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Sunday, March 7, 2010

First week of teaching

I'll make it short and sweet. My last week was spent preparing lesson plans. I'm OK with the lessons I gotta teach but they said I have a after school program where I teach 1st and 2nd grade elementary kids who don't speak a lick of English. I also don't have my co teachers there and I have to head up the class. Dang, this is gonna be hard. But my first day of lessons was today and it went by very well. The students were amazed and mesmerized by all the pictures of Oregon and Portland. I showed them a short YouTube video about Portland and some pictures about Oregon, such as Crater Lake. They loved it. Next week I will assign them English names and have them to an icebreaker. Hope it goes well! I'll write more shortly.

-Jeff

PS. Suppose to snow here in Daegu on Thursday. Yay?

Monday, March 1, 2010

First Fortnight

So I arrive in the Inchon airport. Lost. I do, however, eventually find my way to the gathering area and meet the EPIK staff, who are responsible for the training that week. The bus ride to the Eulji University was roughly about 70 minutes. Unloaded and chose a roommate (a guy named Russ, from Wisconsin, that was on the bus with me). I won't bored you with the details on the week, but it basically went:

Day 1: Training
Day2: More Training
Day3: Tourist Trip to Folk Village
Day4: Training
Day5: Training
Day 6: Training
etc...
Day 10: Departure for Daegu

I did meet a lot of cool people and we went out every night to the pub and explored the city. I have to mention that I was in the outskirts of Seoul, and the city I'm teaching at is actually called Daegu, some 100 miles Southeast from Seoul.

After orientation, we left for Daegu, which is kinda reminds me of Oakland, with SanFran just around the corner. I live in this suburb (Oakland) and am about 30 minutes away from the nice downtown area (SanFran).

I started the first day of teaching with an opening ceremony introducing all the new teachers (in South Korea, every teacher is required to change schools every 5 years. Some equality thing), me included. However, I was informed that there wasn't much to do this week and it was more of an observation week, meaning that I don't meet the students until March 8.

Things I find awesome in SK:
  • Hof & chicken (Korean fried chicken is amazing! They really reinvented the wheel. Up yours Popeyes and KFC!)
  • Cheap eats

Things I am having problems with in SK:
  • I AM NOT KOREAN. Seems everyone thinks I am, so my mantra has been, "I AM NOT KOREAN."
  • Language, I don't know why the point to a item and put up a finger gesture (which I thought was universal) doesn't seem to work here. I need to learn Korean fast!
  • The crazy drivers. Since I've been here, there have been: 1 car accident, almost got ran over by a bus, almost got into 3 accidents involving people watching TV as they drive. Saw a taxi driver nail a guy on a bike to the point where the biker couldn't get up. Nuff' said.

More to come! I'll post pictures soon!