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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!


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!


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.


New City, New Friend

Naver Get Lost Again: A Guide to Bike Paths and Bike Travel in Korea

Naver is to Korea what Google is to America. It’s the go-to search engine and directions provider. And as far as mapped-out bike paths are concerned, Naver and Korea are both way ahead of the game. While it can be intimidating to stare at a screen filled with Korean words (there is no English setting, sorry), it’s actually still very possible to navigate. Here’s how:

To find a bicycle path near you:

1. Go to Naver Maps and zoom in on your desired location. Move about the map by clicking, holding and dragging. To zoom in and out, use the + / – feature placed vertically on the righthand side of the screen.


Jeju Trip and My First Visitor!

Whether you’re living abroad or just far away from home, nothing beats seeing a familiar face. Not only is it fun to play tour guide and show off a bit of your newly-acquired cultural knowledge. It’s also wonderful to feel like you’re a little closer to home, if only for awhile.

Two weeks ago I was able visit my best friend’s dad on Jeju Island while he was traveling for business in South Korea! It was fun to get away for the weekend, and even more fun to see him! Though our time together was short, we made the most of it by sampling the native foods of the island (black pig pork), hiking one of Jeju’s many volcanic craters, and soaking up the seaside views.


My Renewal Decision and 4 Life Lessons That Helped Me Make It

After thinking heavily about whether or not to renew my contract with EPIK, I’ve decided to return home in August. Signing on for a second year would offer me several enticing financial benefits and mouthwatering travel opportunities. And I’ve had a positive experience at my school, where I would continue to work if I were to renew. But during my time in Korea, I’ve learned or re-learned four life lessons, and made some new discoveries about myself, that have persuaded me to wrap things up at the one-year mark.


The Beauty In the Ugly

Gajisan - Yeongnam AlpsWoody Allen is quoted saying, “Eighty percent of life is just showing up.” But after coming to teach English and live in South Korea, I’ve come to believe it’s about much more than that. One-hundred percent of life is about showing up with the best version of yourself.


Donut Miss Your Flight

8: 25 AM

2/14/15 – Incheon International Airport

“Excuse me! Sorry! Excuse me! Excuse me!” Trying to keep up with my sprinting legs, these words flew out of my mouth as I barreled through the bowels of the international departures terminal. My 40-liter backpack bounced awkwardly with each massive stride, despite the white knuckle grip I had on the straps to keep it as close to me as possible. Families and businessmen came into focus only long enough for me to gauge whether to weave right or left. Unwilling to rid my side of the cramp that had developed since passing the food court, I held my pace as I closed in on Terminal E – Gate 6, hoping like crazy that Terminal E – Gate 6 wouldn’t close on me


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