Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Pink, Sparkly Lip Gloss


Makeup is against the dress code, but that doesn’t stop students from wearing it. Everyone’s heard my rants about students putting on foundation, concealer, eyelid tape (yes that is a thing), etc. Even though I’m at a high-level academic now, where way less students wear makeup than at SGHS, I’ve stopped batting an eye when students with their faces caked in makeup come up to me.

Today I did my create a country lesson for the first time in two years, for the first time since SGHS, actually. We talk about different things needed to create our own country (a political system, industry, education system, military, etc) and students make up their own country name, create a flag, and answer these questions.

One team made the “175 cm Country,” where all residents must be under 175 centimeters. They decorated their flag with short people, and then left what looks to be a pink, sparkly kiss. This is all well and good, until you realize that this was an all-boys class. As much as I hate to play into gender roles – considering makeup isn’t allowed and boys and girls aren’t allowed to talk to each other, where did this boy get the lip gloss from?!

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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.