Back in 2011 when I was a fresh faced English teacher just getting my bearings in South Korea, I met Anazette a fellow EPIK teacher.
At the time she was already starting her second year and proved to be a great resource for getting acclaimed to my new life in Ulsan. She offered great advice on fun things to do in Seoul as well as entertaining activities to do with young learners (I had to teach an elementary school winter camp at one point).
I also appreciated her knowledge on veganism and living a more natural lifestyle. and the many books she told me about as resources.
Anazette was one of the nicest people I met in SoKo and always filled with an abundance of information. I thought it was high time to introduce her on the blog to share her travel story with the readers.
I hope you are left inspired by her life as a passionate teacher and traveler!
1. Please introduce yourself.Hello! My name’s Anazette Hudson and I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. I’m currently 28 and will turn 29 this August. I can’t believe these 20s will soon be behind me! I graduated with a BA in Sociology from The University of Akron in 2010 and went to Korea to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in February 2011.I taught for two years at three different elementary schools through EPIK (English Program in Korea), which helps native English speakers obtain work in the Korean public school system. I left Korea in February 2013 to return to Cleveland, but after a few months, I decided I really wanted to make teaching EFL my career and also get my Masters in this field. I returned to Korea in February 2014 to teach and also take courses for my Masters through an online program at the University of Cincinnati, so I’m both a teacher and a student now!2. What sparked your interest in exploring the world?As far as my interest in exploring the world, I think it’s something that’s very much a part of who I am and I think I can recognize signs from my childhood that have led me in this direction. One of my favorite shows as a kid was “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” (the one on PBS and the animated Saturday morning cartoon.) I loved soaking up all the information about the countries and imagining I was there.I also loved looking at maps and when I was 6, there was this U.S. atlas in the house that had all the states’ birds, flowers, and capitals. I remember memorizing all the capitals and asking my dad to quiz me on them. Yes, I was that kind of kid! When I was in college I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for nine months. It was truly one of the most defining moments of my young adult life and I don’t even want to begin to imagine who I’d be or where I’d be if I hadn’t taken that leap. It was there that I felt a great sense of independence and the feeling that I could survive and adapt to different surroundings. I feel it gave me the urge to go abroad again to work.3. As a young black female, what advice would you give to others inspired by your travels but afraid to take the first step?If there’s something you want to do, just do it. I know it can be easier said than done sometimes when we have so many doubts floating through our heads and we worry about if it’s really meant for us. I just try to realize that we’re only given a short amount of time to experience what life has to offer, so why hold back and deny yourself the chance to experience and live out something wonderful?I took a visit to the Grand Canyon in 2013 and looking at this natural wonder and the millions of years it’s existed and will continue to exist once our lives are over, made me realize the importance of seizing the day and not taking your life for granted. You never know who you may inspire when you choose to follow your dreams. I’m hesitant to put race or gender into this because I feel as a human being, we’re meant to pursue our dreams and realize our potential to feed our souls and shake off inertia and stagnancy. When we do better for ourselves and feel good about where we are, we can spread that energy out towards those around us.4. What do you like to do in your free time?I find that my hobbies and interests change based on where I am in life. They may be consistent hobbies or ones that I pick up for a certain time to meet a particular need in my life for that moment. I’ve always loved reading and listening to music. When I went home in 2013, I took up bike riding and crocheting. I even started making hats and sold some at a few local flea markets. It was something I always wanted to try and I did it. It’s sort of on the backburner for now, but it’s still in me until I’m ready to take it up again.Back in 2012, I started making earrings, but I’ve also taken a break from that. I also play the guitar, but only sporadically. I also enjoy singing and over the summer, I joined an expat choir in Seoul. I sang with the choir for our fall concert season and it was a blast, but I have taken a break to focus on my graduate courses. I’m also a bit of a homebody, so in my free time, I like to catch up on movies and TV shows online. I’m part of a few Meetup groups and an organization called KOTESOL for EFL teachers in Korea, so when there’s an event or conference planned that interests me, I’ll RSVP to go. I also go to Seoul pretty often for shopping or when I feel like getting away and exploring the scenery.5. How is life in South Korea for you? What are your likes and dislikes?Life in Korea is fine so far. This is my second stint here and I feel that for this second time around, I feel a greater sense of focus and direction professionally. The first time I was here (2011-2013), it was about experiencing something new and just gaining international work experience. Now, I feel that teaching is my career path and I’m purposeful right now. I’m still not sure how long I’ll stay here. I’m projecting maybe another two years; at least until my Masters is complete.I like that Korea has a great transportation system, affordable health care, and a plethora of markets to buy fresh foods. The people are also very hospitable and giving and I’ve experienced so many random acts of kindness. As far as dislikes, I’ve learned that no place is perfect and you have to take the good with the not-so-pleasant. When I’ve gone home to visit America, I’ve realized that after spending so much time in Korea, I start to wish America was like Korea in certain ways and vice versa when I get to Korea. I’ve learned the importance of adjusting my expectations and find ways to be content with where I am for the moment. No place will be 100% perfect.6. Where can people get in touch with you if they have any questions? (Feel free to leave your social media links as well)If you’d like to see more of what I’m into and connect with me online, I have a You Tube channel that you may subscribe to. I go by AnaTeachers. I started doing the videos as an outlet when I arrived in Korea in 2011 and the topics vary based on what mood I’m in.
“When we do better for ourselves and feel good about where we are, we can spread that energy out towards those around us.” –Anazette