South Korea

10 Quick Questions We Asked Photographer, Travel Writer & English Teacher in South Korea – Stuart Hendricks

Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko Ntombela

March 22, 2019

We’ve all been there, draining 9-5, every day just passing you by, you’re stuck in this loop we call life and you are searching for something to fill the constant void. Teaching English abroad is probably an option you’ve considered, so you’re in luck because we recently spoke to travel writer and photographer, Stuart Hendricks who’s currently teaching English in South Korea.

Interested in teaching English in South Korea? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW › 

 

 

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1. Tell us a bit about where you’re from?

I’m a 29-year-old ESL teacher from Johannesburg, South Africa. I grew up in Cape Town but went to high school in Johannesburg, then went back to Cape Town to study and ended up moving back to Johannesburg to work. I graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2011, with an Honours in Political Communication and went into print publishing before moving into advertising and content, where I worked as an Editor and Account Manager.

2. Why did you choose to teach in South Korea?

After weighing up my options, I decided that South Korea provided the best balance between great pay and travel opportunities.

3. What’s one thing you can’t travel without?

My power bank! That thing has saved me countless times.

 

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4. Take us back, how did you get into photography?

I’ve always been interested in photography, even as a kid when I would use my parents’ old point-and-shoot film cameras. I dabbled in mobile photography before picking up my first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) in 2015 and I haven’t looked back since then.

5. How are you able to balance your teaching job with being a photographer and travel writer?

I’m very fortunate in that I teach 15 hours a week, which means that I have a lot of downtime – also known as desk-warming. I use this time to edit images and videos that I shoot both in a personal capacity and for clients. I also do writing work, with weekly briefs from clients.

The desk-warming time also allows me to scout and research new locations and cities to visit and shoot so that when I do get there, I have a clear idea of the shots I want to get.

(Desk-warming is a contractual obligation for ESL teachers in Korean public schools, where they spend time at their desks, with no particular assignments or tasks to complete. The time is designed for teachers to meet their contractual working hours and prepare lesson plans and other ESL course material.)

 

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6. What sort of unique photographic and writing opportunities does South Korea provide for you?

South Korea has tons of festivals, all of which provide different opportunities to document the country. As an example, there are various cherry blossom festivals taking place across the country to mark the start of spring.

On that note, Korea also has four very distinct seasons which means that you get very different colors throughout the year. Autumn is golden yellow from the leaves, winter is grey and bleak, summer is lush and green and spring, as I mentioned, heralds the start of cherry blossoms in many parts of the country.

Most Korean cities also have sprawling downtown districts with bright LED lights and countless shopfronts, which make for fascinating street photography opportunities.

7. Pick any three of your favorite shots and can you tell us the stories behind them?

 

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  • Seoul – Sunset in Dongdaemun. This was my first trip to Seoul and I had literally just arrived in the city. I took a train to Dongdaemun to shoot the sunset and I was completely overwhelmed by how astoundingly epic the sunset was. Vivid, fiery shades of burnt oranges, yellows and reds. It really was something to behold.

 

 

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  • Hong Kong – Flyby taxi. This shot I got in Hong Kong last year. I used a panning technique to get this image of one of the 20,000 red Hong Kong taxis going through an intersection. It’s probably one of my most rewarding shots.

 

 

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  • Gwangju – Brothers for Life. This was a completely candid street photography shot which I got one night while walking around in Gwangju. In Korea, it’s not unusual for older men to be openly affectionate with one another, and I was lucky enough to catch this moment of these two old friends holding hands.

Teaching Destination Idea: South Korea!

One of the best ways to explore this fascinating country is by teaching English in Korea. By being based here you’ll be earning around $2000 per month and get free accommodation and a bunch of other great benefits to help you realize your travel dreams. Check out our video below on the South Korea teaching experience through TravelBud:

8. What’s been your favorite place to shoot and why?

Hong Kong was absolutely electrifying. I feel in love with the energy of the city, the bright neon lights and the rich stories around every corner. It definitely is a street photographer’s paradise.

9. How is your teacher salary contributing to your travels?

Teaching and doing freelance work is the ideal combination as it allows me to save towards my travels while also sending money home. It’s actually ironic that now I have the money to travel, but not the time. The great thing about earning Korean Won is that it can go quite far when traveling to certain destinations.

I spent the entire month of February in Vietnam living off my salary. With prudent budgeting, it’s definitely possible to visit many places in Southeast Asia during your time as a teacher in South Korea.

 

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10. In closing, do you have any advice for other creatives considering this experience who are little on the nervous side?

Absolutely – it’s a fantastic opportunity to earn an income teaching while honing your craft and building a client base. With more and more work opportunities going remote, the time freedom that ESL teaching provides makes it ideal for creatives looking to travel and design a lifestyle that allows them to work part-time.

To see more of Stuart’s amazing photography and incredible writing, here’s how you can reach him:

Website: www.stuarthendricks.com/ 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stuart.hendricks

Youtube: Stuart Hendricks
Instagram: @Stv.art
Twitter: @S2art_

Interested in Teaching English in South Korea? We’ll send you more info!

INQUIRE NOW › 

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