Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

On Vacation


It’s almost time to go back to Korea, which means it’s almost time to see my kids again. I needed the vacation, but I’ve missed my little terrors.

My female students told me (jokingly) before I left that I needed to take pictures of EVERYTHING. When I asked them to be a bit more specific, they requested pictures of attractive men and food. I laughed and agreed. When I thought about it some more, I realized that taking pictures of food was actually kind-of brilliant. I’ve always had difficulty describing “American food” to my students, because there is no set “American” menu. Not only does “American” food vary per region, but as someone who lives near the nation’s capital, there are so many diverse food options in my area. Whenever my students ask me if I eat rice in America I just have to laugh. I explain to them that not only have I eaten rice, but I’ve eaten kimchi. When they ask where, I reply that it’s fairly common at Korean restaurants. So, I’m not sure when I’ll use these pictures – maybe in my first lesson, maybe later as part of a food unit, but I’m excited to answer their food questions with pictures.

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mmmm I love food.

I still have four more days in the states, so obviously I’m not finished collecting pictures. If there’s anyone reading this that is upset because I left out a quintessentially American food do both of us a favor and take a picture for me to share with my students, and enjoy it! My students will either thank you, or curse you, depending on how hungry they are during class.

posted under Travel
3 Comments to

“On Vacation”

  1. Avatar August 20th, 2012 at 4:06 am Reverend Says:

    Man, you’ve been teaching in Korea for a while now. Still at your second school? You are making a career over there, how good is your Korean?

    Your blog is a constant in a world of change, great stuff. I have to feature your ongoing work, I imagine you graduated from UMW two or three years ago now, correct?

  2. Avatar August 23rd, 2012 at 2:56 pm epotosky Says:

    Still at my second school and starting the semester on Monday. It really does feel strange to think that at the end of this year (my third year) I’ll have been teaching at a Korean high school for as long as Korean students attend school.

    Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on if you’re my parents, this will be my last year in Korea, so I have to make the most of it. F*lbright only lets you stay up to three years. As there’s no viable career in teaching as a foreign English teacher in Korea, even if I want to stay longer it doesn’t make sense to switch programs and switch schools again.

  3. Avatar August 23rd, 2012 at 3:01 pm epotosky Says:

    Ah, I didn’t see the whole comment, let’s try that again.

    My Korean’s alright… but nowhere near a level where I could do anything professional with it. I’ve been trying to study, but I’m stuck in “intermediate purgatory” as some people like to call it, where you’re learning words and grammar forms that you don’t use in everyday conversation, and thus don’t stick as well in your memory. However my time in Korea really has helped me define what I want to do after this – I’d love to go back to the states and continue studying Korean/Korea and hopefully get a job that allows me to do so. I graduated in 2010, so by the time I get back to the states for good, I’ll have spent three years out of college and living in Korea with F*lbright.

    I love the UMW blogging platform. I really enjoy going onto the UMW Abroad page. It’s fun to read about everyone’s different experiences.

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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.