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  • Learn a new Korean idiom, plus get the GO! Billy Android app!

    This week's episode covers another Korean idiom. Learn about the meaning of the phrase "발 디딜 틈도 없다," and also how to use it.

    Also, check out the brand new GO! Billy Korean app for Android devices!

    It's an app for getting GO! Billy updates, plus a handy word-of-the-day widget to take along with you. Each vocabulary word has its own unique sentence attached to it, created by yours truly.

    It's still new, so please report any bugs you find so they can be fixed. New updates will be added in the future as well.

    And of course, it's absolutely free, and free of ads. You can download it by clicking here.

  • Longer Ways To Go



    IMG_20140413_170613It is a rain-filled Thursday and my last day of teaching at this school. We are doing a K-Pop quiz – the students have to guess which K-Pop song the English lyrics are from, and then I play part of the song. They get nearly ALL of them right, and then sing and dance along. Where they find the time to memorise so much I don’t know. But then, after three days I am humming and nodding along, so maybe it’s not too surprising… It’s not bad this K-Pop stuff.

    I will miss these girls – their grins and shrieks, their uniqueness and the long black hair that sheds daily all over the floor. Their giggled hellos; their thoughtfulness and sense of duty. It has been wonderful to be part of their lives for a while.

    I have started saying goodbye, to people and also to places. Goodbye to this town, this little neighborhood of mine – the flat green roofs and hidden temples, painted brightly in browns and reds and turquoise. The looming, mist-covered mountain and the narrow back streets that night time fills with the hum of cicadas and distant dogs barking their territory.

    The homesickness that grabbed me a few weeks back has passed. Now I am too busy to be anything other than busy. The days that are not wet are hot, and the mountain paths grow with leafy abundance. The cascades of small rocks, dry all winter, have become streams again, and as you trek along damp earth, underneath a green ceiling, you can hear water trickle somewhere in the undergrowth. Dragonflies are back in full force, playing dodge the humans back and forth over the red river-side paths. People carry umbrellas in sunshine and collect herbs from grassy banks.

    It is very kind this country. Kind and peaceful. I didn’t expect to love it here, but I do, very much. And I’m sure a new kind of homesickness is coming – the kind that sends me to London’s Korea town in search of Bibimbap, the background murmur of Korean conversation and maybe someone who has heard of Yangsan, or singing lampposts, or both.

     


  • “I’m Not White and Korea Won’t Hire Me!

    This is a touchy subject. At the same time though, it’s just reality.

    In the Korean ESL job market for private academies, or hagwons, there’s a lot of negative press. And for good reason. You don’t have to look far to hear of the countless horror stories of bright-eyed, hopeful teachers excited to go to Korea being mistreated in many ways. It serves no purpose getting into the details as I’m sure you’ve heard the same stories that I have.

    In addition to the working conditions of some of these schools post-hiring, the recruiting process has left multitudes of people stunned and offended.

    There are numerous recruiters and private academies who make distinctions based on ethnicity.

    This also is not a new concept. It’s a very unfortunate aspect of job acquisition in South Korea, and it won’t be changing any time in the foreseeable future.


  • Xenophobia in the ESL?

    Let me give you a direct link to Adam R Carr‘s blog.

    This is my little addition to his work.

    The School Directors.

    One step beyond the recruiters are the Hagwon owners. Hagwon owners are ultimately the ones that have this decision, and thus culpability, on their shoulders. If anyone is refusing non-white teachers, it has to be them, right?

    As it turns out, this is where it gets a little murky. For some perspective on this point of view, I sat down with English speaking Hagwon owner and blogger Wangjangnim to gain some insight into possible origins of these hiring ‘preferences’.


  • World Cup Identity

     

    by Pablo Harris

     

    Doesn’t take long, living here in the ROK, before you get used to the same mundane questions from the natives. Before you just tune them out altogether. At least my first year, years ago out in the sticks, many brief interrogations/conversations went something like this:

     “Ah, nice to meet you. Where you from?”

     California.

     “Ooohhhh! But you have dark hair, dark eye?”


  • 13 Surprising Facts About Korea

    Who here has been to, or is planning to go to Korea? If so, raise your hands!

    Not long ago, Korea was a small, developing nation closed off to much of the world. However, these days that is rapidly changing.

    Korea has definitely been getting an increasing amount of publicity around the world. In Asia, it’s a lot about K-pop, cosmetics, and Korean dramas. In the West, we often hear news about their neighbors up North. People all around the world hear about Korea’s love for plastic surgery. All of these factors have led to a greater interest in Korea, and also studying the Korean language. Besides the reasons for Korea’s fame, there are a lot of unique and interesting facts that you don’t hear about until you are actually experiencing everyday life here. Below are 13 facts about Korea that may surprise you!


