Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

    Helo welcom 2 my websight

Before the new semester starts..

As the two month winter vacation is coming to a close, I thought this wouldn’t be a bad time to let you all know I’m still alive and tell you a little bit about what I’ve been up to these days.

It probably won’t surprise you when I say I’ve been sort of busy even though I’ve technically been having nothing but free time every day since late December last year. I started working two jobs in January, in addition to the two students I was already tutoring, so there hasn’t exactly been a lot of time to travel or do other ‘vacation-y’ stuff.

For the past two months, I’ve been working as an English teacher at two 학원 (hagwon; private institute) located in Goyang (the complete opposite corner of Seoul from where I live, about 1.5 hours by subway and bus) and Cheonan (a completely different city, about 2 hours by subway, train/bus and taxi). The reason I ended up working in the middle of nowhere is that in both cases, I was helping out a friend. Either way, although getting up at 6.15 in the morning for a 2 hour commute isn’t exactly the most riveting thing I could think of to do with my morning (I’d much rather..oh..I dunno..sleep?) I really enjoyed my time at both schools and learned a lot about teaching English in the process.

geunhye

[This is one of my favorites. This kid is so well informed about politics it’s hilarious. His story is about Park Geun-Hye, the president of Korea. The blue house is like America’s white house. Geun-Hye is currently undergoing an impeachment trial because she pretty much let some shamanistic medium run the country in her stead and accepting bribes from companies. The shaman’s name is Choi Soon-Shil. The president’s daughter, Yura, was also said to be bribed into university and has since had her diploma revoked. Knowing all this I suppose you can probably see why this one is my favorite. SHE GETTED ALL THE BRIBES.]

ginger-cookie

[The sad, sad story of the Ginger cookie is a close runner up. In this case, my student didn’t actually follow the story I wrote on the board but instead made up her own, and I really appreciate when kids do that.]

laser-dragon

[Although sending Laser Dragons to attack the US while Ice Golems protect Korea is also pretty good.]

super-happiness-lovely

[This girl is amazing at drawing. But her Super Happyness Lovely drawing has very little to do with her cute story about a talking cat.]

I used to think I’d just graduate, get a job and live happily ever after, but from this experience I’ve realized that teaching (but especially classroom management) is crazy hard and tough on your body, especially your throat. Most of the kids are wonderful though, and they make every day worth it even if it’s hard on me. Honestly, when I’m actually teaching time flies compared to any other job I’ve ever had. I work nine hours a day, but they just zip by. You always have to be on your toes, you’re always running around fetching something, helping someone or trying to keep the class from becoming a bit too similar to a monkey pen in the zoo and before you know it your 2 hour class is up and you wonder what you even really did in the end.

So, even though it’s very tiring and can be quite taxing, it also makes me feel really happy. Some of the kids are absolutely hilarious, even some of the bad ones, and I really feel a sense of satisfaction when I see them being creative with English, writing silly sentences or drawing cute pictures to accompany their stories. Being a teacher might not be the easiest profession out there, but I think it will be worth it just to see the kids you teach have fun and get better at English one class at a time.

class-1

[My kids also wrote me the cutest little going away cards, and one of them even bought me the same pencil case as she had because I was always talking about how much I love that character.]


I haven’t been working full time though, so I did still have some time to enjoy myself.
Earlier this month, I took a short trip to Cheongju, Daejon and Daegu to visit my friends and my old ‘home town’. Unfortunately, due to it being vacation period not only for my university but all universities in Korea, my old university was also pretty much empty with none of the teachers that I’d hoped to meet present, but it was still nice to walk the streets of Daegu again and see all the familiar sights.

It reminded me a lot of how new, exciting and kind of scary everything was when I first got there, fresh off the bus in the depth of night in August 2014. Not sure if I’d ever be able to learn that difficult language and keep up with the level of Korean universities, afraid if I’d be able to make friends and worried about living in such a big city. Now that I’ve lived in Seoul for a year, Daegu doesn’t feel that big and scary anymore, and even though I didn’t work as hard as I should have while I was studying, at least I know Korean well enough to be able to live comfortably these days. My GPA is still 4.5 (that’s a 10/10 for the Dutchies) and I’m living so much better now than I was back in those early days. I don’t think I’ve made all the right decisions since I came here, but I’m glad it all worked out as well as it did.

Anyway, not to get too melodramatic, I have also, of course, been attending Starcraft matches religiously. With the constant fear of the last major Starcraft 2 tournament in Korea also being taken away from us looming overhead, I’ve tried to visit as many times as I could whenever someone I like was playing.

Other than that and hanging out with friends, not too much is going on these days. I guess I saw Rogue One last month and I thought it was much better than The Force Awakens but still not especially amazing or anything (though I did love seeing Tarkin again) and I’ve signed on for an extra year in my room because I’m WAY too lazy to move out. I also started playing some video games but haven’t been able to actually finish any of them so far and I don’t expect I’ll have the time to when the semester starts again, but it’s nice to have the option I suppose.

I’m going to get ready to go halfway across Seoul to go see some more Starcraft again right now, but I’d very much like to write a bit more substantial post about Korea in the near future so hopefully it won’t be too long until we meet again.

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3 comments on “Before the new semester starts..

  1. Chris French
    22 February 2017

    It’s good to see things working out for you.

    • Anon Of Holland
      23 February 2017

      Well, I don’t know about ‘working out’ but at least they’re working, I suppose!
      How are things with you these days?

  2. Marcel Luijten
    25 February 2017

    Nice work Richard , enjoy and go on, finish what you started .
    Nice writing by the way.

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This entry was posted on 22 February 2017 by in Diary, Korea and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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