Skip to Content

Recent Blog Posts

All Recent Posts

TOEIC Speaking Mini-Tests

Printer-friendly version

Here are some TOEIC speaking style tests that I’ve used in my own speaking exam preparation classes in order to do a pre and post evaluation of my students. They can also be used as very simple level tests for your speaking or conversation classes, if you’re required to do them by your school.

Sample TOEIC Speaking Test #1:

Read the following:

Are you a global company needing to deal with many foreign currencies? Do you find your bank’s exchange rates too low, and their service fees too high? Then take your business to Rapid Exchange. We’ll satisfy all your foreign exchange requirements with our one-to-one service combined with our always available online web page that includes instant rate quotes. We even pick-up an deliver your checks and drafts. Give us a call today!

Describe the following picture:

sample toiec speaking test

Sample TOIEC Speaking Test

Answer the Following Questions:

How often do you watch Television?
What kinds of programs do you usually watch?
Describe your favorite television program?

Some people prefer to take a job that does not pay well but does provide a lot of time off work. What is your opinion about taking a job with a low salary that has a lot of vacation? Give reasons for your opinion.

Lesson plans, ESL games and activities, and lots more resources. Sign-up for the mailing list.

Sample TOEIC Speaking Test #2

Read the following:

If you’re shopping, sightseeing and running around every minute, your vacation can seem like hard work. To avoid vacation stress, come to the Blue Valley Inn on beautiful Lake Mead. While staying at our inn, you’ll breathe clean country air as you view spectacular sights. With its spacious rooms, swimming pool and many outdoor activities, the inn is the perfect place for a vacation you won’t forget. The Blue Valley Inn prides itself on the personal attention it provides to every guest. The Blue Valley motto has always been “A happy guest is our greatest treasure.

Describe the following picture:

Sample TOIEC speaking test

Sample TOIEC Speaking test picture

Answer the Following Questions:

What is your favorite way to spend a vacation
What did you do on your last vacation?
What do you think is a good way for a family to spend a vacation? Why?

Some companies make donations to local charities and community groups. Other companies do not and leave it up to their staff to decide whether to make personal donations. Should companies donate part of their profits to charities? State your opinion and provide reasons for your view.

Free: More than 40 ESL Games and Activities

* indicates required

The post TOEIC Speaking Mini-Tests appeared first on .

Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea


My Life! Teaching in a Korean University

University Jobs



Student-Centered Teaching

Printer-friendly version
student centered
Student-Centered Teaching

A request from one of my readers about student centered teaching in preparation for his interview at a Korean university.

I talk a lot about in upcoming book about No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking activities, which you can get for free if you sign-up for my email list before I publish it. Do it soon--the book is in the final editing stages and will be out in a week or two.

But, in the meantime, check out some of these posts I've done in years gone by about just this very topic:

Teacher Centered vs. Student Centered Classrooms

Grammar Teaching: Student Centered Style

Relative Clauses, Student-Centered Teaching Style

Teacher-Centered is Bad!

Hair did at Hwamiju

Printer-friendly version

Most of my friends are aware that when I'm stressed, frustrated, or bored I change my hair.  My Mom does exactly the same thing, and it always seems to make me feel a lot better.  Better to change your hair than eat your feelings, right?

I had tried to get my hair done at Hwamiju in Hwamyeong back when I first arrived, but communication was difficult (I didn't have a proper translator on my phone) and I went on a Saturday when it was pretty busy.  After trying out a salon in Seomyeon, which was nice enough but didn't do what I wanted AT ALL, I decided to give Hwamiju another shot.  My hair was pretty dark and damaged from the Korean hair dye I used, and I wanted to lighten up my look.  I had a photo of Olivia Wilde (well...a few) and my stylist decided to do some lighter ombre and highlights.

Upon arrival price was discussed and agreed upon, my bag and coat were taken, and I was given a key to my locker.  I was escorted over to the waiting area and was told it would be about 15 minutes.  I had no appointment, so this was great news!

