Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

November17

We had a warm spurt for late October and early November. It almost helped me forget that this time last year I was getting sick every other week and absolutely freezing.  Alas, now winter is here in full force, and everyday as I walk to school I can see my breath. I also remember this time last year my coffee intake went way up, because I couldn’t stand to be outside for more than thirty minutes at a time, so whenever I met my friends we had coffee.

Seriously though, all I want to do is wear sweaters and eat soup.

This has been a stressful week. Yesterday I took a team of four students to YDAC, a Youth Diplomacy Action Conference that was thought of and created by a fellow f*brighter. Jeollado (broken into two parts, Jeollabukdo -north- and Jeollanamdo -south-) generally has less resources than many of the other provinces (especially Gyeonggido, the province that surounds Seoul) so this Jeollabukdo-residing f*brighter decided to create a diplomacy simulation that was targeted towards high school students in Jeolla. It was ridiculously fun.

I had to choose a team of four students (I chose one second grade boy and girl and one first grade boy and girl to show an accurate representation of our school, and also to try to combat the gender division/grade division in school) and they had to write a mock resolution. We wrote one on global warming:

A Resolution on Global Warming

1. Whereas, the world became industrialized and the use of fossil fuels increased; and

 2. Whereas, carbon dioxide is increasing because of using fossil fuels; and

 3. Whereas, cars and factories, the source of greenhouse gases are increasing; and

 4. Whereas, harmful greenhouse gases lead to changing climate which causes abnormal weather and melting icebergs; therefore

 BE IT RESOLVED THAT Factories in developed countries should decrease their carbon dioxide emissions by 35% within 10 years.

Then the students had to prepare a 5 – 7 minute speech expanding on their resolution, as well as read resolutions that the 8 other schools had prepared and think up some counter-arguments or points to support them. They also had to later on in the day read a mock situation and respond to it.

I was really proud of not only my students but also all the students from the other schools that came.  My students seemed to really enjoy the conference. It was also fun just being able to hang with them, and having them want to speak to me in English.

On top of all that, today is the SCHOOL FESTIVAL! Oh man, I’m excited, even if many of the students aren’t. Turns out the reason why we don’t have classes today isn’t entirely because of the festival – all morning classes are cancelled for the school-wide essay competition. What fun. Also, there’s currently some school drama going down, because they had to cut some of the acts in the school festival due to time restraints, and ended up cutting some of the homeroom dances/skits, so now some of the students are mad at some of the faculty. Anyway, I’m still excited. One of my YDAC kids (Future Diplomat – referred to him a bit earlier) is apparently performing in the my school’s shortened rendition of Grease as “로저” which translates to “Roger” which is apparently Putzy’s name in the musical. I’m SO EXCITED to see FD as Putzy, it’s going to be hillarious.

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안녕하세요! My name is Emily and when I started this blog I had received a 2010 – 2011 F*lbright grant to teach English in South Korea.  I then decided to apply to renew my grant, so I am now staying in Korea until July 2012. This blog is not an official F*lbright Program blog, and the views expressed are my own and not those of the F*lbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Philosophy Pre-Law and Classical Civilizations, and found myself 3 months later teaching English at SGHS. The town that I taught in, SG, is a small town of 12,000 people, an “읍” (eup) rather than a “시” (shi – city), and though it was sometimes hard teaching in such a small town I really enjoyed the unique experience of being the first foreign teacher SGHS had ever had. I lived in the largest part of the county which is significantly bigger (40,000 people) than the town the school is situated in, but is also considered rural by Korean standards.

During my second grant period (2011-2012) I decided to change schools and I currently teach at CPHS which is located in an even smaller town than previously, in Jeollanamdo.

This blog is meant to serve as a reflection not only of being a Native English Speaking teacher in Korea, but also of living as a foreigner in rural Korea.