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EPIK orientation continued…aka being back in college.

February 28, 2011

So far I’ve been impressed with the orientation EPIK (and the Korean government) have put on for all new “native teachers/guest English teachers”.  But I’ll often crack jokes and compare our situation to the likes of many different things such as a concentration camp (we are all assigned as numbers, the dorms seem to have a very communist/industrial architectural feel to them,  and we are always summoned to lectures and meals by intercom), the Dharma initiative (anyone seen Lost?) or being back in college (lectures, living in dorms, and always wanting to sneak away to squeeze in heavy drinking on our free time).  They also work us to the point where we feel like we have entered “Korea teacher” boot camp.  We have classes, lectures and meals starting from around 8am and usually ending after 8pm.  And then, most of us still find the strength to venture out to some bars to cram in drinking before our curfew at midnight.  Though it is a jam packed schedule, most of the materials are very relavent, informative and helpful.  And to my surprise it is not all Korean propaganda.  Many of the lecturers are talented ESL teachers that came to Korea to teach 10+ years ago and then never wanted to leave.

Some of the lectures we’ve had have included…EPIK life: Success in your new home country, Using technology in the classroom, How to make your English speech more comprehensible, Korean culture, Lesson Planning and not to forget the Korean language classes.   Now that all the lectures are over, I am very happy.  I don’t think I could do another 12 hour day again.

On Sunday, they planned a little fun time for us.  We got to put on traditional Korean attire, try some traditional food and in the afternoon they took us to see a famous Korean show called “Nanta”.

Tomorrow is our last real day of orientation.  We are to present a condensed lesson to a group of our peers and then it is evaluated with feedback.  I am really excited to get it over with and I will feel quite relieved.  We are also suppose to be told which school and where in Seoul we will be placed tomorrow night.  Everyone is feeling very anxious about it because they have not released any information (not even what ages we will to teach) to us yet.  Also, I am still nervous about any last minute surprises we might find out about.  In Korea, it is well known that at any given minute a plan can change completely and you are just expected to role with the punches.  This biggest let down and disappointment of this whole orientation was revealed today.  About eight people here, one being Josh my friend from home, were pulled aside and told they will not be in schools but at a “learning center”.  Turns out this learning center is an hour and a half outside of Seoul, in a very small town, where they don’t teach classes but work at a place where Koreans come and practice their English for the day.  They are also given apartments, but they are dorm style and on campus.  The people that found out about this were crushed and very upset.  Especially because they were never explained that this learning center was outside of Seoul, and were never told that they might be placed there.  I feel so awful for those people and many of them are thinking of quiting their contracts and looking for work inside Seoul at a Hagwon (private academy).   With this news, we also found out that one girl failed the drug test, and she had to pack her bags and leave.  They canceled her visa today and she has to pay for her flight over, and the return flight to get home.  Overall, this whole day has made me very anxious and nervous and I’m praying for no surprises tomorrow.

Cross your fingers for me!  Wednesday I will find out what school I am teaching at, I will meet  my co-teacher, vice principle and principle and be taken to my apartment.   It is all very nerve racking….

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One Comment leave one →
  1. LARRY WRAY permalink
    March 9, 2011 4:02 pm

    AHN-NYEONS ; WISHING YOU THE BEST, FUN TO READ ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES, HOPE YOU FIND HAPPINESS AND FUN IN YOUR NEW ADVENTURE, I WILL LOOK FORWARD TO MORE FROM THE SMART ONE IN THE FAMILY LOVE YOU .ANNYONG KASHIPSHIO. LARRY

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