I was given really delicious coffee and some ginger snaps, which was great because I wandered into the salon on a whim after work and hadn't had dinner.

With the language barrier I was a little worried, but I had a Top Senior Stylist and the assistant (who actually spoke some English!) told me I had nothing to worry about and that she would do a great job.

I had two people working on my highlights and was brought a pillow and a Vogue (which came with an apology for not being in English.  I'm in Korea...all good!!).  My stylist checked out my highlights, had my hair washed, and then asked if she could pop in some more highlights (included in the price) and if she could trim my hair.  She also made sure to deep condition my hair so that I would leave with soft tresses.  Always the perfectionist, she also decided to use a straightener to add a "natural wave" to my hair.  All in all it took about 2.5 hours, and I'm very happy with the results.  I now know that I don't have to leave Hwamyeong to be properly pampered! 

For highlights, a trim, deep conditioning, coffee, and snacks from a Top Senior Stylist the total was KRW 77,000 ($85.61 Canadian).  I don't know of anywhere in Canada where I could get that wicked a deal!

Da Jeon (다전) translates to ‘tea field’ in Korean, but it’s both...

Printer-friendly version

Da Jeon (다전) translates to ‘tea field’ in Korean, but it’s both a tea shop and a vegetarian restaurant. It has attentive service and great atmosphere. Da Jeon is located on the 4th floor, above WA Bar, behind the Seomyeon Lotte Department Store. You could get there from Seomyeon subway station (exit 1) or Jeonpo subway station (exit 5).

Hours: noon-11 p.m., Tues.-Sun.

Address: 240-12 Bujeon 2-dong, Busanjin-g

Phone: 051-808-6363

Google maps: link

About the girl

Hi, I'm Stacy. I am from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living and teaching ESL in Busan, South Korea. Busy getting into lots of adventures, challenging myself, and loving people. Something more than an ethereal will-o-wisp.

Thank you so much for visiting and reading.

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, LastfmFlickr, and FacebookAsk me anything


Selfie with the PM

Printer-friendly version


Today I got to meet an interesting person and world leader!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Korea after his tour of China and Mongolia. He was greeted by Indians in Korea with a lot of enthusiasm and love.

All Indians and others were invited to view the speech of the PM at Kyunghee University auditorium. At first, the embassy had invited just a few of the Indians to a formal luncheon with the PM but seeing the tumultuous response from the Indians living in Korea, resorted to a bigger venue. The program was free of charge and all were encouraged to register with the embassy by sending an email.

The PM was scheduled to arrive at 1PM. But I reached the venue at 11:30AM. Over enthusiasm, i guess :) It was heartening to see so many saris and colorful salwars amidst the formal suits and volunteers. There were many shuttle buses to help us to the auditorium from the subway station. The sign in process and the security check was so smooth and easy. Only the wait for the PM was so long and exciting.

I guess I was expecting punch lines, double talk and drama (I blame the IPL for this). The speech made by the PM was more factual, clear, to the point and in Hindi. He insisted that the Indians in Korea learn from the technologically advanced Korea and implement in India. He asserted that implementing and educating people to have toilets in every home was a difficult task, but he was going to get it done. He maintained that India is the fastest growing economy and developing nation in the world and he would do more for it with his "Make in India" mantra.

The auditorium and the people
Free snacks, water and juice on the far end tents. Registration and confirmation at the entrance.  
Modi did a costume change between his arrival at the airport and his speech at the auditorium! 
Big screens on both the sides of the stage gave us a larger than real look at the PM

His talk was not motivating or engrossing but the auditorium was in pin drop silence until he entered with his entourage. 
Closest selfie I could get of the PM :)
Yay! Another selfie with the PM :)

S for- Selfie with the PM for ABC Wednesday

Training Day 1: A Terrible Afternoon at the Medical Center

Printer-friendly version

I know I said I wasn’t going to post this week because I’d be too busy, but my first day of orientation was a special form of hell that definitely merits a ventpost.

