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"So I guess this is where I'm supposed to introduce myself. I'm a Canadian male teaching ESL in Seoul, Republic of Korea. This will be my second stint teaching ESL, only this time I'll be teaching at a High School, using my actual teaching experience to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me - no question's too small. Take care, and enjoy the ride."

Other Blogs of Note

  • Student in Korea
  • Seoul Man
  • The Daily Kimchi
  • Surviving South Korea
  • Books I'm Reading

  • "Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire" by Niall Ferguson
  • "Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World" by Haruki Murakami
  • "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P. Huntington
  • "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth" by Benjamin M Friedman
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  • intro to Seoul Sunday, February 27, 2005 |

    greetings from seoul!
    the weather here is pretty cold for winter, although its a deceptive cold - the weather looks nice, with a fall-like atmosphere, and then you step outside, and the chill greets you like a slap to the face; clearly unwelcoming.
    at present, the living conditions are far from preferred; my hag-won, or after-school tutor program, is dutch-like cheap. I'm sharing my accommodation with the only couple located at the school, and my room is roughly the size of a shoe box. I’ve been living here since tuesday night, when i arrived, and will be living here until saturday, when my room in another apt opens.
    So far, things have been going pretty well; not perfect. but then, very few things ever are. The staff here seems okay, but initial impressions are hard to interpret. everyone is always nice to all the new people, so true impressions of the staff are hard to decipher.
    as far as the city goes, its hard to describe. The vast scope of everything is enormous. I’m living in one of the wealthier districts of Seoul, however, everything looks so similar, it's very easy to get disoriented. as far as the reception by the Koreans, overall, if you’re in a personal situation with any Korean, they’re very nice and polite, or at least as far as their English can take you (then it goes into non-communication gestures, which can be interesting to watch...) however, when you enter the Korean subway system, its a completely different story. I’ve never been to NYC, and the largest city i’ve ever been in is Chicago. Imagine (or remember) NYC in rush hour, or in Chicago on the red-line on the way to an afternoon game at Wrigley Field, and you get the impression of what its like to ride the subway during noon-time rush hour is a whole different story. As a foreigner, they treat you like anyone else, which equates to pushing, shoving, and complete chaos.
    Most Koreans work seventy hour work weeks - its hard to get an impression of what time of the week it is; everywhere you go, they’re working. for myself, my schedule doesn’t look too bad. i'm still not 100% over my jet lag (the waking up early, and getting tired early part is the worst) the toughest thing about any new teacher coming in is that you have to follow in the steps of the previous teacher; if they were good, and the parents liked how they taught, then you have a tough act to follow. if the teacher didn’t do a good job, and the parents didn’t like how they taught, then the parents look to you to turn around their child (if they’re still going to the hag-won). the esl market is so strong here, that if the parents don’t like how you teach, then they pull their children out. the flip-side of that being that you end up having children constantly coming and going - it leads to somewhat tough teaching conditions.
    well, thats all i can do for right now - i’ll see about writing more as time progresses. i hope that all are doing well
    - caio!!

    climbing mount vesuvius Friday, February 18, 2005 |

    well, i haven't started packing yet, and my flight leaves on monday morning from detroit. somewhere along the adventure of booking a flight, and inbetweenand the numerous discussions with my travel agent (who, i might add, is a native South Korean, and knows english only as a second language) her interpretation of me saying "I need to be there on February 21st" turned into my travel agent calling me back three days later, proclaiming "congratulations, we found you a flight that leaves on the day you wanted to - the 21st". somewhere near the end of her saying that sentence, there was this dead space in the conversation, where, i'm assuming i was supposed to congratulate her for finding EXACTLY what i asked her for. i'm sure that when my school got their receipt in the mail for my flight - somewhere in the range of 800US for a one-way fare, they decided that the afternoon of the 22nd was just fine....either way, this language thing is going to be more difficult than i thought.....i should remind myself (for who knows how many times..) that i'm teaching esl, and listening skills are going to be the difference in me making a good time in South Korea, and checking off the days until i can teach esl in another country. lets hope that there isn't anything else lost in translation when i arrive in South Korea. i'm hoping that in a city of 10 million inhabitants, and an average of 17,500 people per square kilometer, i'll be able to find someone who speaks good english who lives close to me. i'm thinking that the odds are in my favour.....

    soaking up the native soil Friday, February 04, 2005 |

    well, for those of you reading this, i'm still living in Sarnia - i haven't left yet. for those of you who don't know what i'm talking about, surprise, i'm going to south korea, for a year! the school where i am going to be teaching wants me to arrive on feb 21, and they're 14 hours ahead, which means, with an average flying time of 22 hours, i'll be leaving on roughly the 19th. this site will be my way of saving myself the hassle of trying to write e-mails to all of you who are interested in reading about my experiences. this way, if you want to read, then you can. if you don't want to read, then don't. if you want to write a comment to something i wrote, or something that someone else wrote, then you can. i'll occasionally post pictures, and i'd still love to get e-mails, but this will be a way of simplifying the whole process. well, i hope that for those of you who are interested in this souce, that i'll be able to provide some sort of glimpse into life in south korea.