Blogs from Cheongju, South Korea, Asia


Asia » South Korea » Cheongju July 14th 2013

One of my favourite, and often quoted sayings is that by the much herald non-violent civil activist Mahatma Gandhi "Be the change you want to see in the world". My mum recognised how this had touched me and encouraged me to help others, 'do what you can, when you can, but get an education first. Don't just be helpful, be intelligent'. The impressionable 12 year old self that I was took this to heart. So I participated in MS read a thons (raise money for multiple sclerosis by reading books e.g. my mum donated 50 cents for every book I read, I participated in the 40 hour famine (subsist on barley sugar and water for 40 hours whilst attempting to function at school), I traversed the neighbour hood ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju July 12th 2013

My top Korea land websites: Answering questions, lesson plans, resources, helpful people, unhelpful whining trolling peeps, this forum has got it all. Actually it really does, and more. Easy to navigate, and infinitely helpful. This site has been instrumental to me when planning lessons, surviving desk warming, and when searching for information. I strongly recommend checking this out before moving here, or if you're already living here and have yet to discover it's wonders. These guys will explain the seemingly un-explainable in a witty intuitive non-judgmental culturally savvy entertaining fashion. They're a married couple from Canada (which automatically means I adore them) who've been here for 5+ years. They have a ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju July 10th 2013

So it's quite clear that I've been rather remiss in updating my blog as the last blog I published/wrote was in fact on Australian soil. Since then I've set my size 8 (no longer stilleto clad feet) in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Macao, Hong Kong, and South Korea. But never fear, I've reset my password, made an internal commitment to continue blogging and perhaps most importantly I actually have an extrinsic motivation to blog. This motivation is strongly linked to the next countries soil that these feet will be stepping onto - Cambodia. Thus all the necessary boxes are ticked, and I shall be adding my warbling to the already massive amounts of warbling that exist on the inter-webs. You want more information you say? Well, I'm glad you asked. So after a year in ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju December 27th 2012

So, as the new year approaches, I decided I'd make good of the second of my two weeks' annual vacation leave, and write my first blog entry. Plus, Barbara's been waiting so patiently. Well, today I took a trip up to Seoul for my visa interview with the Indian embassy. I'm not quite sure why I spent nearly two hours travelling (each way), only to spend about four minutes telling an uninterested man what he'd already read on my application form. Anyway, my application was approved, and I should receive my passport and visa in about a week's time. It's been a strange year. I've met some amazing people, but also been utterly baffled by some that are so bad at life, it's a wonder they can make it out of bed in the morning, let ... read more
Hyeupjae Beach, Jejudo.
Shark diving in Busan Aquarium
Oh yes, I got up-close and personal with these bad boys!

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju August 20th 2012

Whilst travelling in Vietnam last year I had the pleasure of meeting and travelling briefly with a couple of American girls who positively raved about their teaching experiences in South Korea. Both of these girls were working in South Korea as part of the 'English Program in Korea', more commonly referred to as 'EPIK'. EPIK. 1999. Teach English in Korea. Available at: . "Clean running water? Health and safety standards? Supportive teaching environment? Pension contributions? Signs in English? Food regulations? As easy as being home? Safe? Convenient travel? No theft? Good pay? Road rules? South Korea huh, you don't say." To be fair before living in China my brain wouldn't have even thought to add any of these... read more

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun July 17th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, My final week teaching has been great. It’s been emotional, exhilarating, surprising, hilarious and great fun. I had prepared a final review game which the students initially booed because they were expecting a movie like in their other classes but I’d prepared some good prizes. By good, I mean a random assortment of things which have been given to us over the course of the year. You’ll be amazed at how excited the students get over a box of plastic food freezer bags. I’d also made them a CD with some English bands on them which they liked and the prizes seemed to be enough incentive to have an awesome lesson. It was a review lesson on everything that I’ve taught them over the last semester. For those of you teaching here, it ... read more
Laura's Teachers 2
Laura's Teachers
Girls High School 5

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun July 10th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, The penultimate week of curriculum teaching has been relatively uneventful. Mr Oh walked into the teacher’s office on Tuesday wearing a surgical mask. This isn’t that uncommon for Koreans but he wasn’t wearing it because he had a cold. Nor was he worried about the students sneezing violently with no hand in front of their mouth (I actually saw a student sneeze into his water bottle and pass it to his friend who was happy to drink out of it). Mr Oh had disturbed a bee hive and had been stung on the lip. Under his surgical mask was the evidence of this in the form of the biggest top lip I’ve ever seen. The students found it hilarious and kept asking him to put the mask back on because it visually offended ... read more
Train Spotting

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun July 3rd 2011

Dear Blog Readers, I’m not sure how many more blogs I will be able to write as I fear that this time next week; I may have been reduced to a congealed, melted liquid of blood and organs due to the heat and humidity. It has already begun; in fact, it has come quicker than I was expecting. This is odd because I’ve been expecting it apprehensively since about October 13th 2010 which is when autumn finally arrived. The awkward question, “Do you sweat a lot?” which has been asked on many occasions can now finally be answered with, “Yes. Evidently.” I wake up. No wait, I should use that term loosely. On the fourth and final occasion of waking up after turning the air conditioner on during the night because I’m dying I have a ... read more
Communist Pose

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun June 26th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, I was dealt a harsh viewing figures blow to my blogs as a result of last week’s photo-less blog with no less than half the usual number of views. Clearly the photos have roped in the illiterate crowd so Laura and I have decided to pack this week’s blog full of photos of our apartment. I've also added some random photos into last week's blog to learn from the error of my ways. Marking the exams has brought along a rollercoaster of emotions from crying at the number of completely blank exam papers to jubilation when somebody answers with, “I am an introvert so I enjoy reading books and playing computer games.” I’ve also noticed a worrying trend in the results. There are a large number of students who score very low marks ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Cheongju » Boeun June 19th 2011

Dear Blog Readers, Exam fever has hit the schools of Boeun. The stress of the inevitable pressure is etched on the faces of my students in the form of acne. My third grade boys and my high school girls have got practice exams throughout the week and I’ve been conducting the English speaking test with my first and second graders. Initially I was worried that my speaking test would fall into the trap of having the students regurgitate nonsense from an already predominantly nonsensical textbook. The speaking test that my co-teacher and I wrote had some pretty common expressions from the textbook as well as some material from the lessons I’d been teaching. We had some absolute gems from the students though: Me: Do you like English? Student: No. Me: How many meals do you eat ... read more
Pool Queen
Pool in the basement

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