Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Welcome to Korea!

 I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I promise my other posts will be shorter!!

MONDAY/TUESDAY: After about 29 hours of traveling including 3 flights and a bus ride I finally arrived to the site of my orientation, Jeonju University. Needless to say I was practically sleep walking at that point.

at the airport
The big flight had delicious food! We got 2 meals and snacks! I was most excited to watch tv and movies because on my previous 2 international flights there were no mini tvs, so this made passing the time much more enjoyable!
at the rest stop on the bus ride
So we arrived at the university about midnight on Tuesday night. We checked in, got our room numbers and went upstairs to crash.
Cute little dorm room (fancy key pad to get in, and on the top right is where you come in and take off your shoes)

WEDNESDAY: Morning came far too quickly since my time for my medical check-up was 7:30. That lasted about an hour leaving some time to chill and eat lunch until the opening ceremony that afternoon. Lunch was delicious. I got the opportunity to meet several new people as well as taste my first Korean food! Also, no forks or knives, only chopsticks and a spoon!
This program accepts teachers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, the U.K., and the U.S. It's always so great to meet people from all over! The opening ceremony was wicked awesome! It was nice to get more information and listen to an interesting lecture, but the highlight was the performances!

Following the ceremony, we met with our group that we would be having lectures with for the duration of orientation. There's about 400 people in total in our orientation so we're split up into 8 classes and each class into 2 groups. So in my class there are 48 people.

mint hot chocolate!
Dinner, Yum!
That night we had the delicious welcoming dinner where we sat with our class, a great opportunity to introduce each other. Later a group of us walked to a huge store about a mile away where we picked up a few necessities, concluding with a stop for a delicious drink on the walk back.
THURSDAY: Lectures begin at 9 am and the day continues until 8:30 pm. This can be quite the challenge when jet lag wants to be your best friend, but we pushed through it! Today we had lectures on elementary school, English comprehension, then a lunch break, then ones on class management, and content-based lessons. After that we get a dinner break. After dinner and before survival Korean class a friend and I did a little exploring and came across a lovely place for some dessert!

FRIDAY: So today began with a Taekwondo class! So awesome and intense!! I had really been looking forward to this one! I want to learn it and take classes while I'm here possibly. After that we had lectures on school culture, co-teaching, and lesson planning followed by more Korean lessons. That night I went out with a few people to a place where basically everyone from orientation goes. I tried the famous soju for the first time. Soju is a distilled beverage native to Korea, similar to vodka, but a bit sweeter. I sampled the regular plain one, and 2 flavored ones, kiwi and pineapple!

SATURDAY: Field trip day!!! Yay!! We all boarded buses and went to Jeonju Hanok (means traditional Korean houses) Village. Our first stop was at the Traditional Wine Museum. Next, we went over to the Traditional Paper Center. The paper is called Hanji and we got to view different phases of the manufacturing process which was quite interesting to see!

Then we had some free time to wander around the village so we checked out the Gyeonggijeon Shrine (built 1410) where the portrait of the first King of the Joseon dynasty is enshrined. Also, had the opportunity to experience my first Korean street food, and explore the little roads a bit.

During lunch we had the chance to experience Bibimpab which literally means "mixed meal." It was delicious! That afternoon,we went to the traditional culture center where we got to make pencil boxes using the Hanji, play and learn rhythms on the Korean drums, and learn steps of the traditional mask dance.

SUNDAY: Today was lectures on after school and camps, lesson planning part 2, lesson preparation, and cooperative learning. We are in a group of 3 and we have to create a lesson to present in front of our group and leaders. Followed by more Korean lessons and a night out!

MONDAY: First we learned about EPIK English Program in Korea) life and etiquette, powerpoint use, secondary schools, and wonders of Korea. During the last session we got to try on the traditional clothes called Hanbok. Tonight we had time for lesson preparations instead of Korean class.

  TUESDAY: All morning and part of the afternoon we watched lesson demonstrations from our fellow team members and presented ours as well.  In the afternoon we met our supervisors from our areas and signed our final contracts, had the closing ceremony, and then our farewell dinner.
got to get lots of different things to try!

 WEDNESDAY: We all depart early in the morning and go our separate ways....

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