Tag Archives: induction training

More snack adventures

25 Feb

I decided to try this mysterious can:

Check out the Korean Coke cans behind. They're all cute and tall and Red Bull sized! Okay, it amused me.

It had peaches on, and was next to the iced tea, so I figured… peach tea? Nope. Peach juice! Which was actually pretty nice. Except… peach pieces. In a can. These all sunk to the bottom, then came out in a rush when I tipped up the can to get the dregs. They were a weird consistency, like they’d been preserved somehow, maybe partially dried? A bit chewy anyway. Not totally pleasant, but not totally gross either. And a whole load of them wouldn’t come out of the can at all. So far a thumbs up from me but not a can I’d pick up for on the go. A bit of a choking hazard.

I also bought some chocolate filled biscuit things, which I recognise from a Japanese box of the same sort of thing that my brother bought me once.

They were plain nommy, although in a very cheap tasting way. No complaints here! I like cheap.

 

Getting crafty in Korea

24 Feb

Just a quick update on my visit to the Hanok Traditional Korean Village. It was a place basically preserved as a traditional village for tourists to come and see, and we were able to look around and try out some traditional Korean dancing, drumming and paper crafting. Crafts! YESSSSSS! Now we’re talking!

The paper crafting involved a lot of pasting and folding and smoothing, and it was aided (or hindered) by the Korean experts who occasionally came round to offer advice (in Korean) followed by hand gestures, followed by impatiently doing it for you. Women I can relate to, after trying to teach so many people to knit in my time. The extra fun thing was knowing we’d seen a guy making the paper using the traditional methods just that morning! Okay, no, the fun part was the pasting.

My finished box, of which I was insanely proud.

The field trip was fun, but mostly for the activities, rather than the cultural sight seeing which was slightly fake feeling. There was, however, an couple of cute dogs. Like this one!

I know, I know, but it’s my first dog in Korea! And he was a very handsome dog! Alright, you want culture? How about this:

A traditional Korean building, which was part of a shrine we visited, which was extremely pretty. Want more?

Please note the traditional Korean theatre mask is accompanied by the traditional Korean flicking of the Vs.

This is a traditional theatre mask. We got a chance to try them on after learning some steps from a traditional dance, which is best described as Korean Morris dancing, I think!

I’m sorry this post is light on actual text. I’m still very tired from the goings on of the week. I also haven’t taken a lot of time to examine my feelings about all of this, and I think this is because my feelings seem to change every hour! I’m being collected by my Korean co-teacher and taken to my apartment on Monday, so I will be without the internet for a while, although not offline, as there are plenty of PC Bang (internet cafes) about. I will try to give a more thorough update on my new living arrangement as soon as I can!

Aside

Taekwondo and Korean treats

22 Feb

This is just a brief update as I have homework to do for Korean class… I just wanted to throw up some pictures of me in taekwondo class:

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Getting my kick on. I yelled A LOT whilst practising this. It seemed to help!

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Apparently if I take classes EVERY DAY, I could be a black belt by the time my year in Korea is up. Although it does seem unlikely!

Tomorrow is field trip day so I’m going to take my camera and try to remember to use it. I haven’t really taken any photos myself so far (the ones above are by http://www.facebook.com/chanwoong and all photography credits go to him).

Currently I’m having a quiet night in, checking emails and Facebook and trying to do some brainstorming and failing miserably. I’m a bit hungover today, you see, as last night was my introduction to the local drink soju, which is like a weaker vodka and way too easy to drink. I also met some slushy fruity soju cocktails and a large amount of beer. Oops. Still, it was nice to relax a little after a fairly packed schedule here.

My homework snacks are keeping me entertained. I’m trying out this beverage:

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Don’t be fooled by the name. This is a soft drink, and it basically tastes like cheap lemonade. It had the benefit of being a drink that actually had some English writing on it (the Korean name is on the other side of the bottle) so I felt fairly safe in picking it up.

I also picked up a chocolate bar which featured no English writing on it apart from the word “premium”. Premium is good! I like premium! And everything else seemed to be Hersheys (yuck, sorry Americans) or Twix bars.

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This is going to be interesting, I figured. Someone in my class had already tried out a different bar by the same brand which had turned out to be basically a dark chocolate Snickers, or so I am informed. I expected nuts, and went from there…

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I got a kind of soft, nutty nougat with a caramel top layer covered in chocolate. It was YUM. I will definitely be looking for this again! I attempted to translate the name of it with my poor Korean skills but the font is confusing… it could be something like “Jah-yoo-see-gahd” but then again, maybe not!

I’m here!

21 Feb

I wrote this blog post last night, so please adjust accordingly for time! I only got the internet working today.

I arrived in South Korea yesterday after a day spent on two planes (one for about 4 hours, the other for about 9 and a half hours) and a three hour coach journey. Today I have been very jet lagged, feeling queasy and tired as I fight my body over when it’s time to eat and sleep. It’s been a difficult day but hopefully tomorrow will be better. I’ve never experienced jet lag before, even when flying to Malaysia, so I’m confident that it won’t last for long.

