Presenting: Karla Aguilar Perez – World Traveler, Philosopher and English Teacher in Korea

10. Tell us about your experiences travelling all over Korea and about its people.

Korea is simply an incredible country. I remember that my first trip was to this coastal city called Gangneung. It was for the traditional Chuseok holiday, which is the equivalent of Thanksgiving. My friend Jisook and I travelled from Seoul to the East coast by train. It was a rainy night but the following day it was just perfect. We went to the beach and we visited some local attractions.

In the next months I travelled to surrounding cities such as Suwon, Icheon. I went to Busan, Gyeongju, Ulsan and also to the beautiful island of Jejudo. This allowed me to really immerse myself in the culture and the country I was living in. Everywhere I went people went out of their way to help me and my friends.  I can describe Korean people as kind, generous and helpful in spite of the language barrier.

I made the best friends here and I was really sad to say good bye to them as they took me to the airport to catch my flight back home.  They always remained in my heart until this day.

Guatemala City, Guatemala. Image by Karla Aguilar Perez.

 

11. After your language teaching assignment you went back to Montreal to work with your family. Please tell us about that phase in your life.

During the year I had been away, my dad had started a company and it was going very well for him. So upon my return, I did take some time off to recover from the intensive year I spent in South Korea and I had to look for a new position, a new challenge. Well I was asked to be part of the team and I had but no other choice.  I was responsible for the PR of the company and also the translator as our documents had to be in 3 languages. So that was something I truly enjoyed. There were some difficult & tense moments because I had to take orders from my father and employer.  That lasted almost 3 years until we had to close the company.

 

12. You loved your trip to Australia. What places did you see, what people did you meet? Please tell us more.

Working for the family business had its advantages. I had always dreamed of going to Australia and my dream finally came true in May 2005. I had saved enough funds to travel for around a month. It was a very long trip, approximately 26 hours, but I was so excited! So I started by adventure in Sydney and made my way up the East Coast. I spent about 2 weeks in Brisbane. I went to the Gold Coast and Surfer’s Paradise. Both are very nice! Then I headed over to Airlie Beach (a great party town), the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands & the Great Barrier Reef. I went on a tour of Hamilton, Daydream and Whitsunday Island. I was able to visit one of the best beaches in the world, and my personal favorite, Whitehaven Beach. It is a pure silica white sand beach. It is simply spectacular, out of this world.  We also got to the edge of the Great Barrier Reef which is just a wonder of the world. It is one of the most impressive sights ever.

Unfortunately my time had come to an end and I had to make my way down for the return flight. So I took a plane from Brisbane to Sydney and I enjoyed my last days in the land down under by going to Bondi beach and visiting other parts of the city.

It was one of the best trips ever. Australia is a great country and the people are genuinely nice & caring. They know how to have a good time and they welcome you in their own houses as a special guest. I left with tears in my eyes and I will never forget it. I must go back for another visit and this time I have to make it to the Outback and the south: Victoria, Melbourne, Adelaide and more.

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland, Australia. Image by Karla Aguilar Perez.

 

13. You also spent two years living and working in Toronto. Please tell us about that time and what it meant to you.

Upon my return I decided to acquire more experience in my field of studies, which is translation. So I was researching online and I noticed that there were more opportunities in Toronto for English to French translators. So I made a bold move. I applied to several companies and I was hired by a Japanese carmaker! I was very grateful and fortunate for having the opportunity to work for them. It was definitely a big challenge but I was up for it. I ended up working for them for two years. I did get the chance to travel while I was in Toronto. I went to Costa Rica & El Salvador. I also got the chance to travel around the province, most notably to Wasaga Beach, Blue Mountain, Niagara Falls and the beautiful Bruce Peninsula.  I really enjoyed my time and experience. I learned a lot about myself in the process. I also got more educated and took several classes (finances, spiritual, health) which helped me understand a few but important things.

14. What about the two years back in Montreal after your stint in Toronto?

In all honesty I think I needed to stop and smell the roses. Both my contract and my apartment lease were going to expire at the same time and there was a family situation that influenced my decision to return home.  I also needed some time off to reflect on a few things.  I also started to offer my translation services so I became a freelancer. That lasted for about two years until I became restless and tired of the same routine. I knew I had to do something and go back to one of other my passions in life: teaching.

Ant Village, South Korea. Image by Karla Aguilar Perez.

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