How Teaching in Korea Gives Me 3 Months in Chiang Mai

Released Tuesday, 27th October 2015
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Do you consider yourself too old to move countries? Maybe you’re a middle aged single woman who’s fearful of the world… or perhaps you have no skills to earn money with if you do shift. All perfectly legitimate barriers to becoming an expat.

Or are they? Barriers often only exist in the mind – and for Nancie McKinnon they weren’t going to be factors that stood in her way. The Nova Scotia native left Halifax 15 years ago, leaving behind a corporate lifestyle and embarking on her new career as an English teacher.

After a period in Taiwan Nancie moved to Korea where she has continued to teach – combining her university position with the opportunity to take a couple of semesters off each year to travel where she spends part of her time in Chiang Mai Thailand and the rest traveling whichever parts of the world take her fancy.

We caught up with Nancie in Seoul where she discusses the process of becoming an English teacher, what she loves about Korea, and why Chiang Mai and Portugal are two places on her radar for an expat to live. You’ll follow Nancies story and enjoy her Travel Photo Thursday updates at

What I learned from speaking with Nancie:

  1. Getting a job that allows you to travel is a great way to go. Nancie gets 15 weeks off per year and uses it wisely! It helps to get out of Korea in winter which can be one of the more expensive times of year to be there thanks to heating costs. Nancie finds she can earn enough when she’s working to cover her lifestyle year round, and generally spends substantially less when staying in Thailand than it costs her in Korea.

  2. Again you don’t need “stuff” I loved Nancie’s comment about spending $500 on a coat or a plane ticket – easy decision to make! She is able to live affordably for around $US1500 per month in Korea and even less when traveling in the rest of South East Asia.

  3. Teaching English can give you the opportunity to progress as a career. Nancie started with no previous experience and is now teaching at University level. You can upgrade as you go. Although teaching English in Korea is not as easy as when she started there are loads of other countries you can explore as destinations where English can be taught relatively easily.

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38m 34s

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