english program in korea

Korean Students Write the Darndest Things

Part of my job as a high school English teacher in South Korea involved giving out, and then correcting, weekly creative writing assignments. It quickly became one of my favorite parts of the experience, as it allowed my students to apply the language with more freedom and personality. It also helped me to get to know them in a more private way. From unintentionally funny remarks, to profound realizations, their writing was a joy to read.

Below is a small collection of some of my favorite excerpts. I’ve also taken the liberty of underscoring their messages with related images. Perhaps this could have been made into some sort of class project… Enjoy!


It’s not “goodbye.” It’s “안녕히 계세요.”

2-3 students

Goodbyes are always tough. But yesterday, during my last day as an English teacher at Ulsan Sports Science School, I experienced a whole new level of emotional farewells. Over the past year, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers and enthusiastic students, all of whom consistently went above and beyond with their generosity, kindness and sincerity to make me feel welcomed and cared for.


Vlog Entry #20: One EPIK Year in Review

Tomorrow marks my last day as an English teacher with EPIK. Without a doubt, this year was full of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, but also the greatest adventures and people. As Avicii says in this video’s song: “All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost.”


10 EPIK Haikus

As my year with EPIK comes to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about the experience. Below are 10 haikus that reflect what I’ve learned while living, teaching and traveling in South Korea (though really they’re applicable to anyone teaching or living abroad anywhere!).

 


Panoramic Korea

Below is a collection of panoramic shots taken throughout my year in Korea! Enjoy!


Vlog Entry #19: The Countdown Begins

In just 34 days, my time in Korea will have officially come to a close! As part of the countdown, you’re invited to submit any and all questions you have about my experience this year! It can be related to teaching, traveling, living in Korea or anything else…within reason. Write in the comments section below and each day I’ll answer one question!


Too Short for Korea




Too ShortAs a 6’2″ waygook, I have never experienced the problem implied by the title of this post. In fact, it’s usually the exact opposite for me. Every day I exit buses with extra care and walk under umbrellas at local markets like Quasimodo. Koreans, young and old, marvel unabashedly at my towering presence.

Yet somehow, despite a constant self-awareness of my height, these days I’m feeling a bit…short. You see, in the military, to be or feel “short” actually has nothing to do with how tall a person is. Instead, it means that one’s contract or tour of duty is coming to an end; and that’s precisely where I’m at with my EPIK journey.


Hiking Mt. Jiri

A few weeks ago, as spring was just beginning to give way to summer, I took a whirlwind trip to Jirisan National Park in the south central part of the country. As South Korea’s biggest national park, it offers some amazing scenery and spectacular views! The only unfortunate thing is that there’s no major city nearby, so getting there without a car of my own proved to be just as exhuasting as actually climbing around on the mountain (literally 12 hours of roundtrip travel and 12 hours of hiking/being out and about, all in the same span of 24 hours). But it was worth it!


Expanding Vocabularies, Expanding Minds

When I think of a teacher, I imagine more than just a person giving a lecture in front of a class. I picture someone who, in addition to educating students, also acts as a coach, a mentor, a friend, and quasi-parental figure; someone who guides and influences young people on their quest to understand the world, the people around them, and how they fit into it all.


A Surprise Mother’s Day Visitor

It’s the kind of thing you have to see to believe: waking up to the sound of a mysterious knock on your door; turning over in bed because you assume someone has the wrong apartment; hearing the knock again and begrudgingly rolling out of bed; opening the door ready to give some random Korean person a piece your mind, when suddenly… you see your mom standing right in front of you.

Crazy right?! And on Mother’s Day weekend of all times! I was shocked and overjoyed, to say the least! If I were someone just reading this post I wouldn’t believe it either. So while my mom and I were out making the most of our short weekend together in Korea, I took pictures every step of the way as proof of all the fun things we did together! Below are the highlights. Hover over or click on each picture for details!


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