Welcome to my new blog! For anyone who does not know, I just moved to the city of Busan, South Korea to teach English to 3-6 year old kids. The purpose of this blog is to keep family and friends updated about what I am doing here. I will also use it to comment on Korean culture, vent my frustration, or express whatever other thoughts I have. You can expect to see lots of pictures and videos of Korea, my school, and my travels.
Today is only my second full day here so everything is still very new and exciting. The trip from Chicago went surprising well, given my history of international travel. After getting in, I met the director of my school and he showed me to my apartment. The director of the school, Eric, seems like a very nice guy and he speaks English very well, which I'm very happy about, to say the least. The location of the apartment is awesome, too. There seems to be plenty of nightlife options closeby (Norae-bang, or karaoke bars, are seriously on every block). There is also large market directly across the street, which is packed with fresh seafoods and unidentifiable produce.
As for the apartment itself, it is a brand new one-room efficiency studio. I was glad to see that there is AC, as well as a washing machine. There is not, however a shower. Or, the shower is the bathroom itself. A shower head connects to the sink, there is a drain on the ground, and you shower right next the toilet and sink. Very efficient... Also distinctly Korean is the heating. Instead of air vents, there is something which heats the floor from underneath. I have heard that this heating system is adapted from the way traditional Korean homes are heated. It actually feels very good on my feet, but at this point I doubt how effective it is at heating the room.
Yesterday I went with my director to the school where I will be teaching, called Igaem. Though it is a 20 minute subway ride from my apartment, the school has an incredible location, in an upscale area right next to a gorgeous beach and park. Inside, the school has some of the most colorful rooms I have seen (I will post pictures, sometime). The kids were, of course, ridiculously cute, and the other teachers seemed very nice. I will be the only native speaker in the school and as far as I know, there are only two other people who speak English at the school (we'll see how that goes). The curriculum of the school follows some German philosophy which promotes learning through play. So, as my director told me, my job will be to play with the kids and work in English wherever I can. If that doesn't sound easy enough, I will have a month and a half of part time work to get used to it. Until March, I will only be teaching from 10:10-11:50. Even adding planning time, this seems like an outrageously light work load. Starting in March, however, the school is expanding to include 6 year olds, and I will begin teaching 30 hours/week.
For now, I will be busy exploring this new city and trying my best to get by without knowing Korean! I'll post again soon.