Reach the World – Journal – Farewell

Originally published by Reach the World, December 18, 2015

Before coming to Korea, I knew relatively little about the country where I would be living for a year. I had heard some k-pop songs, I had read some history, and I had known that students went to school for as long as 14 hours a day. In the five months since I’ve been here, I have had the honor of learning so much more about this beautiful country and its kind people. And I know I still have so much more to learn during my second semester.

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Connecting Countries: Videoconference with Quebec

“Ann-young-ha-se-yo!” the classes chanted through my computer screen.

I sat in my room at 10:30 PM, my computer plugged in with the ethernet cable to ensure the Skype session would run smoothly. I looked through my computer screen at the rows of cheerful fourth-grade faces, thousands of miles away in Quebec. On the far wall, a clock read 8:30 AM. For three months, the students and their teacher, Mr. Kaplin, had been reading my Reach the World articles and sending in questions about Korea. What do you do with your host sisters? What is your favorite Korean food? Do you miss your family?

Now was the final part of my volunteer experience–the videoconference.

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Reach the World – Field Note – Working Women in Korea

Originally published by Reach the World, December 11, 2015

*This is my attempt at adapting a complicated topic for an elementary audience. I address the complexity of gender issues in Korea in some of my other blog posts.

Although South Korea has one of the best economies and education systems in the world, it suffers from gender inequality. This means that men and women are not always treated the same way. Compared to men, it is harder for women to get jobs, and many women are still expected to get married and raise families. The quality of life for working women in Korea has improved a lot over the last few years, but there are still many ways for communities to make it better.

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Interview with a Student

Originally published by Reach the World, December 4, 2015

*Bo Seung is one of my most motivated students and one of the best English speakers in the school. He’s been involved with several Fulbright-related activities, including YDAC (debate conference) and the Fulbright English Program, during which I had my first teaching experiences during orientation. Here is a brief snapshot into his life.

Kang Bo Seung (English name, Bosely Kang) is one of the students I teach at Gimhae Jeil High School. He is in the second grade, or the equivalent of a junior in high school. Bo Seung loves learning about new places and cultures and hopes to travel to many places around the world.  I’ll write these responses from his perspective.

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Reach the World – Field Note – Environment

Originally published by Reach the World, November 27, 2015
South Korea is a mountainous peninsula in East Asia. A “peninsula” is an area of land that is surrounded by water on three sides. Florida is an example of a peninsula in America. About seventy percent of Korea’s land has mountains, which beautify the land but also present unique challenges to the people who live in Korea.

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Reach the World – Logbook – Seoul, the Sooneung, and School Events

Originally published by Reach the World, November 20, 2015

How far did I travel this week?: I traveled to two cities this week: Daegu and Seoul. Daegu is a large city about two hours north of Gimhae. Seoul, which is about five hours northwest of Gimhae, is the capital city of Korea. It is even larger than New York City!

How far have I traveled on this journey so far?: I have traveled to Gimhae, Busan, Daegu, Jinju, Seoul, Gyeongju, Sokcho, and Goesan. In January, I will travel to Thailand and Vietnam for my winter break.

How did I get around this week?: I took an intercity bus to get to Seoul, and then I took the high speed train home. The bus was stuck in traffic, so it took about six hours. The high speed train, which is called KTX, took less than three hours to travel across the country!

What was the most interesting place I visited this week?: I visited Namdaemun Market in Seoul, which is one of the largest traditional markets in Korea. There were many stalls selling street food, clothing, and souvenirs.

Other Travel News from this week: Earlier in the week, I went to a teachers’ conference in Daegu, which is a city about two hours north of Gimhae. During the conference, I volunteered with Korean schoolchildren to paint a mural of the world.

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Interview With a Teacher

 Originally published by Reach the World, November 13, 2015

*This is an interview with one of the non-English teachers who I teach once a week. She is one of my good friends at school.

Today, I interviewed one of the teachers at my high school about her family, her travels, and her life in Korea. She was so excited to introduce herself to American and Canadian students! We conducted most of the interview in English, but we also used some Korean and an on-line dictionary to help us out. The interview below has some minor edits for clarification.

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