Part of training with my company (that shall remain unnamed) includes, on the very first day of orientation, a medical exam. I never expected that a job position as an English teacher would demand such a humiliating, physically draining medical exam.

For one thing, we were told to fast before the medical exam, so during the morning training session I wracked with hunger. That’s why it was physically draining. It’s no big deal for me to skip breakfast and be a little hungry, but something about the jetlag and the act of being in a completely foreign environment made me SOOOO motherfucking HUNGRYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! I could hardly pay attention to the material we were covering!

Our training session went until 1:30 PM. Which seemed like forever to my famished mind. Then all thirty of us filed in a megabus together and went to medical center. Once we got there, we had to take off all our clothes and change into absurd pink outfits.  Here’s me, looking gross as fuuuuck!

This captures the awkwardness of the moment completely.
This captures the awkwardness of the moment completely. So hideous. So, so hideous. 

The medical center looked pretty slick on the inside. There were a series of rooms inside with corresponding beige cushy chairs. We all sat down together in those embarrassing outfits waiting for our names to be called. We had to see about six different people. And it took forever. The whole time everyone was starving and awkward, and the vibe of the group was (sorry guys) really not enjoyable. Everybody in the orientation group seems cool, and I’ve found so many people that I have a ridiculous amount in common with. But I’m definitely not a fan of get to know you conversations in the midst of a medical exam. So, if anyone from orientation ends up reading this blog post, please excuse any standoffish behavior on my part!

What was so humiliating about the exam, you ask? Getting weighed in front of everyone. Carrying my pee around in front of everyone. Getting my blood drawn and consequently freaking out in front of everyone. Yeesh.

What’s the bright side of this situation? My instructor and the other trainers for orientation were passionate and knew their stuff. The job still seems fun, and everyone I’ve met who is also going to Cheonan seems cool. And I finally got food today!!!!!! Potato chips!! A triangular rice thingy with mayonnaise and fish in it!!!  A coffee bubble tea!!!!!


otter eating

Painfully aware of how bad both Korean #steak and salad...

Printer-friendly version

Painfully aware of how bad both Korean #steak and salad are…

Can someone tell me where to get a tasty salad in #Busan?

from Tumblr

6 Conversation Lesson Plans for Adults in Korea

Printer-friendly version
conversation lesson plan

Conversation Class Lesson Plans for Adults in Korea

I’ve used these 6 conversation lesson plans for adults in my own university and adult classes with great success. They are for intermediate to advanced ESL students.

Minimum Wage in Korea

Youth Unemployment in Korea

Renewable Energy Lesson Plan –This one is good for students around the world, not just Korea!

North-South Korea Reunification

South Korea’s Education System

Studying Abroad Lesson Plan

Even more lesson plan and ESL Speaking Activity awesomeness, delivered straight to your inbox. I promise to respect your privacy. Sign up for Jackie Bolen’s email list.

The post 6 Conversation Lesson Plans for Adults in Korea appeared first on .

8 Conversation Lesson Plans for University and Adult Students in Korea

Printer-friendly version
Conversation Lesson Plans for Adults in Korea

These are all tried and tested conversation lesson plans that I designed and used in my own intermediate-advanced conversation or current events classes. Many of the articles are authentic materials that I found from around the web.

Minimum Wage in Korea

Youth Unemployment in Korea

Renewable Energy Lesson Plan- Works for students in any country.

North-South Korea Unification

Agricultural Subsidies in Korea- Advanced students only.

South Korea's Education System

Studying Abroad Lesson Plan

Cigarette Prices in Korea to Double

Even more lesson plan and ESL activity awesomeness. I promise to respect your privacy. Sign-up for Jackie Bolen's Email List.

Syndicate content

Koreabridge - RSS Feeds
Features @koreabridge     Blogs  @koreablogs
Jobs @koreabridgejobs  Classifieds @kb_classifieds

Koreabridge - Facebook Group

Koreabridge - Googe+ Group