Teaching English in Daegu, South Korea!

Archive for the ‘2010 EPIK Orientation’ Category

12 hours is Half a Day

12 hours is half a day. Just on the airplane, you spend HALF A DAY. We were at the airport early ‘just in case,’ but Portland airport is always pretty easy. SFO on the other hand was kind of a nightmare. I thought I was at Disneyland the way that there were lines, long lines for everything. I had never been on a flight that lasted more than 6 hours…so needless to say I was feeling a little nervous for the 12 hours flight. Before we boarded we had a 4 hours layover in SFO so naturally, we ate cheeseburgers at 9 am.

We swept the currency counter clean of won after we were through with them and set for…another long line. This line was crowded and chaotic.

12 HOUR FLIGHT turned into 11! Somehow some way we landed an hour early- I have never been on a flight that has done that. We went through a short line at immigration and customs was funny because you just hand off a piece of paper as they are RUSHING you past them. We found Henry Oh who gave us our cell phone…mine was dead…along with the spare battery… so let me charge it on his for ten minutes… he told me to buy a charger if I wanted to make the battery last longer. hrm.

Ticket and Passport!!

Korean Air was a delight to be on, these blankets were very soft. I understand why they have a disclaimer about stealing it.

Watch movies the whole time? OKay!

The device that helped you watch movies and play tetris!

The bus ride was FULL of luggage and people. On our way to JeonJu I saw a sign leading to Angyang~ I wanted to take a picture but it wasn’t humanly possible. It got dark soon after we boarded the bus and all of the sudden the sky started to light up. I thought it was just a car, but Jeff pointed out that it was lightening in the sky. It was hot, sticky and lighteninginging. We stopped at a rest stop in (I can’t remember the name and I don’t know how to change my google to English at the moment so I can’t figure it out either.) It was hotter outside than in the bus where the air was actually beginning to freeze me. An hour to go, but it felt like 4. We finally arrive at JeonJu. Everyone is tired, grumpy and very sweaty. We get our “gifts” from EPIK and a room assignment. We staggered to the elevator, limped to our room and TOOK A SHOWER. We both took showers and went to bed wet. It took all of 6 seconds to fall asleep haha. I woke up at 6 am with excitement and wanting to clean up the room, organize my clothes for the stay. Jeff was having none of that. He had to plea with me to be very quiet so he could sleep the extra hour while I was having fun organizing.

The entrance to the JeonJu University village.

This morning we ate breakfast next to a couple from Corvallis, what are the odds that in a room full of people- we meet the people from Oregon? haha They were really nice and they are staying right next to us!

Next, was our tour of JeonJu Uni which was brief and told us how to get to places. Then we walked around JeonJu Univerisy village. Thats right, we are sectioned off in a village of university. When we reached the end it was hard to tell how far we would have had to go to reach anything else!

So, we are at JeonJu, everyone is real nice and it is hot as hell. The air barely moves and when it does you can hear it because of the cicada beetles.

Things I found after I set up my computer…

*Pandora doesn’t work in Korea : (

*Netflix doesn’t work in Korea : (

Day 1: Welcome to Korea- here are some acts that show a little Korean culture…

Traditional Drums!

Yep, hes braking a piece of wood with his foot...no biggie. These are the JeonJu University Taekwondo club. They were so much fun!

Traditional Korean Fan Dancing.

It was a long and hot day. Tomorrow I have to wake up early to have 4 viles of blood drawn out of me…without eating or drinking any water beforehand… doesn’t sound right does it?

Fear of…

I have this terrible fear that for SOME reason I will be ending up in South Korea on the wrong day. I just read a couple blogs about people who arrive and are a day late or a day early- how did that happen? Knowing me, it will happen to me! How do I make sure that I am arriving in Seoul on the right day?

Almost Time to Go… “7 days….”

In 7 days I will be in JeonJu at the University ready to start Day 1 of orientation. But before I can do that I have to finish my time here. I had a Bye-Bye Party this weekend that was so much fun. Lots of friends and family came and I felt so special! Sounds corny, but it felt really good.

Chocolate cupcakes with raspberry chocolate ganache filling and cream cheese raspberry frosting. yummy!

Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Yumm!

Jeff, baby Ella and I!! Her shirt says "Someone in South Korea loves me!"

After the ByeBye Party reality set in and I told myself that I needed to look to the future some more. I got excited by looking at this: The schedule for the orientation!

Day 1 will consist of a campus tour, opening ceremony about EPIK life and a welcoming dinner!

Day 2 will have the medical check up (sad) and Korean History classes. Accompanied by Korean movies at night, but not until after Korean language classes.

Day 3 has classes about teaching and how to be a successful communicator. Again, more Korean language then movies.

Day 4– I think we go somewhere because it just says that we are going to have “Korean Cultural Experiences.” o0o lala.

Day 5 will have more about teaching, co-teaching, differentiation, lesson planning and classroom management classes. Oh wait! Korean movies at night haha.

Day 6 is a duplicate of Day5.

Day 7 has a mini lesson demonstration and meeting with supervisors and a farewell dinner before everyone leaves to their perspective place in the country.

Day 8 will consist of a closing ceremony and lunch then we will go to where we are living! ahh!!!

Now to the present- my packing.

My luggage is beginning to fill up with only one PACKMAX in it...uhoh...this is going to be rough.

