Busan is AMAZING!
Ever since arriving here by KTX, the South Korean bullet train, (which by the way goes insanely fast, so fast that my ears popped like being on an airplane), I have been immersed in the vibrant, friendly and helpful Korean culture.
My arrival could not have gone smoother, I called my branch manager once we had arrived to Busan and she was already waiting for us with a car! She was so excited while greeting us, it felt as though we already knew each other. From there we drove through Busan. The bright lights of the city were illuminating everything. It was truly a spectacular sight. When we arrived to our campus in the district of Gaegeum, we took a tour and met our coworkers. The building was clean and modern, and our coworkers were very welcoming.
After meeting everyone we walked to our apartments, yes it was close enough to walk, even with all of our stuff. The apartment was something I had never imagined. The security technology which included codes, and door cameras, made me feel very safe. As for the apartment itself, it was small and cozy, but very modernly designed. To my surprise I even had a TV and free internet! I began unpacking my life, as a strange ring comes from one of the machines mounted on the wall. It was the exterior camera, and there are people outside my door, wow! Being from a family who doesn’t even lock the front door, this was new. The strangers turned out to be other expat teachers who taught at the Busan campus, and they were here to take me out. Thus began my first night out in Busan.
My first weekend of teaching in Korea and living in Busan was simply sensational. I met so many teachers from all over Korea who came to Busan for the night life. I had my first Korean BBQ experience at the amazing Bullsozap and followed that with a visit to a puppy café, as my pet withdrawal was gaining strength. I then settled into my apartment with all my pre-purchased items from The Arrival Store, which made the transition simple and easy. I slept well Sunday night before officially becoming Julia the teacher Monday morning.
First Korean BBQ experience!
Cutest little guy at the puppy cafe!
The first day of teaching was hectic and confusing, I am teaching the Chungdahm April program which means I teach the elementary students. I have 10 different classes throughout the week and 82 different students. My co-teacher, who is native to Korea and whom I split the lessons with, was so helpful and very patient as I asked countless questions, including how to do online attendance for the fourth time. By the end of the week I had April Gate down, which is the program April teachers use for participation and digital versions of the lesson. Prepping for classes is manageable as Chungdahm does a great job of setting teachers up with all the details of the curriculum.
View of Busan from my branch!
Throughout the week I explored all that Gaegeum had to offer, especially the Gaegeum market which is conveniently right outside my door and has a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, clothing, and pretty much anything else you can think of. This is where I got the ingredients to prepare my first home cooked Korean meal, dumplings.
Friday evening arrived and the April program took me out for a welcome dinner. We had a delicious traditional Korean meal which included a copious amount of dishes. My favorites were the stir fried rice noodles, and lettuce wraps. After dinner we walked around Seomyeon, a district known for its shops, restaurants, bars, and noraebang (Korean karaoke).
Welcome dinner with April co-workers!
One interested tidbit about Seomyeon is that many foreigners call it the heart of Busan, quite possibly because there is a huge heart statue in the middle of the district, but also because of its lively, colorful, spirited atmosphere!
Heart of Seomyeon!
My first week was incredible and it couldn't have been made possible without the support from my co-workers and patience from my students. They truly have created a very encouraging atmosphere to work and learn in.