as gangsters, thugs, pimps, and ho’s or even what’s the difference between black people in African and the one’s in the U.S.  When answering these questions I ask their references (particularly where they find these narratives about black people), then we try to construct who black people are together . This is how I portray my culture. We are as diverse as any other culture in our thinking, appearance, and mannerisms. Although we are portrayed in movies many times as the typical uneducated or at least inchoate people we are kind, loving, asocial, boorish, audacious, educated, ignorant, blessed, and diligent as the next culture. Don’t get me wrong I love my people and have a lot of pride about African American culture; however I understand the discouraging statistics that making it to 21 years old is a feat or that 44% of black men make up the prison population in America. I exposed my students to the truths about black people and also expose them to how I came to Korea; by doing this I give them the knowledge they need to form their own opinions of my culture. Though discouraging check out this chat with Bill Cosby:

7) Self Develop– Daily devotions, working out, and learning to improve my inert abilities are all aspects of my life since living abroad. While in college I was so caught up in sports, hanging with my aces (shouts to Da Crew D, Mac, and Quis), and being involved on campus to truly devote time to developing myself. Living in South Korea gave me an opportunity to learning ESL pedagogy, Korean language, Korean culture, and other foreign cultures.

6) Food culture- Korean food culture is a wonderful, p. With the blends of spices, fresh vegetables, and tasty poultries Han sik is one of the world’s best foods in my book. Each day you can enjoy a healthy meal that is cheap and relatively healthy if you choose so.

5) Christ- God has blessed me with a great family of Christians around me. When I was researching about Korea I found it encouraging that Christianity was a popular religion here and I can practice openly. Practicing my faith here is one of the greatest aspects to living in South Korea.

4) PedagogyI would have never imagined that at 26 years old I would be an university instructor at a national university, but here I am in living in Korea, engaging in daily conversations with students, developing a sense of devout

3) Interest in studying- While living abroad you can gain a greater passion for studying thanks to the exposure of many different perspectives, subjects, and

2) Expand your social network of friends. While I was in graduate school my supervisor extended to me an ideal to encounter one person from each country and find out about them. Since that challenge I’ve felt inclined to meet diverse people. And yes I genuinely want to know people. There is an art to making people feel that you are interested in their lives. I love hearing people’s story of how arrived at their present situation.

1) Lifetime skills– Becoming a well-rounded asset to another community then taking those skill-sets back to your own community is something not too many folks get the opportunity to do. I have a conviction to be a global citizen and set forth a foot to be an ambassador for my own culture.



My Mom

Waking up for frequent 3am chats with an overly protective mom while laying in my bed in Jinju, South Korea gets exhausting and overtime starts to resonate groans of “Ma I love you but now its 3 here.” She responds “I don’t care I want to talk or in a sweet siren voice I love you.” Her responses to my tiring voice laced with lassitude give me the energy to wake and shake the cobwebs of tiredness out of my system. Her next line is always “I carried you for 9 months and now this is how you speak to me.”  Over the last year and six  months since living in South Korea my mom has had seven brain aneurysms caused from her thrillful life as a rockstar. Her doctor has constantly reminded  her  to stop drinking and smoking (both the legal and illegal cigarettes.), however she only listens to a voice my voice often terse in words during our conversation.

Now that it has been a year and two months since I was home last, my mom is anxious for my return to State Side in August. I, as well, have a small anxiousness to give her a hug, kiss, and “skinship” as Koreans would call, yet there is a feeling of voidnes if I leave the community I have built around me since being in Korea. My mother is so much apart of me and it goes without saying my utmost love and admiration I have for her, however the life I have made here with Christ, church family, foreign community, and Korean family will never be the same. It’s bittersweet to be leaving such a 대박 country in t-minus 4 months. 

Mom I miss you,

Johnnie Lewis Jackson