Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

YDAC Take 2


I’ve been working with four students to prepare for a diplomacy conference that a fellow Jeolla ETA put together. For this conference, we have to act like we are the National Assembly, identify a problem and write a resolution and speech about our solution to that problem. My team decided to write about youth unemployment in Korea. We met Wednesday and Thursday and did some preliminary research and created our resolution, then I told them that we’d meet again on Monday to start working on the speeches, but I wanted them to use the weekend to do some brainstorming.

Today I came into the office to find, on my desk, a hand-written bullet-pointed list developed by one of the students (a first-grade girl). Attached to it was a note: “I’m sorry to make you busy, Emily. But it occurred to me that making preliminary questions can help us. I think we should make our standpoint clear to answer to some questions abut our speech and be perfect and confident even though we will be asked difficult questions. So, I’d like to ask you to select some questions which are good enough to prepare.” The questions she’s come up with, are not only grammatically almost entirely correct, but the vocab she uses is incredibly high-level, and the content is great as well.

For example [one of our ideas to reduce the growing youth unemployment rate was to have the government help subsidize the hiring costs of mid-sized companies] “Suppose that we were able to get additional finance by abrogating unnecessary policies. Is a youth unemployment problem he most imminent even though there are also other problems that need more finance to be resolved?… Do small enterprises have valuable visions to be invested? (If an enterprise which had been subsidized became bankrupt, it would be a waste of finance. A government has to provide welfare but a government is not a charity.)”

I’m so excited to keep working with these students.


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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.