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Leer es Viajar – to Read is to Travel

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If you’ve been following me on Instragram you probably already know that this summer I moved to Spain! Today is

The post Leer es Viajar – to Read is to Travel appeared first on ELSEwHERE.

Are the “Glory Days” of Teaching ESL in Korea Over?

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Teaching ESL is a mixed bag depending on what country you target. In some countries it’s a refined, streamlined endeavor where employers seek qualified and experienced teachers and the government has mandatory guidelines as well. To obtain a work visa in a certain country, a government may actually require a teacher have a TESOL certification and/or a certain amount of experience.

In other countries, this isn’t always the case. In China, it’s a little bit of both it seems.

There were once days in places like Korea and Japan where anyone could roll off a plane and be offered a teaching job on their way to their hotel. Those days are over in some countries, and many others are following suit.

Take for instance some countries in SE Asia. There are few credentials a teacher really needs to have in order to secure a job. At the same time, there are SE Asian countries, like Vietnam, where a teacher must have a TESOL certification or at least a certain number of years teaching to secure a decent job and a work permit.

The “glory days” often refers to the time when it was easy to find a job for anyone who was from an English speaking country, and furthermore, if they looked the part of what that country deemed a native speaker to look like.

In many Asian countries, both East and Southeast, these two worlds still exist. Many times an employer will hire based on country of origin and appearance. However, these days are slowly and surely slipping away.

Along with lackadaisical and careless hiring practices came the backlash of behavior from teachers who were chosen for no other reason other than the fact that they were born (in a certain country). Governments are safeguarding their societies and children from these mishaps and one of the surest ways to do this is to thoroughly vet prospective teachers from the onset. This is a good thing for aspiring teachers, a bad thing for travelers or ex-cons looking for a ticket to sojourn in a certain location anytime they wish.

The glory days that are not over are those of job options. ESL is growing at an incredible rate across the globe and there is no better time than the present to get yourself credentialed and out on the road. If that’s what you desire to do, that is.

Korea, for example, will have teaching jobs farther than my own life will take me. It will likely change, but they will be there for a long time. Public school jobs are dwindling, but private sector opportunities continue to thrive. In fact, with the reduction in public school jobs, the private market will probably flourish even more eventually.

This is all good news for professional individuals. The days ahead are in your favor if you prepare yourself and put in the time.

The post Are the “Glory Days” of Teaching ESL in Korea Over? appeared first on Red Dragon Diaries.

the Red Dragon Diaries

ESL, Travel, and Judo!

How to Say ‘I Don’t Know’ in Korean

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We all like to know the answer to questions. It makes us feel helpful, knowledgeable, and in control.

However, there will always be times when we don’t know the answer to something. In those cases, it’s best to tell the truth and say, “I don’t know”. The other person will respect your honesty!

Today, we will explain how to say, “I don’t know” in Korean.

On your marks, get set, go!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!


Root Verb for ‘I Don’t Know’

There are two verbs we’re going to compare today. They are opposites: One is quite knowledgeable, and one is a bit ignorant.

Ready to meet them?

The first verb is our knowledgeable friend알다 (al-da), which means ‘to know’. The second verb is our bumbling buddy, 모르다 (mo-ruh-da), which means ‘to not know’.

Although we always like to look on the bright side, we’re going to mostly be focusing on 모르다. However, it’s always good to know about the existence of 모르다’s smarty-pants counterpart!

Let’s get better acquainted with 모르다.


Formal ‘I Don’t Know’ in Korean

Now we know the verbs that we need to use, we can look at how these verbs are conjugated depending on the level of formality that we are using. We will start with the most formal:

1. 잘 모르겠습니다 (jal mo-ruh-gess-sum-ni-da)

2. 잘 모릅니다 (jal mo-rum-ni-da)

These two expressions use the formal ending -ㅂ니다. This usually is used when speaking to an unknown audience or if you are required to be very formal.

The two above expressions are interchangeable. The 겠 part of the first expression appears in lots of phrases. It shows that the speaker is intending to do something or is making some kind of assumption. It also appears in some fixed expressions, especially related to the verbs ‘to know’ and ‘to not know’.

잘 means ‘well’, so effectively you are saying ‘I don’t know well’.


Standard ‘I Don’t Know’ in Korean

1. 몰라요 (mollayo)

2. 잘 몰라요 (jal mollayo)

3. 잘 모르겠어요 (jal mo-ruh-gess-eo-yo)

모르다 is an irregular verb of the ‘르’ variety.

