Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Truck Day


Well. It’s truck day. That’s my name for it, anyway, I don’t think the Korean teachers have a specific name for it. It’s just the day that a giant truck appears on the dirt exercise field, and third grade students run towards it, dumping their books on the ground. The truck picks up the books with it’s… grabby arm thing (I just spent a good five minutes googling it and trying to figure out what it’s called, if you know, please enlighten me) and the books are taken away, presumably to be recycled or perhaps BURNED along with all of the practice tests they’ve ever taken. I’m only partially joking about the burning.

The best thing about today is seeing the third graders genuinely laugh. Granted, it’s a sort-of maniacal and strange laugh as they run towards the truck, dump their books on the ground, dance around a little, and leave, but it’s a laugh.

Enjoy some pictures of the truck, its grabby arm thing, and books.


A third grader looks back, watching the books that she studied for the last three years, now indistinguishable from countless other books, disappear from her life.

Female students make a pile far to the right of the trick. My co-teacher and I, watching this spectacle, hypothesize that sooner or later someone will light these books on fire, just for kicks.

It’s funny how three years of studying can be reduced to a truckfull of paper, each book indistinguishable from the other.


Happy Monday! Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope that at least once in your life you get the opportunity to have a truck come, collect the thing that most troubles you, and take it away.


EDIT: Apparently some of these pictures weren’t coming up. I’ve reuploaded the pictures, so hopefully it will work.

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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.