Archive for February, 2010


Saturday & Sunday, February 20-21:  During the first weekend of our orientation, EPIK introduces us to a bit of Korean culture by taking us to Jeonju and the historic Hanok Village.  We visit Buddhist temples and historic buildings.

me, freezing in Jeonju

me, freezing in Jeonju

B in Jeonju

B in Jeonju

Myrna

Myrna

We learn how to play Korean drums.

Me taking Korean drum lessons

Me taking Korean drum lessons

playing the drums

playing the drums

Myrna plays drums

Myrna plays drums

We go outdoors, where we watch another impromptu street performance and then congregate for group pictures.

??, Myrna and B

??, Myrna and B

??, Myrna and me

??, Myrna and me

Korean dancer

Korean dancer

The EPIK group

The EPIK group

Then we rotate through a variety of rooms where we do little arts and crafts projects.  I feel like I’m in 3rd grade again. 🙂

Me making some weird little character out of string

Me making some weird little character out of string

B's little person

B’s little person

Then some of us don animal costumes and do dances on stage.

some of our group dances in Korean animal costumes

some of our group dances in Korean animal costumes

We eat lunch in cold Korean restaurants.

Lunchtime with me, Tarren, B and ??

Lunchtime with me, Tarren, B and ??

Me, Tarren, B and ??

Me, Tarren, B and ??

Lunchtime in another icy cold Korean restaurant

Lunchtime in another icy cold Korean restaurant

Bibimbap

Bibimbap

And we visit the historic Hanok Village.

At Hanok Village, Alyssa and me

At Hanok Village, Alyssa and me

B in Hanok Village

B in Hanok Village

Me at Hanok Village

Me at Hanok Village

Hanok Village

Hanok Village

Snacktime

Snacktime

roasting yams

roasting yams

We join in a crazy Korean street dance with some wild-looking performers.

dancing on the streets of Hanok Village

dancing on the streets of Hanok Village

fun-loving Korean dancers

fun-loving Korean dancers

More dancing on the street

More dancing on the street

Crazy times

Crazy times

Korean fun

Korean fun

Dancing in the streets

Dancing in the streets

More dancing

More dancing

We visit the historic grounds of Gyeonggijeon and its bamboo grove, where lovers have carved their initials into the bamboo.  Gyeonggijeon was built to preserve the portrait of King Taejo Yi Seong-gye, founder of the Joseon dynasty.  Originally Gyeonggijeon was a gigantic building with many attached buildings, but it lost half of its land during the Japanese occupation.

me in a bamboo grove

me in the bamboo grove attached to Gyeonggijeon

Wednesday, February 17:  Today, we arrive at Incheon International Airport in droves, hundreds of teachers hired under EPIK, the English Program in Korea, run by the Korean Ministry of Education.   The English teachers hired by EPIK come from eight English-speaking countries: Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and South Africa.

After a large number of teachers congregate in the airport, we are herded onto buses which take us on a tw0-hour journey to either Jeonju University or Eulgi University, depending on our placement.  The teachers to be placed in Busan, Gwangju, Ulsan, Jeonbuk, Gyeongbuk, or Gyeongnam go on buses to Jeonju Univerity and the teachers placed in Daegu, Daejeon, Incheon, Gangwon, Gyeonggi, Chungbuk, or Jeju go to Eulgi University.  I’m on the bus to Jeonju University because my placement will be in Gyeongbuk province.

When we arrive at Jeonju University late at night, we are given a little welcome packet including an EPIK bath towel, an EPIK alarm clock, forest green EPIK sweatshirts and an EPIK orientation handbook.  Then we are escorted to our dorm rooms, which we share with another EPIK teacher.  I happen to be paired with Karen from Ireland, who is here to teach with her boyfriend.

Our dorm room at Jeonju University

Our dorm room at Jeonju University

my little desk in the dorm room

my little desk in the dorm room

Thursday, February 18:  This morning we attend a performance of traditional Korean dance.

After a number of orientation activities, we have a large group dinner in a cold tent in the midst of the frigid Korean winter.  The whole evening in this tent is horribly uncomfortable as we shiver and eat a huge buffet of Korean and other foods.

Orientation, not pleasant in the unheated tent

Orientation, not pleasant in the unheated tent

Brrr....

Brrr….

my dinner from the buffet

my dinner from the buffet

a strange asian fruit

a strange asian fruit

Friday, February 19:  Today, we have a number of different orientation activities where we learn about the Korean public school system; they also try to teach us some basic Korean.  We have all our activities on the campus of Jeonju University and it seems all the classrooms are freezing.  I feel cold during the entire orientation.  It sure is a good thing we got those EPIK sweatshirts.

EPIK Orientation!!

EPIK Orientation!!

Jeonju University campus

Jeonju University campus

Jeonju University

Jeonju University

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