Other verbs and adjectives that follow this pattern include 빠르다 (to be fast), 다르다 (to be different), 부르다 (to call), and 마르다 (to be dry) among others. When conjugating such a verb, an extra ㄹ appears in the word and the “ㅡ” changes to either “ㅏ” or “ㅓ” depending on the vowel in front of it.

You can use the three regular ways of saying ‘I don’t know’ in Korean interchangeably. However, the ‘잘’ sounds a little bit more polite. Usually this verb is used to answer questions that include either 알다 or 모르다 in them.

For example:

Q: 김 선생님 알아요? (Do you know Mr. Kim?)

A: 몰라요. (No, I don’t)

You don’t have to say ‘no’ in your answer. It is already implied by the verb ‘I don’t know’.


Informal ‘I Don’t Know’ in Korean

1. 몰라 (mollah)

2. 모르겠어 (mo-ruh-gess-eo)

When speaking with close friends, you’ll often use informal Korean. It’s more comfortable, simpler, and helps you develop a closer relationship with the other speaker.

When saying the informal version of ‘I don’t know’, this is the same as the standard Korean form but without the ‘요’.

Hopefully this lesson has given you a better understanding of how to say ‘I don’t know’ in Korean.

Soon you’ll be turning 몰라요 into 알아요!

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series:

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Trazy’s 5 Step Guide to Understanding Korean Subway Culture

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Korean metro systems are unquestionably some of the best in the world, acclaimed for its speed, proximity, convenience, cleanliness, and multilingual announcements. With approximately 9.8 million daily riders, Korea has developed both a written and unwritten decorum to keep most people happy while traveling on the trains. Politeness and manner counts!

Here are several suggestions that will make your subway journey in Korea more pleasant:

   1. Efficiency starts with YOU!

Avoid gridlock! Especially in Seoul, it’s highly possible that you’ll encounter waves of people at subway stations. So, when entering and leaving the exit, both the subway and the station :

  • Have your transportation card out and be ready for the turnstiles.
  • Step aside! Errors with transportation cards do happen; step to the side to figure out your card troubles. If you need help, press the button on the pole at the far end.
Photo credits to MRobertMarks

   2. Entering and Exiting has it’s challenges!

While it seems common sense to wait-your-turn, sometimes people try to push past the exiting crowds in hopes of quickly finding a seat.

  • Allow people to exit before you enter. Step to the side of the door and wait for your chance to enter. Don’t worry, you have a plenty of time, and the train conductors watch the doors to make sure everyone is safely on.
  • Rush hours are generally between  6:50~9:00 a.m. and 17:00~18:30 p.m. The busiest stations that are located in main market districts and where commuters make transfers between subway line, such as Gangnam Station.
  • Bicycles on the subway are limited to the end cars during the weekends, but never allowed on line 9 and the Shinbundang line.
  • Take caution around the gap of regret: Cellphones, wallets and keys have been known to be bumped out of hands and fallen through the space between the platform and the subway car. Secure these items ahead of time in pockets or maintain a tight grip while crossing the gaps.
Photo credits to MRobertMarks

   3. Plan Ahead

Sometimes people who aren’t prepared to leave will push and shove trying to quickly get off the subway before they miss their stop. Rushing to leave the door often results forgetting or losing personal belongings.

  • Prepare to get near the subway door at least one station prior to your destination.
  • You may find it difficult or even impossible to weave through people during a rush hour, and miss your exit in the end.
Photo credits to MRobertMarks

   4. Kindness and Respect

A major aspect of Korean culture is respect for elders, and consideration for others. If you’re lucky enough to have a seat, it’s commonplace to give up your seat to someone who may need or appreciate sitting more than you, such as pregnant women, people who are injured or disabled, families with young children, and the elderly.

Photo credits to MRobertMarks

   5. Nuisances in the Subway

Keeping a peace and order in the subway can be achieved by two essential basic principles : Keep to Yourself and Be Mindful of Others. Unfortunately not everyone adheres to these rules. Here’s a few examples of common situations that are an inconvenience to others:

Backpack Bludgeoners!

Currently in Seoul, there’s a growing stigma against commuters with backpacks inhibiting maneuverability for others when walking between train cars and to the exit doors, or when backpackers turn sharply, often hitting people with their backpacks. Luckily, you can avoid the scorn by placing your items on the shelf above the seats.

