Life Update & Writing Careers Post-Fulbright

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Hello, I’m alive. And this blog is too.

I’ve actually thought a lot about this blog and what to do with it. I was planning on a nice, happy ending to wrap it up now that I’m not in Korea. Maybe something reflective about finally having adjusted and being happily employed.

But comments and follows kept trickling in, and it felt like a shame to let this blog just fade into oblivion.

So I thought about what else I could write, with the help of a quick Google search on what to do with travel blogs when you’re not traveling.

It turns out I still have lots of ideas and content that I’d like to write about. Some of these ideas are even partial drafts gathering dust in my word docs that I never finished and published. And brainstorming for this blog turned out to be a lot more fun than writing for my art blog.

So why let it go?

I’ve decided to continue posting content I never got around to doing while I was in Korea – that post on beauty standards that Brittany was expecting, for example – and keep this going until the next time I go to Korea. Because I’ll definitely be back for a visit someday.

 

Am I Still Unemployed?

I’m guessing that if you follow this blog, or know me, this is something you’re wondering. And all you prospective Fulbrighters out there want to know how my Fulbright helped me get a job.

I still feel unemployed, although I guess technically I’m not. I’m freelance blogging for a company, hence the deep thoughts about this blog.

I write for low rates on a strangely wide range of topics, which is sometimes enjoyable – like how I’m learning about digital marketing through this week’s batch of articles – and sometimes ridiculously dull – like when I wrote about golf, which is the most boring sport in existence.

I don’t look for my own clients; the work is sent directly to my inbox. That part is nice.

While I was in Korea, I discovered that I really like blogging. Although this blog is informal and reads more like a travel diary at times, blogging consistently for two years is no joke. You develop skills as you mess around with web design, curate content, and figure out a rhythm that works for you.

I could keep freelance blogging for a living. As in, it’s feasible. I don’t know that it’s really what I want to do. I’m not sure what I want to do, period. So if you know what field you want to work in or have concrete career goals going into a Fulbright grant, you won’t have this problem.

 

Writing/Editing Careers and Fulbright

Now that I’m focused on this little world of blogging, I wish I’d done more writing in Korea. So maybe my experience can serve as a tale of caution (or just advice) to those who want to go into a writing/editing career.

These are the main things I would have done differently, had I known I’d later be flirting with a writing-related career:

1.) I passed over some unpaid opportunities while in Korea, like writing for a local expat magazines and websites.

If I could go back in time, I’d definitely take those opportunities, but since I didn’t know I’d be here today, it made sense for me to ignore them before. There is something nice about focusing on the present instead of always trying to prepare for the future, and I don’t regret that.

However, it would’ve been much easier to get my name online through the expat and Fulbright communities in Korea than it is now.

2.) Working on Infusion, Fulbright Korea’s literary magazine, was a good choice.

I was a staff editor at Infusion for two years and also contributed my writing. My name is on the web more than I realized because of Infusion, and it looks good. One of the writing samples I used to get my current job was Infusion work.

3.) I should have submitted more web pieces and city guide reviews to Infusion.

Hear me out, this isn’t just a plug for Infusion, I promise.

It’s difficult to get your work in the magazine – there are a lot of amazing writers in Fulbright. But if it’s publication and getting writing samples online that you want, there’s nothing wrong with having your work published exclusively online.

Infusion also has a section on their website devoted to “city guide reviews,” or restaurant reviews. If you’re looking to advance or jump-start a career in writing, do some reviews.

Many of the pieces submitted to Infusion are creative. They’re polished, enjoyable stories about the writer’s experiences in Korea.

But they’re generally not what potential clients want when they ask for a writing sample.

City guide reviews, on the other hand, can fit the bill. Writing reviews is a real and valuable skill that people will pay you to do. So my advice would be to write reviews and make them detailed and professional.

Bonus: If you do all this, the Infusion editor-in-chief and staff will love you.

 

And that’s where I’m at, four months post-Fulbright grant.

Now that I’m back at this blog, if there are any topics you’re interested in hearing me cover, let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message.

Infusion 9.2 and Final Dinner 2016

The second edition of Infusion was just released! We received the print edition at Final Dinner and you can now read it online here.

Final Dinner this year passed by somewhat uneventfully – perhaps since I’ve done it before – although this was my final Final Dinner. It was great to see everyone again, but perhaps it hasn’t completely hit me that I’m leaving. In an attempt to stay productive and simply enjoy my time here, my emotions are still locked down.

We had our dinner at the Yongsan Army base, which always feels like a miniature American city smack dab in the middle of Seoul. There are more details about the dinner here, in an article written by the Fulbright Korea Alumni Relations committee.

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We look surprisingly compact for 127 people.

Being at the end of a period inevitably brings reflection about the beginning. Remember one of, if not the biggest reason I wanted to teach English in Korea? To meet my extended family. For the first time.

I’ve blogged about my first Chuseok with my Korean family, but I had a lot more to process. And now you can read a more refined, selective version of my thoughts in a piece published in this edition of Infusion.

You can find the piece through the Infusion link above or directly here. I’m happy to say that my writing is featured alongside my art, a piece depicting my grandfather titled “Avid Reader.”

I hope you enjoy this and the many other talented pieces in Infusion. Although I may be biased, I can confidently say this edition is an absolutely wonderful read.