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Desiree's Korean Adventures

Teaching and Living in South Korea

Elderly Koreans Will Surprise You

As a tall (5’10”/178cm), black woman, I stick out in Korea. The only time I can possibly blend in is during the winter time, when I’m covered from head to toe. I’ve gotten used to the looks of astonishment that I will get from people here and it normally doesn’t bother me too much. As long as the person staring at me is a child or elderly person, then I’m okay. People my age – maybe 50 do not get the same pass. At those ages, the internet and TV are great resources to use.

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Oh, Hello!

It’s been a year and some change since I last posted… yikes! Honestly, I just didn’t feel like writing. Although, I feel I should because my English skills have suffered, not because I’m amazing at Korean now, but because I mostly use low level English to talk to my students. I say things in a way that they understand to avoid blank stares from the students, I drop articles, I use konglish sometimes (eg. mechanical pencil -> sharp), and I exaggerate words.  Since I do all of those things on a very regular basis, it’s hard to remember the right way to say things and that’s bad – one, I’m their NATIVE English teacher and two, I’m American.

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Sungkyunkwan Three Week Korean Program

Since I had 3 weeks of vacation time this summer, I decided to enroll in a 3-week Korean program. There were several universities to choose from, but in the end I went with Sungkyunkwan University because it was close to my apartment and it was the cheapest option. When researching their Korean program, I didn’t find too many people talking about it online, but I couldn’t beat the price. I enrolled as a level 1 student even though I knew some basic Korean because there were gaps in my learning from having studied alone and attending a survival Korean course a handful of times. 

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A Visit to Nami Island

After our visit to the bungee jumping site, we headed off to Nami Island – not without a little adventure before we got there.

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Bungee Jumping in Cheongpyeong

A few Saturdays ago, a friend and I went on an excursion outside of Seoul. My friend felt the need to cross bungee jumping off of her bucket list and I said that I would accompany her. Not to bungee jump, mind you, just to document her craziness with pictures and video.

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Mountain Climbing and Ziplining:

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MERS: I’m doing just fine

I’m sure many of you are aware of the current MERS situation here in Korea, so first off let me tell you that I am healthy and somewhat out of the zone that it has affected. As of yesterday, 20 people have died from MERS, most of whom had pre-existing conditions, and about 142 infected. I won’t say anything bad about the how this situation has been handled, but I can’t stop you from reading articles online.

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Seasons of Korea

Summer (June to August)

I got here mid August, so summer was supposed to be winding down, but it felt like the height of summer. I remember buying a bottle of cold water at the convenience store and a 5 minute walk later, it wasn’t cold at all. Those days were full of sweat. If it wasn’t overbearingly hot, it was raining. So really, my clothes were always a little bit wet. I’m not looking forward to summer.

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An Update on Life in Korea

It’s been quite some time since my last post, sorry readers! In my last post, I talked about getting my last wisdom tooth pulled. The good news is that I didn’t end up losing feeling in my chin, so I’m pretty happy about that! As it has been quite a while since my last post, I’m trying to decide what I should start talking about first. I think the three big topics are: winter camp, my trip to Fukuoka, Japan, and an update on daily life in Korea.

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