Pro Tip from Korean netizens: If you’re afraid you’ll forget your bag on the shelf, try turning your backpack into a front-pack by wearing it on your chest. Others will surely thank you for your consideration.

Photo credits to MRobertMarks

Food Offenders!

Smelly food on the subway is unacceptable! Despite many restaurants and snack shops that can be found in and around the stations, the subway train is just an inappropriate place to have a full meal. Drinks and small scentless snacks are acceptable, but most people will stare at you if you choose to eat next to them, older people may actually yell.


Cellphone Cacophony

Korea is one of the most connected countries, boasting quality cell service, WiFi connectivity and even TV (DMB on Korean-made phones) in the subways. With so many devices constantly in use, the metro systems have posted code-of-conduct reminders in the stations and trains to please speak softly, keep notifications on a low volume, take caution and pay attention when texting and walking, and use headphones at a reasonable volume. If you choose to break these rules, be prepare for the stare!

Photo credits to MRobertMarks

Sleeping Professionals

Commuting warriors and drunk dinner party survivors have a knack for sleeping in the subway in some of the most uncomfortable looking positions, and still managing to wake up just in time for their destinations, it’s truly amazing and baffling. If you can manage to do it, sleeping on the subway is perfectly fine, but leaning over and getting in someone’s space is generally not fine. :(

Katies Korean Adventure
Photo credits to Katie’s Korean Adventure

The Manspread

In Korean it’s called “쩍벌남” (Jjeok-Beol-Nam). Despite the name and Oxford Dictionary definition, this is not limited to only men. Just, no. Just don’t do it. No explanation needed, everyone hates it.

Photo credits to MRobertMarks

And Finally, for a fun recap of how to ride the subway, watch Michael’s Seoul Subway Song on Youtube!

Happy commuting!  For fun places to visit via subway, check out!

a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

The Glass is Half Full (of BS)

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"You're so positive! You really have a bright outlook on things!"

So say coworkers and acquaintances, but it's not something I ever really considered to be one of my defining personality traits. Sarcastic, judgmental, with a tendency to complain-- yes, yes, and (according to my mother) yes. But positive, glass-is-half-full gal? Is that really me?

Well, yes and no. Living in a foreign country is a lot harder than you'd expect. Things that should be easy are difficult, every little chore seems a bit more exhausting, and it's easy to begin to feel beaten down and victimized. When your class is canceled, or a taxi driver won't stop for you, or the store stops carrying that familiar brand from home, it's so easy to take it personally, to feel that your school or the country or even the world is against you.

It's like a big muddy snowball of negativity. You start it rolling, and by the end of the day, it's collected up every tiny bad thing that happened. By the end of the month, you don't have any space for good things because you've got this huge dirty snowball to roll around. It even starts to taint the good things that happen. If your coworker gives you a cookie, you're just annoyed because you're trying to stick to your diet. Instead of noticing how hard your students are trying in class, you only notice how noisy they are.

In truth, my positive outlook is a big lie. It's a lie I tell to myself because I have to, and a lie I tell to other people because I want to. The way I see it, your life is just a story, and you can decide what kind of story it's going to be, to some extent at least.

Lately, I've been thinking quite a lot about stories; the stories we love, the stories we tell to others, and the stories we tell to ourselves, and how they shape reality. I've always loved stories, and I'm pretty sure that's why I learned to read so quickly. The ability to find all the stories I want? Without having to convince my mom or dad to tell them to me? It was perfection. No matter where we get our stories, though, be it from books, movies, television, video games, what have you, it's undeniable that they shape us. From the way we fall in love to the way we react to failures or challenges, it all comes back to stories.

For example, at my last apartment, there were a lot of "quirks" that came with the place. I had to enter the apartment through the back courtyard of the restaurant on the ground floor. My landlords owned a skittish dog who didn't take well to visitors. My washing machine was constantly broken, to the point where I decided to just give up and hand wash all my clothes. After telling a story about the washing machine, and mentioning that it's actually quite relaxing to hand wash clothes, and better for the clothes besides, a friend was amazed by how positively I reacted to the situation, even though to him it sounded really annoying.

That's an example of a lie I tell myself because I have to. Why do I have to? There are inevitably annoying and difficult things in your life, and if you just see them as annoying and difficult, that's all they will be. If you tell yourself they're heavy, they will get heavier. But if I tell myself that hand washing is relaxing, it's easier to bear. If I tell myself that my hardships are entertaining, I can ignore them more easily.

