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Undol -v- Radiators

In a classroom I teach in the heating hasn’t been working since who knows when. It has probably been broken since the summer. It’s one of those awful heaters that doubles as an air-conditioner, blowing out dry, heated air, in the winter, and flimsy puffs of cool in summer. Yesterday, I was sitting at a desk rubbing my knees and grimacing one of those ‘oh well you know’ friendly kind of faces towards the students who came in wrapped for artic exploration. I actually felt sorry for them because at least I could stand up and walk around for a little warmth.

I turned to one student, who I knew had lived in the UK for several years and proclaimed ‘what we need here are some radiators!’ to which she gave me a blank look. I remonstrated with her, trying to job her memory to which she replied ‘I prefer undol’. And I thought, ‘oh yeah…but no…’


Learning Korean: Which Program is Right for You?

Considering that fact that Korean is often regarded as one of the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn, those that move to Korea might be intimidated to begin the arduous and often frustrating journey of learning the local language.  But, there can be many benefits to learning Korean.  Getting a grasp on the basics makes expat life far more comfortable and allows one to better understand the culture and feel more integrated with society.  Then there are the added bonuses of more job opportunities and bragging rights.  Because, let's face it... how many non-Koreans can actually say that they speak Korean?

Committing oneself to studying is the first and often most difficult step to learning Korean.  So what about after that?

For those of us who grew up in a country where there is little to no priority on learning a second language, it's difficult to know which study methods and programs work best to memorize vocabulary words, comprehend unfamiliar sentence structures, and perfect one's pronunciation.  And because everyone learns differently, it might take a bit of trial and error to figure out which approach is best for you.

Although I am still very much a beginner, I have attempted a number of techniques and attended a variety of classes to find what works for me.  Below are my personal experiences, including the pros and cons of each.


Hiking in Hanboks to Samseonggung Shrine 삼성궁

Roadtrippin!

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We took advantage of the beautiful weather one Saturday to head down to Jeolla-do, the south-west area of Korea. The fog seeped back into the mountains, the air smelled like dirt and trees, we moved through highways and roads that would leave us southbound. We were pleasantly surprised to find a persimmon farm.


Thickening Russia-Korea Ties is a Good Move for South Korea

b00cacd510614f87ea3a79ff18f43d62f9ea1dd2I wrote a quick piece for Newsweek Korea this week on Vladimir Putin’s trip to South Korea. Find the Korean web version here. Below is the translation.


Anti-Education and My 50% Success Rate at Answering Korean English Exam Questions

So, I am an Englishman flown in to South Korea to help educate their young in English.  In my school my level of English is obviously unmatched (I am English after-all) so why is it I am so bad at answering English exam questions in Korea?

Perhaps I only ever get asked about the tricky questions, or maybe I am just a dumbass, but it turns out that I am right about 50% of the time in my estimation.  In many ways it is embarrassing, why can't a reasonably well educated native English speaker, from England, who has spoken, read, listened and wrote in English all his life, answer questions correctly in a country where the overall level of English is poor (this is not a criticism, just simply that English is not their first language)?

Final Korean Date Night

When Nick and I first got together, we would only ever see each other at the weekend because of how busy we used to be. Eventually it got to the point where we spent more time together, so decided to always try and keep one free night in the week to do something.

We used to try and do something new or different and would alternate weeks with secret planning and conniving. We were always trying to out do each other with grand or unusual plans. Eventually though, it got to the point where saving money for our next adventure was more important than exploring the hidden nooks and crannies of Busan, so that came to an end. But as our Busan days are numbered, we decided to have one last date night before we left.

Say What?! Episode 10: How do I poop at school?! Squat toilet tips

See video
Say What?! A video series about things they didn't tell you before you came to Korea to teach. Episode 10: How do I poop at school?! Squat toilet tips
 
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/evannrachel
 
Shot on Rachel's Galaxy S4
Time: 04:47

 


Power Boxing Gym, Centum City Haeundae


Looking for a fun way to


NK News: Being Gay in the DPRK

I'll probably include this in my queer links for the week, but this article is a MUST READ! NK News' Oliver Hotham writes about how North Koreans don't normally have a concept of gays, and how their first exposure of gays in society often happens upon arrival to the South.




Definitely give it a read. 

I've also compiled a list of resources on North Korea in the past if you want to take a look. And I made the image above ㅋㅋ. Artsy or sloppy? 

How the Treatment of Dogs in Korea Should Shake our Conscience on Eating Meat: My Story


First an update on Noah the dog (original post here), after my concerns about how my in-laws were taking care of him I was then slightly disappointed to learn that they also couldn't keep him.  Why oh why they couldn't have realised this before they got him, lord only knows, it could have saved them, me, and more importantly the dog a lot of heartache.  For a variety of reasons my in-laws had to give him up.

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