To prepare myself for the language in Korea, Lana showed me this book that had a bunch of useful phrases. I can walk away with her teaching me how to say “yes” in Korean. This will help me a LOT!!! Thank you! Now…I must conquer more by finishing my pre-orientation online for EPIK. 20 lessons hooray…

NOA: Daegu?

Teehee, so all this time I have been telling people that I am headed to Busan. Busan bound. Beautiful beach town & teaching. Yesterday I figured out that I am not going to Busan but going to Daegu in stead! The news of this switch however came as a big surprise when Jeff got his contract 3.5 hours before me. His stated that he was assigned to Daegu- all I could think was, where the hell am I? So I missed the DHL guy first time around and called him immediately. He told me that he could “probably swing by at 2:30.”

I waited around….

I waited around… unable to concentrate on anything else for more than 10 minutes because I would be looking out the window!!!

Finally, he showed up with a big smile and handed me the envelope. Inside was

1. NOA

2. 2 contracts

3. EPIK packet

4. Visa E-2 form

The beloved DHL package!

NOA: Daegu!

The contract. Half in Korean, half in English.

EPIK information. 5 page packet with lists and websites about getting ready.

So the waiting game is over for receiving real documents from EPIK! Yay! I am just so anxious to see how this all pans out. There was some confusion with my contract and the salary- but that will be cleared up at orientation. Thanks to Joyce for all of her efforts! Hooray! Up next…filling out the Visa E-2 application. This is confusing.

Now that we found out we are going to Daegu, I have been doing a lot of research on the area. It seems really vibrant and beautiful!

Daegu's night skyline.

I found a cute video, it just strolls through Daegu- a quick snap shot!

Tracking Number for NOA!

The tracking number came yesterday but I didn’t have time to write! Look at where it is AS OF NOW!

Sooo…it is in Portland and in the truck on its way to be delivered to my house at any point today! What a glorious day! This day has finally arrived!

Now that I have this on the way Jeff and I are figuring out how to get our E2 visas. I posted on a facebook group for all of the other EPIK, GEPIK and SMOE people to ask them if they had any idea. They all came back with really helpful ideas. Found out that there might be a mail-it-in option. I say this because if there wasn’t then we would drive up to Seattle to get our visas. 3.5 hours…I guess I don’t mind but I would rather not spend all that gas money! Id rather spend it in Korea!!! So for sure, we would have to leave the 15th to make it to orientation by the 18th in the morning. When I get my flight details I will post that, but I can’t do that until I get my contract.

I am continuing to get rid of things and “size down” my life. I am finding it much harder. Is it sad that I want to bring baskets and organization things! I am afraid to pack. People got me thinking about it on the discussion boards and it nearly gave me a panic attack. My life will not fit into two suitcases. No way. I guess it’ll have to! haha Maybe I will have signed a contract and sent it back to EPIK next time I post! I hope so!!

Potential Orientation Dates!

Yay!!!

Another e-mail from EPIK today stating that there is a potential date for orientation : ) Now it is not just hear say from Dave ESL cafe for me, but from someone who knows more about my job.

Here is what was sent to me from a consultant from KorVia in South Korea:

Team 1 Team 2 Team 3
Period 8.17 – 8.25 8.18 – 8.26 8.19 – 8.27
Place Kyung Hee University

(Yongin Campus)

JeonJu University

(Jeonju)

National Institute for International Education

(Seoul)

POE Seoul Busan, Daegu, Daejeon Gwangju, Ulsan, Jeonbuk/Jeonnam,  Gyeongbuk/Gyeongnam Incheon, Gyeonggi,

Gangwon, Chungbuk,

Jeju

Pick-up Service Aug. 17th only

(Tuesday)

Aug. 18th only

(Wednesday)

Aug. 19th only

(Thursday)

So…I know that EPIK training lasts for more than 1 day so having this tentative schedule makes me feel better about having a job- also it confuses me! So I arrive on the 18th good to know, JeonJu University is not close to Busan at all so that is funny.

The route I would take from the orientation in JeonJu to Busan, where I would be teaching.

I am however very happy to know that I am considered to be on their mailing list as having a job! 🙂 Jeff and I are near each other on the mailing list and maybe that is a sign that we will be near each other in Busan…the 2nd largest city in South Korea, oye vey. I feel like we will be alright, we both have so much that we want to accomplish while in Korea and it will be a great experience for both of us together and apart.

More to come once we find out more… Joyce did ask us for our addresses so EPIK is sending us our contracts soon. Well the e-mail says by mid July- oh my! So much for getting our documents in early to get the process rolling…!!! I am hoping that our timely manner will place us near each other in Busan. It is all coming together! Ahh I have started to pack away things and give things away.

🙂

Dear EPIK Teachers,

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that you have become a successful EPIK teacher for the Fall 2010 semester.

This e-mail was really exciting! It stated that yes, for sure, I am an English teacher through EPIK. However, the email was very vague because it was a mas e-mail. It instructed me to contact my recruiter for more information. Buuttt….she didn’t know more yet and I was told to be patient. Patient! I am very patient! I just need to know, I want to buy a plane ticket and just know how long my time is going to be here at home.

So, this email was something but kind of nothing all at the same time. Jeff and I are still in limbo but we have been thinning down our belongings and are starting to think about studying the letters and phonetics of Korean. : )