Even so, I'm not actually a very positive person. I react poorly to failure, to criticism, to difficulties; I'm lazy, impatient, and prone to giving up. I often only do nice things in order to get favors in return. I'm selfish. Pretty nice picture, huh?

However, I've decided that that's not the kind of person I want to be. I want to be generous, kind, responsible, able to find the silver lining in any situation. So, when I'm faced with a situation that I find annoying or difficult, I force myself to find the good in it. It's difficult, because my go-to reaction is usually more of the "bitch/moan/complain/feel sorry for myself/give up" variety. When I want to do the lazy thing, like let the next person to use the copy machine refill the paper, I force myself to go downstairs and get more paper, because that's the kind of person I want to be.

The funny thing is, the more you act like the kind of person you want to be, the more you seem to become that person. Eventually, if you keep forcing yourself to look at the positive side of things, you pretty much just are the person who sees the positive side of things, even if inside you know that it's a bunch of lies.

Teacher Pretty
Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

About   Teaching   Advice   Beauty   How-To   Food   Langauge   Tumblr

One fifth of LGBT youth attempt suicide in Korea

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A brief summary of an article over at Women News:

A result from a survey has shown that discrimination against sexual minorities in school and the workforce has reached a serious level. One of out five sexual minorities who suffer from discrimination and harassment have attempted suicide. In the hiring process or at the work force, 44.8% of sexual minorities reported facing discrimination, exclusion, or sexual harassment. 

This information was revealed on the 10th of October at 7 pm,at Seoul's Presidential Hotel at a conference on the "State of Discrimination Related to Sexual Preference and Sexual Identity" by the National Human Rights Committee. 

The focus of the presentation was on the discrimination situation at the workforce and in schools in healthcare and public institutions. The GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation conducted the analysis through the National Human Rights Committee for the first time last year from June to December.

▲ 국가인권위원회가 10일 오후 7시 서울 프레지 던트호텔 슈벨트홀에서 2014 인권상황실태조사에 기초한 '성적지향‧성별정체성에 따른 차별 실태 조사 결과 발표회'를 개최했다.   ©이세아 기자
The survey reported responses of 200 students attending middle and high schools aged 13 to 18, and found that one out of five had attempted suicide. The number of students inflicting self-harm also reached 16.1%. Out of the 11 students who dropped out of school, seven of the students' responded that the reasons included fear, discrimination, and alienation felt at school. At school, LGBT youth face ostracization, insult, and disadvantages due to their identity. Students also reported being coerced to give up on school activities or faced disciplinary action like penalties or suspension. Even worse, there were cases where there were actions implemented to track down sexual minorities by having classes write down the names of possible LGBT individuals.
It was also pointed out that the majority of teachers often are ignorant of the human rights of sexual minorities. The acknowledgement of the existence of LGBT youth and the discrimination and harassment they face is very low in teachers. In a survey of one hundred teachers at middle schools across the country, 42 percent acknowledged LGBT individuals, and only 9% provided related consulting. The effectiveness of consulting for LGBT youth at the school has also come into question.
While looking for a job, the level of discrimination against sexual minorities is serious. In the results for a survey targeting 948 LGBT adults, 44.8% of the respondents stated that they experienced discrimination in the hiring process or at the workforce because of their identity. More concretely, this included in wages, benefits, promotions, duties, education and training experience, dismissal as well as harassment, complaints, exclusion in the office, and mockery. Furthermore, 14.1% of homosexuals and bisexuals and 16.5% of transgender individuals revealed that they were advised to resign or were dismissed because of their identity. Also, discrimination in healthcare facilities, public bathrooms, and in the need to have one's ID for insurance, the bank or public offices exists. When a sexual minority faced unjust treatment and sought help from an investigative or judicial institution, they faced secondary damage such as harassment, ignoring the problem, and discrimination or their were suspicions about their claim. 

Korean Phrases Ep. 36: 칠전팔기

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This week we have a new "Korean Phrases" video, and we're going to be learning another useful idiom from 한자 (Chinese characters used in Korean).

In other news, the Kickstarter project for Korean Made Simple 3 has been going great, and we've passed our initial funding goal and are currently on our way to a large stretch goal! If we can reach the stretch goal, we'll be able to afford to greatly increase the amount of artwork in the book. If we can keep the momentum, it's possible we can reach that goal.

But back to this week's lesson, we'll be learning about the idiom 칠전팔기. Check out the video below!

