Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea


There’s no air conditoning in the classrooms, and the ceiling fans are haven’t been cleaned and are an allergy attack waiting to happen, so it’s unbearably hot in the homerooms. Thus, students have been leaving the windows and doors open to try to generate a breeze.

I was standing in front of the chalkboard during my sixth period class (2.7) when I noticed that two of the girls in the front row were staring intently at the slope where my shoulder meets my neck. I assumed I had had some kind of wardrobe malfunction, and as I moved my hand up to my neck to check, I felt something small and hard beneath my fingers. I had no idea what it was, so I grabbed it in between my two fingers and flung the object away from me.  Turns out it was a wasp, and I somehow neatly managed to throw it so that it went straight out the window from the middle of the classroom. Without acknowledging the wasp or breaking my stride, I continued to teach my lesson.

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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.