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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.


MERScation

MERS.

Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome is alive in South Korea! Looks like this lurking deadly virus and I decided to arrive in Korea around the same time. MERS has a 40% fatality rate, which isn’t at all comforting, and some of the confirmed cases are in Cheonan where I live.

Consequently, very few students showed up to school yesterday and those that did all had on little masks with little cats or rabbits printed on them. My last class yesterday had three students, and the four of us were all slaphappy and giggly about the upcoming four day weekend. Felt like the day before Christmas break.

For today (Friday) and Monday, classes at the academy I teach at are CANCELLED. If you know what company I work for or know anything about South Korean hagwons, you will realize how rare and special the gem of a four day weekend is.  So far, it’s been great! Shopping! Potential Beach trips! And let’s not forget the deluge of hand sanitizer!


Girls' Night Out, Hongdae Style



Nowhere else in Asia (or perhaps the world) does nightlife as well as Seoul, and although there's a party for everyone, there are a number of places designed especially for the entertainment of women. But we're not just talking buy-one-get-one-free drinks and half priced appetizers. Think more along the lines of cute guys in hard hats, sultry stage performances and plenty of places to pamper yourself.

So, round up your girlfriends, book your hair appointment, dig out that little black dress and dust off your dancing shoes. It's time for a girls' night out, Seoul style.

I'll be letting you in on all the places worth checking out around Seoul with your favorite ladies in this new monthly series, but first up is perhaps the city's most legendary nightlife district: Hongdae.

Featured Events - The Weekend of June 5~7 and Beyond

 

 

Coming Up This Weekend 
  •  Busan Foreign Culture Market
  • A Night of Blues w/ Gail Storm and Friends
  •  Lost in Mind
  •  Art Busan 2015
  • Busan Book Swap

    ...and beyond

     
  • Busan Drag Prom
  • June KOTESOL Workshop

Check out all Koreabridge Event Listings (and post your own) at:http://koreabridge.net/calendar

 


Culture Shock in South Korea

The first time I went abroad was to Argentina. I was fifteen years old, and absolutely fascinated by the concept of culture shock. I thought culture shock would be like a disease: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment. I thought that it would be easy to recognize and consequently easy to overcome.

I soon realized, though, that culture shock isn’t easy to deal with at all. That realization lead me to have really negative attitudes towards Argentina. At the time, I hated the country and couldn’t wait to go back home. A similar thing happened to me at sixteen when I went to China. I was way too overwhelmed with the differences to handle myself.

Now as a pseudomature pseudoadult, I am way more capable of living and thriving in an Eastern culture. Most of my time so far in Korea has been so busy and stressful (work, studying for the LSAT) that I’ve barely had a moment to breathe and look around at my surroundings. Nonetheless, some things have shocked me. In both pleasant and unpleasant ways…

1. Pleasant: Ice cream on top of a salad, served with fried chicken. Exactly what it sounds like. Not half bad, either.

IMG_03201-e1273478914487


The Christian Right Rains on Korea's LGBT Parade

On Sunday, the Christian right successfully blocked the Queer Culture Festival parade's notice of assembly, which needed to be approved by the Namdaemun Police Department. This marks the second time this year that conservative protestants have disrupted the location of the event.
 


Korean Onomatopoeia: The Fun Korean Words

The Korean language contains many words that are based on onomatopoeia, which is the sound associated with an object or action. The Korean word for onomatopoeia is heeseongeo (의성어), but don't worry about remembering it... it's rarely used. In fact, if you use the word with Koreans, then they might assume that you are talking about some kind of fish! So let's take a closer look at a few of them.

Note: This article contains Hangul (Korean letters). If you can't read Korean yet, download a free guide here to start reading in about 60 minutes!! 


Why ‘Women Cross the DMZ’ Was a Bad Idea: The Threat of Moral Equivalence

 

 

Gloria Steinem is in the middle with the sunglasses and yellow sash. To her left is Christine Ahn, the primary organizer.

I have to say that I am amazed at how controversial this ‘march’ across the Korean DMZ became. My essay below speculates on why this obscure event – which will almost certainly change nothing, because the geopolitical split between the Koreas is now deeply baked-in – nonetheless provoked a huge fight among Korea-watchers for the last month.


Missing comforts of home in Korea

 

Here's another one I've already read about in a ton of blogs: around the 3 month mark of your time in Korea you'll really start missing the comforts of home.  It's my own fault.  I should have sent myself a care package.  I should have learned more Korean.  I should have brought a friend or boyfriend with me.  I should suck it up and deal with it.  This one gets a little sappy - be forewarned that I'm not actually upset just went down a rabbit hole of memories.  I'm missing the comforts of home.


Prejudice against Filipinos in Korea

I thought that I have lived in Korea long enough to evade discrimination or at least get used to it, but when you are a Filipino living in Korea, you have to accept the fact that there will always be prejudice here against Filipinos, and you just have to deal with it, period.



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