Is it time to head home or stay in Korea? A 10 question quiz

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It’s that age-old question for Korean expats: is it time to head back home? As 2010 ends and 2011 begins, New Years resolutions are made, and people ever-so-briefly consider where they are and where they’re going. Is it time to head home? Although I recently asked you wonderful readers “After Korea, what’s next?” not too long ago, this might be of help.

1. You came to Korea with two suitcases and a carry-on, and would leave with the same. How difficult will it be to pack it up and move on?

A: Very difficult – my collection of clothes has grown over the years!

B: A bit of a challenge – it’ll take some doing, but I’ll make it all fit.

C: The toaster oven and drying rack can be sold on craigslist. No biggie.

D: No problem at all – all my material possessions in Korea still fit in two suitcases and a carry on.

It’s that age-old question for Korean expats: is it time to head back home? As 2010 ends and 2011 begins, New Years resolutions are made, and people ever-so-briefly consider where they are and where they’re going. Is it time to head home? Although I recently asked you wonderful readers “After Korea, what’s next?” not too long ago, this might be of help.

1. You came to Korea with two suitcases and a carry-on, and would leave with the same. How difficult will it be to pack it up and move on?

A: Very difficult – my collection of clothes has grown over the years!

B: A bit of a challenge – it’ll take some doing, but I’ll make it all fit.

C: The toaster oven and drying rack can be sold on craigslist. No biggie.

D: No problem at all – all my material possessions in Korea still fit in two suitcases and a carry on.

2. How are you faring with Korean food?

A: Meh, it’s fine – I’m used to it, but I don’t eat it all the time.

B: It’s cool – I still eat it on a regular basis.

C: It’s great – I haven’t been to a Western restaurant in weeks.

D: It’ll be a cold day in hell when I eat another bite of kimchi.

3. How much do you miss your friends and family back home?

A: A lot – pictures, care packages and Skype video calls just aren’t enough.

B: Some – Facebook and Skype is fine for keeping up with everyone.

C: A little – we’ll talk by e-mail, but I have plenty of friends around Korea.

D: Almost none – what was my youngest brother’s birthday again…?

4. How confident are you in your ability to find gainful employment at home / your next location?

A: Very confident – I’ve prepped my resume and have already scouted out a few possibilities.

B: Confident enough – just working on putting my drinking teaching private lessons clubbing experiences in Korea into marketable skills.

C: Somewhat confident – my family is making a few inquiries.

D: Not too confident – but hey, room and board at my parents’ house is free!

5. Set a timer or countdown for exactly one minute. Say or write down all the products you miss from your home country. Go. How many did you come up with?

A: 0-1

B: 2-4

C: 5-9

D: 10 or more

6. What do you miss most about home?

A: The people (my family, my friends)

B: The food

C: The freedom / lifestyle I had back home

D: The ability to use English everywhere I went

7: Your best friend back home is getting married two months from now. Your contract ends in a month and a half. What is the first thought that pops into your head?

A: Sweet! I’ll be home, AND I’ll see my best friend get married!

B: Good timing, but I’d be home anyway.

C: Good thing I’ll be home, or else I’d have to ask for a vacation to see them get hitched.

D: Yeah, I saw the announcement on Facebook – note to self: send a gift and a ‘sorry I’m on the other side of the world’ note.

8. Assume you’ve decided to leave Korea. What is the most likely thing you’ll say to the friends you’ve made during your time in Korea?

A. We’ll stay in touch… right?

B. It’s been fun, but it’s time to move on.

C. Thanks for the memories – if you’re ever in my area, send me an e-mail.

D. See ya – wouldn’t want to be ya!

9. Do you think you’d ever want to come back to Korea?

A. As a teacher? No. As a tourist? Sure, it’s a possibility.

B. Sure – I might fare better the second time around since I know what to expect.

C. No way, no how, I’m done.

D. Let’s see how home treats me first.

10. Picture yourself at 60 years old, looking back at your memories in Korea. What comes to mind?

A: The great times with friends

B: The struggle to learn Korean

C: The sights you got to see

D: Immigration drama

Don’t look down until you’ve answered all 10 questions…

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The results:

1. A: 5 B: 3 C: 1 D: 0

Being connected with your Korean possessions may unconsciously indicate a desire to stay. It could also mean you’ve gotten comfortable here, and it might be hard to tear you away.

2. A: 3 B: 4 C: 5 D: 0

There’s enough within the spectrum of Korean food to fit every palate in the world. You want spicy? Kimchi jjigae! You want meat? Galbi! You want vegan? Buddhist temple food and special-order bibimbap! Even mild enthusiasm for it is fine, but turning your back on it is a sure sign that it’s time to move on.

3. A: 0 B: 2 C: 1 D: 5

This one is easy enough to understand. Just because you miss them doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up and fly home – it just means you miss the people you haven’t seen in awhile.

4. A: 1 B: 3 C: 4 D: 5

A very simple question – why move from a job you have to the unemployment line? Unless you’re reasonably sure of gainful employment (or have no need for it), it’s best to make sure this aspect of life is taken care of.

5. A: 5 B: 3 C: 2 D: 1

Korea offers a version of perhaps 95% of the products available elsewhere. No, that’s not everything, but it’s close. The things you miss will serve as a reminder of what you’re not able to find here. (For the record, the only one that came to mind were Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and I’ve seen those around Dongdaemun).

6. A: 5 B: 3 C: 3 D: 2

If home is where your heart is, the people you know and love are what fill your heart.

7. A: 0 B: 1 C: 4 D: 5

You’ll likely fall on one end of the spectrum or the other here.

8. A: 5 B: 3 C: 2 D: 0

Sure, you’ll miss your friends in Korea… won’t you? Not missing them or focusing on your exit means you’re ready to go.

9. A: 3 B: 4 C: 0 D: 1

It’s a sneaky way of asking how final your thoughts are about Korea. If you’re still open-ended and might give the country a second / third chance, that’s a sign you might just need a break.

10. A: 5 B: 1 C: 3 D: 0

It’s tough to predict what you’ll look back on decades from now, but the positive or negative aspects are what’s asked about here.

Time to total your points up!

0 – 5 points: Two words: midnight run. Try not to burn any bridges on your way out of Incheon, and make sure you packed everything.

6 – 20 points: You’re ready to head home or move on. Whatever’s happened, you’re done with Korea, and you’re not looking back. Hope things at home / your next location treat you better.

20 – 34 points: Take a vacation from Korea / go home to recharge your batteries. You might be tired of the kimchi and miss home a bit, but you’re doing fine here for the most part. When your contract is up, consider going home for awhile.

35 – 49 points: Stick around – the grass is greener on the Korean side. If you’ve been feeling disconnected from the people back home, make sure that webcam still works and call them up. Otherwise, you’re doing pretty well here.

50 points: try again, you over-achiever – only 49 points were possible on the test.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2010

This post was originally published on my blog,Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2011

This post was originally published on my blog,Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.



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