Saturday, February 28, 2009


I'm in Rural Korea. Ghetto, decrepid, decaying, rural Korea. Since all the young people leave town as soon as they can, it really doesnt seem like there is much to do. The area of town I'm in has a lot of areas that look like they are just fronts for illegal prostitution (I KNOW some of them are, because I asked the other teachers). It makes me nervous to go into bars/clubs/noraebong(karaoke)/salons/coffee shops for this reason. Alot of my fellow teachers are fine with it, though. I think that even though it is illegal, there is the sense that it isn't ethically wrong (like my view on speeding in the states).

Since my c0-teacher left town for the weekend, I hung out with two other EPIK teachers in the same town as me today, and I have been trying to keep in touch with my other friends from EPIK also. I made about 15-20 friends during the 8-day orientation that I am going to try to keep in touch with. I spoke to Katie today, and she also is in a small apartment and is working at a rundown school. It made us both feel alot better to know that we were facing the same hardships. Also, I was really glad that Kristine and James took me out on town for a few hours today, as I was in a pretty bad mood this morning.

Friday, February 27, 2009

my town

So I found out my town yesterday and got here today about 4 hours ago. I am in Gimcheon, which is in Gyeongbuk province. It sounded great when they told me about it yesterday. It is the 3rd largest city in the province. I am teaching at a high school like I requested. Elementary school teachers have to follow pre-set lessons, so I didnt want to do that. I figured High School students would be able to better teach me about Korean culture. Also, they told me that the school was hard to get into and was known for its good academics. So I was pretty stoked yesterday.

Today I was told that it was an all boys school and even the vast majority of the school staff is men. Also, the town is really decrepid. All of the young people move away, so even though it is a big town it is not modern at all and there aren't many people my age. I met my co-teacher, the head of the English department, the Vice Principal, and some other people at the school. Then I had to pick out my apartment in 1 day. All of my choices were pretty abyssmal, so I just picked a studio apartment that was near the school.

Since I wont be getting my apartment until Monday, I am staying at my co-teacher's studio for the weekend. He is at his parent's place in Daegu, about an hour away, so I have the place to myself. I am trying to find one of my EPIK friends in the same area as me to do something this weekend so I'm not so bored, but none of them are being neglected by their co-teachers.

On a positive note, Gimcheon High School has never had a foreign teacher before so the students should be very interested, which will make my job easier. The semester starts on Monday the 2nd, but I wont actually be teaching at all for a week or two. I will only see the students once per week, so I wont even have to prepare a real lesson for the first couple of weeks, because I can just talk about myself and where I am from.

Monday, February 23, 2009

dynamic Korea

Everything is going great. On Sunday we went to a tourist spot called Korean Folk Village to learn about traditional Korean life and Korean history. I had some mystery "korean sausage soup" with little thingys inside that looked like pup-peronis. In hindsight I think they were animal intestines or something. During the day we have lots of lectures from Korean and foreign speakers. All of the Koreans giving lectures, running the program, or working on campus are friendly beyond all expectations and they are always smiling and having a good time.

Even though we are in a small town for orientation, the night life is really fun too. My favorite place thus far has been Club Sizi. There are tons of restaurant bars around too. They wont serve you alcohol unless you order food also. It's really easy to make friends with Korean people. At one restaurant we went to the guys and girls next to us gave us some pieces of cake and then were doing shots with us. Sometimes we run into people that want to talk to/high five/hug/take pictures with us just because we are foreign. My korean is good enough that I was able to order drinks off of the menu the other night ^^

Gotta go to Korean class, cya!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Landed in Korea last night and got to the campus of Dankook (단극) University after 26 hours of travel. I feel right at home, because it was snowing when I arrived last night. My roommate for orientation is from South Africa; he was really excited to see snow for the first time.

A few pictures of my dorm and campus... the room is mostly western style but the shower didnt have any doors on it! The campus is really beautiful but I havent had a chance to take any pictures outside if my room. There are alot of signs in English and Chinese.

Friday, February 6, 2009

minor details

To be serious for a moment... should anyone stumble upon this and be curious... here is my itinerary:

Feb 7th - Feb 17th: Striking the perfect balance between preparing for my trip and relaxing.
Feb 18th, 6am: Leave for Korea
Feb 19th, 6pm (local time): Arrive in Korea at Incheon International Airport
Feb 20th - 28th: Attend orientation at Dankook University in Cheonan City (an hour south of Seoul)

after that it gets a little fuzzy. Stay tuned for some great stories about how I humiliate myself in public via culture or language differences!

still in beta

If you were a stranger, I'd know how to say goodbye...