  • Some lovely things

    Being enough of an idealist to want to instil a sense of empowerment in my students, along with ownership of their own learning, I’ve been carrying out periodic learning reviews during this semester. These have basically asked students to reflect on their learning and my teaching and the results - whilst undoubtedly valuable - have also been apt to bring me down a peg or six at times. There was the kid who just scrawled TOO DIFFICULT all over his paper, or (worse) the one that wrote ‘I’m so sad I can’t speak to my friends in your class, because your class is too hard to me ㅠㅠ’. ‘ㅠㅠ’ are characters in the Korean alphabet used to represent crying eyes, and in this particular instance they initiated the appropriate response in me.


  • Memebox: K-Beauty Delivered Straight to Your Door

    It's safe to say that Korea has garnered a reputation for being one of the top beauty destinations of the world. With innovative and multi-functional products and an entertainment industry that constantly cranks out new trends, the world is beginning to turn to South Korea for all their beauty needs. So much so that the nation's cosmetics exports hit a record high of $1.04 billion last year. Additionally, foreign tourists flock to Seoul's cosmetic shops pulling around oversized suitcases (I'm not joking here) to load up on bags and bags of K-beauty goodies to bring back to their homelands.

    But with so many brands and products to chose from, it can be overwhelming to know which are the best, particularly when living overseas.

  • Camping on DaDaePo Beach! 다대포 해수욕장!

    We went beach camping at DaDaePo Beach! 다대포 해수욕장으로 캠핑 갔어요!

    The post Camping on DaDaePo Beach! 다대포 해수욕장! appeared first on Evan and Rachel.


  • The Yeowoorak Festival reinvents traditional Korean Music

    If you’re a music lover coming to Korea, your in luck! Seoul’s music scene is alive and well. Known worldwide for K-pop, you don’t have to be a fan of this genre to enjoy the music Seoul offers. Eastern and Western talent can be enjoyed all around from venues as large as international music festivals held at huge stadiums housing tens of thousands to small dive bars found throughout the city.


  • Reliving Korea’s Tumultuous History at the Korean War Memorial

    There are many museums to see in Korea. In fact, sometimes I feel like it would be an impossible dream to be able to see them all. All kinds of historical museums, art museums, memorials, etc. are found throughout the big cities in Korea as well as the smaller, historical regions like Gyungju, for example.


  • HOLY ONE MILLION VIEWS BATMAN!!

    We have AWESOME news everyone! We have hit a milestone on our Youtube channel! If you can’t guess what it was from the title, then watch the video below!



    WE HIT ONE MILLION VIEWS!

    Thank you to our awesome viewers!!
    We know that it doesn’t mean too much to other youtubers (I don’t see them making videos like this about a million views—it’s usually about getting a million SUBSCRIBERS), but we think it’s important to set realistic goals every year and achieve them.

    Our Youtube goals for 2014

    At the beginning of 2014 we set goals for our channel, and reaching 1 million views was one of them!
    Also on the list:


  • Jinpyo – 진표 (8th Century)

    1243263556_진표대성사진영-e-500

     A Portrait of the monk Jinpyo.

    Hello Again Everyone!!

    This is the eighth installment about prominent Korean monks. This time, I thought I would talk about the famed monk, Jinpyo. Jinpyo was a consciousness-only doctrinal scholar who lived during the Unified Silla Dynasty (668-935) during the 8th century. And Jinpyo’s name, in English, means “symbol of truth.”


  • The August Expat Bloodbath 2014 Edition: A Preview

    Buddhists and motivational speeches have both taught that nothing in life is permanent or guaranteed. This becomes clearer when time is measured in one-year contracts.

    With the first semester coming to a close in South Korean public schools, many expats are preparing for their next adventures. Many of them I consider my friends.

    I wrote about this biannual occurrence, dubbed “The August Expat Bloodbath,” last year. Much of that remains true, so instead of repeating myself, I’ll just quote myself:


  • Beauty Review: Nature Republic Bee Venom Cream

    I picked up this Bee Venom Cream from Nature Republic a while ago, but I wanted to give it time to really start working before I reviewed it on here. What caught my eye immediately was that the packaging said it was "for skin that gets easily irritated and suffers from redness." That is me in a nutshell. Seriously, my skin thinks it's some kind of delicate princess. If you so much as look at it funny it'll get red and dumb. As the weather heats up, this has become even worse, so I decided to try out some Bee Venom Cream. Also, cream with bee venom just sounds cool, right?


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