Lola O.

Hello everyone: I am Olabamidele Oluwadamilola Olanubi..but my friends call my Dele. I have always liked Lola O. as a pen name so I decided to use it for my time in Seoul; a place that will be a new beginning for me.

I am 21 years old and have just graduated from the University of Arizona in good old Tucson with a degree in Finance. I know what your thinking...why is a finance major going to teach English in South Korea. I am getting there so just be patient. I am a Nigerian-American, middle-child, Smallville fanatic, Korean drama/music lover, child of God, Coldplay loving young woman looking to challenge myself to do something a little crazy, very different, but most of all life-altering with this decision to go and teach in Seoul.

It all started about two years ago when I started working with international students in the Business Communications Department at my college. I was a communications coach which means I tutored students on their presentation, oral, and writing skills. Around that time my friend Flo was talking about going to Japan after college to teach English.

*The Epic Moment*
As she talked about going to Japan I began to feel wistful and said to her that I wished I could go to South Korea to teach English and visit her in Japan. Being the smart and wonderful person that she is she said to me that I should go for it. She planted the seed and the idea took root in my head and blossomed into my dream of going to South Korea and teaching English. It wasn't until that simple yet profound moment that I realized I could make this happen. I could go to South Korea for an extended period of time and use teaching as my meal ticket.

The idea was still a little hazy but it was there and that was the most important thing. Now, prior to this Epic Moment I had been well versed in the Korean world as far as drama, music, and culture went through the wonderful Google search engine. My very first kdrama was Full House and after that I was hooked in everything Korean except the food since I had never had an opportunity to eat Korean food other that kimchi.

*The Double Rejection*
Okay, so after this epic moment I started doing my research on different ways to teach in Seoul. I stumbled on the Fulbright ETA program, and the Henry Luce program applied for both over the span of several months. I ended up being rejected by both in the span of two days. I was crushed because it felt like my dream was lost. However, in hindsight I realized that being rejected was exactly what I needed. You see I hadn't been pursuing my true dream all along.

Originally I had wanted to challenge myself to go on my own, but the idea of the support network that came with the two programs was very appealing. I had been scared to follow my dream and so things fell apart.

*Everything Happens For A Reason*
After my weekend of pity partying, I started fresh and began delving into opportunities to teach in either a public school or a private school. I ultimately decided public school was the way to go after reading this blog entry:
Ginger's Official Guide...

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and getting rejected gave me the drive to truly go after this opportunity. I knew I wanted to teach in Seoul and applied for a position with SMOE using Korea Connections as my recruiter. I had two interviews, turned in my application, references, and etc before I got the job offer and accepted it.

If there is one piece of advice for me to give you it would be that having patience will make it all better. Right now I am chilling at home in Phoenix after graduating from college a few weeks ago. I am waiting for my contract so I can get the visa and flight stuff rolling. I am kind of bored with all this free time on my hands but at least it gives me time to update this blog.

So that is my story for the most part...ohh one more thing. The reason I want to live and teach in Seoul is because I want to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to really do it and take all the good/bad that comes with my decision to go. I am 21 years old and I want to grow into a better, wiser, and more courageous woman. What better way to do that than to take a risk, get on plane, go to a foreign country and teach English!

If you have questions don't hesitate to ask me!

Bi Rain: Oh Yeah ft Ai....Bi Rain was in the first Korean drama I saw which was Full House so he holds a special place in my heart when it comes to Korean stuff:)

~Lola O.~

4 Responses
  1. Little M Says:

    hey there Lola!oh wow, i'm the first to comment!i just stumbled over here from soompi. i think it's so cool that you did not give up and that you're pursuing your dream. i'm gonna graduate next year...hopefully :P ... and i've been considering teaching english abroad too, just to travel and see the world, and basically since it sounds like so much of an adventure. we got a few things in common. i love coldplay too! and i'm studying finance too, well actuarial science to be precise. anyway please talk about your experiences in the new job and the country etc, that sounds so exciting!and gud luck with everything

  2. Lola O. Says:

    Thanks for the sweet comment. I will be writing more about my adventures/challenges in Seoul once I get there in August.

    Have an amazing senior that I have graduated I miss the college days..but maybe I am still in the honeymoon phase since it hasn't even been a month since graduation:)

    Look forward to more updates!

  3. Eli Says:

    Hi Lola O.! I just happened to stumble upon your blog when I was researching teaching in Korea, and boy do we have a lot in common! I'm a female Ghanaian-Canadian (although I live in the US now) and I've been into Korean music/drama/culture for a while now (My first korean drama was Full House too!! Haha.) I guess the main difference would be...I'm only 16. So yeah, I have a while to go before I can go teach abroad but it's something I definitely want to do! I'm kinda worried that by the time I get into college and graduate and all that jazz things will completely change and I won't have the opportunity to go anymore :( One of my biggest fears is that their requirements for who can go will change, like demanding a degree in Education or English, two things I probably won't major in.
    Well anyways, I'm eager to see how your experience will be like in Korea (as I read about their culture, I find a lot of similiarities between their culture and Ghanaian/African culture! Do you get this feeling sometimes too?).
    Good Luck!

    P.S. Sorry if this post is a little grammatically awkward; I'm a bit sleep-deprived at the moment.

  4. Lola O. Says:

    Hi Eli! You have a while to go but don't give up if this is something you see yourself doing. As long as you stay updated, you will know what the requirements are. I don't think things will change that fast so think positively!

    I find a lot of similarities as well. I think the biggest similarity is the way our elders are treated. I think there is always common ground to stand on between all cultures.

    Get some rest:)