Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

We don’t have a party


Today with twenty minutes left in class I gave 2.10 some independent study time because they have their midterms next week. As they silently studied, the minutes ticked away, and I worked on my Korean journal. With ten minutes left to go, I hear a whisper from the middle of the room.

“Teacher. In America, do students study like this? Do they have a party?” He paused, shook his head, and sadly whispered “We don’t have a party…”

At this point the entire class bursts out laughing.

I then closed my journal, and explained my general high school life, that I went to school from 7:25 until 2:15 (cue sighs of envy) but then after school I did band, and I had a part-time job. I mentioned that while I studied significantly less, I also had a lot of other activities I was doing, and I was in the higher-level classes. I also explained how in college I would study a lot, and had a study schedule similar to theirs and a part-time job. Surprisingly at this point, I had the entire attention of the class – more so than during the review game we had played earlier.

“Teacher, in high school… boyfriend? Did you have?”

I explained that I had had two boyfriends and gave their names (by the way if either of you are reading this, then they think that your names are cool – especially my first boyfriend’s last name).

“Teacher, in college did you have a boyfriend?”

I explained that in college I had had two more boyfriends (no names given this time).

“Teacher, now, do you have a boyfriend?”
“You liar.”
“Look at my fingers, guys, no boyfriend.”
“That is bad.”
“WHAT? Why is it bad?”
“You should get married. If you are married, then your parents will not worry.”
“Hah, no, I’m too young to marry.”


“TEACHERRRRRR – How old are you?”
“… That’s still a secret.”

posted under Cute Stories

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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.