The trip was easy, really. I did cry a bit though. I was so tired from not being able to sleep the night before, and feeling stressed out and scared about my big adventure that it was all quite overwhelming. I was still determined to go, though, and jump right into this crazy, ill-thought-through decision to come to Korea to teach. I reasoned that if you can move to another country for a year for the first time, to start a job you’ve never done before, and you DON’T freak out, then you’re clearly a robot (and I’m sure Asimov would agree).

So far we spent today being introduced to the EPIK programme and the training we’ll be having here at Jeonju University. The university has the cutest slogan – Jeonju University: The Place For Superstars. We are staying on the university campus in dorms which sleep two to a room. I’m sharing with a lovely Canadian girl, and across the hall are a young British couple who are really nice too. Making friends over dinner in the canteen is pretty weird – it feels like a weird mix of holiday camp and early days of university when you really wanted to make some friends. I can’t say I have any proper buds yet, but everyone is really chatty and friendly, and the British guys across the hall are going to Busan too so I’m hoping they’ll want to stay in touch and not just keep to themselves.

Today had a traditional entertainment display featuring some drumming, a fan dance and an amazing tae kwon do demonstration from the university team, who were spectacular. The choreographed 7 on 1 fight scene to some metal music, and the smashing of boards with feet, was only bested by the dance party finish where the team body-popped to “Every Day I’m Shuffling” (or whatever that song is called), and they were finally aloud to smile. The kids were both adorable and terrifying – they were so serious whilst yelling and smashing things and leaping about like angry cats, and then so cute and chipper when dancing across the stage to take their bows!

Tomorrow I get a chance to try out tae kwon do for myself, as well as having some TEFL-type lectures and some basic Korean lessons. That’s the format for the next two days (Tues and Weds) and then we have a field trip to try out some traditional Korean crafts, and learn a bit more about the history and culture of the country.

My schedule here is pretty tight with lessons up until about 8.30pm, but I will try to figure out the weird internet security and get this posted tomorrow evening. I am surprised that the university security means we can only connect to the internet via cable. So old school for the land of the super fast internet!

Korea update…

12 Jan

I can’t think of a snappy title for this post, because I’m freaking out.

Basically, I haven’t been doing much in the way of preparing to go to Korea to teach for a year. After I sent in all my application stuff and my visa documents, I just relaxed. I had a new temping job keeping me busy during the days and wiping me out in the evenings, and without a definite start date or location, Korea just seemed like it would happen *waves hand vaguely* next year. 

Maybe it was because getting the documents sorted out seemed to take forever. Maybe 2012 just sounds too much like The Future. Whatever it was, my big moving to Korea plan didn’t feel real until today, when I received the email telling me when I was due to arrive.

19th February. That’s the day I’m supposed to arrive in Incheon for my induction training. That’s just about 5 weeks away.

Oh crap.

What else can I tell you? Well, after my induction I’m going to be moving to Busan, where I’ll be spending the year. Busan is on the South East coast of South Korea, and is the second biggest city (according to some sources). I’m really excited about that location. It was pretty much the best I could have hoped for.  Other than that, I have a packed itinerary for my induction week. Highlights seem to include a medical including a drugs test (I’m not allowed to take cold medicine or painkillers for a week beforehand, apparently) and something labelled “Korean Cultural Experiences”. Oh, and there’s a lecture on “edutainment”. I’m excited.

Map of South Korea

Other than freaking out, which is normal for me (I freak out before every big life change, because nothing ever seems real to me until it’s actually happening), I’m feeling fairly well prepared. In some ways, anyway. I’ve bought some nice trousers and comfy ladies work shoes because I’m worried my long legs (I’m 5’8”) and large feet will be a problem in Korea. I’ve also put some thought into how to hide my tattoos (long sleeves and plasters) and bought a guide book. I’ve started packing my things away neatly and I’m getting some friends over to help me thin down my wardrobe ready for storage.

Busan is a coastal city popular for its beaches

It might be easier to say what I haven’t done. I haven’t learnt any Korean. This was a big part of my plans for preparing to leave, and I’m annoyed with myself that I haven’t had the motivation to do it. Hopefully I still have time to pick up some of the basics before I go. I couldn’t afford lessons, really, but I might try and at least get one or two in with a Korean teacher before I leave, to help me feel more prepared. I also haven’t filled out my visa application (should take about five minutes!) or prepared all the documentation I’ll need to take with me, although it should all be in my files, since I had to gather it all together for my application.

Busan at night

Now I’ve got a start date, I can book my flight and work out my luggage allowance and how on earth to pack for a year abroad. Any tips from travellers and gappers out there?

Truth be told I’m mostly freaking out about teaching. I enjoyed it during my TEFL course, but that was just a taster with some very understanding students. I’m concerned about teaching again. Standing up in front of people like that is a nerve-wracking experience until you get to know your class. I wish I could teach one more class before I go, to reassure myself that I can actually do this!

For now, though, I’m just going to continue quietly freaking out.

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