The post Korean Phrases Ep. 36: 칠전팔기 appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





8 Types of Gimbap Koreans Love

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Korean Food and Cooking

8 Types of Gimbap Koreans Love
by Debbie Wolfe, CKC Writer

Gimbap is the quintessential Korean picnic food. Here in the West, when we pack a picnic lunch for an outing, sandwiches are the go-to portable option. Like sandwiches, gimbap is a handy food that requires no utensils to eat. You will find gimbap in convenience stores and cafeterias, premade and ready to eat. In addition to being a lunch staple, gimbap is served on special occasions like birthday parties and holiday dinners. In my family, a road trip is not complete without gimbap in the cooler.

What is gimbap? It’s steamed white rice and various flavorful ingredients rolled in roasted seaweed. It looks similar to Japanese sushi rolls, however gimbap is made with cooked/seasoned ingredients whereas sushi often has raw ingredients. In sushi, the rice is seasoned with vinegar and sugar while gimbap is most often seasoned with sesame oil and a bit of salt. Nowadays, some Koreans like to season the rice with vinegar as well. Gimbap is also normally eaten without a dipping sauce and served with yellow pickled radish on the side.

In its earliest form, gimbap was simply rice wrapped with roasted seaweed. This basic version is still eaten today, but as a side dish with a spicy meal. My kids enjoy this simple version as a quick afternoon snack.

Want to see a step by step video on how to make each type of gimbap mentioned below? Check out the video here.

Gimbap is very versatile; you can change the ingredients to suit your own tastes. That’s what makes gimbap so fun and unique: each family adds its own twist to the wrap.
Here’s a breakdown of the most popular versions:

Classic Gimbap
This is the basic type of gimbap. It’s circular in shape and contains fillings, such as:
pickled radish(Dan-mu-ji or Yellow Radish), burdock root(Woo Ung), carrot, fishcake(Eomuk or Odeng), spinach, egg and beef.

Classic Gimbap Recipe

Classic Gimbap

Petal Shape Gimbap

This version is defined by a fun “petal” shape. You can arrange the petals in various ways to create beautiful patterns to impress your loved ones.

Petal Shape Gimbap

Petal Shape Gimbap

Tuna Gimbap

This is a modern and very popular version of gimbap. It’s a tuna salad, Korean style! Tuna is mixed with mayonnaise and rolled up with rice and veggies. The vegetables will vary, but adding perilla leaves is a popular combo in Korea.

Tuna Gimbap Recipe

Tuna Gimbap

Kimchi Gimbap

There are two things that Koreans can’t live without: kimchi and gimbap. So obviously, kimchi gimbap is a marriage made in heaven! This version is a perfect opportunity to use up sour kimchi. Rinse or squeeze the excess juices from the sour kimchi, then add it to vegetable layer.

Kimchi Gimbap Recipe

Kimchi Gimbap

Mayak Gimbap

Mayak means “narcotic” in Korean. No worries though, there are no controlled substances here.The name originated from the very addictive nature of this gimbap. Mayak gimbap’s ingredients are very simple: rice, laver, spinach, carrot and pickled yellow radish. What makes this version stand out from the others is that it is small and served whole (not sliced) and with a unique dipping sauce.

Mayak Gimbap Recipe

Mayak Gimbap

Nude Gimbap

This is an inside out version of the classic gimbap. The rice is on the outside and the seaweed inside. Since the rice is front and center, it gets a sweet and sour dressing similar to sushi.

Nude Gimbap Recipe

Nude Gimbap

Samgak (triangle) Gimbap

These are individual, triangular shaped gimbap. It’s designed to keep the seaweed fresh by putting it between two thin sheets of plastic. Samgak gimbap is rarely made at home since it requires special tools. But it is available in virtually every convenience store in Korea. It’s perfect for those who do not have time to prepare lunch and need to pick some up on the go.

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Samgak Gimbap, Photo Courtesy of Sstrieu via Flickr

Chungmu Gimbap

This version is perhaps the simplest of all, but not without flavor. Chungmu gimbap originated in the harbor town, Chungmu, Korea.These mini rolls contain only plain rice. However, they are always served with a delicious spicy radish and squid side dishes. " alt="" src="" />
Chungmu Gimbap, Photo by

Whichever version of gimbap you like the best, make sure you have extra to share with friends and family.

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How to make Jjolmyeon, Korean Spicy Chewy Noodles

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Lost your appetite? Jjolmyeon is the cure!

   See Jjolmyeon recipe here.

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