For foreigners, South Korea is an enabler. It enables our late night partying, the late wake-ups the next day, and our frequent eating out at restaurants. Being such a Westernized country, it also enables our use of English. You can spend years in this country and never really have to use more than a few words of Korean, which is something that many foreigners fail to appreciate. I shake my head when I see foreigners yelling English at befuddled movie theater attendants or other service staff, somehow assuming that if they yell louder and faster, then these poor Koreans will magically acquire the ability to understand English. Personally, I believe that if you are going to spend a long period of time in another country, you should at least make an effort to learn the native language. Having been here just over a year, I have three tips for all you language connoisseurs out there on how to tackle the Korean language.
Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!
After a day of dancing our way around Incheon (See Part One for the full story!), we'd completed our final flash mob performance at Munhak Stadium and collected our tickets for the big concert: Incheon Korean Music Wave 2013. The line-up of 20 of K-pop's best awaited us inside the stadium: 2AM, A-JAX, B.A.P, BTOB, EXO, F.T. Island, miss A, ZE:A, Girl's Day, BTS, B2ST, Boyfriend, Girls' Generation, Super Junior, SECRET, SISTAR, MBLAQ, KARA, T-ara, and TEEN TOP. It was quite an evening...
Sometimes in life, and especially while living in Korea, you just have to go along for the ride. In my experience, agreeing to a crazy adventure or event typically seems to work out in my favor, giving me a crazy story at the very least. So, on September 1st, bleary-eyed and semi-apprehensive, my friend and I woke up early so we could catch a cab to the Chinatown area of Incheon. We knew very little of what the day would entail, but the promises of "flash mob" and "free tickets to a K-pop concert" were enough for us to jump right in, hoping the day would exceed our (admittedly low and/or vague) expectations. And boy did it...
When I first arrived to teach English in Busan, I thought all my free time would definitely be spent on the beach, rain or shine, night or day. However, Busan has a lot more to offer. There are a lot of hot spots to check out at night. One great place to experience city life is the bustling Seomyeon.
Tags: teaching in Korea, eating in Korea, what to do on the weekend, shopping in Korea, eating out in Korea, music, music in Korea, busan, Activities to do in Korea, Nightlife in Korea, Weekend activities in Korea
I have always entertained the recurring daydream of being in a band and rocking out to a crowd of screaming fans, but I've never actually picked up a guitar. This was because before I could learn how to play music I was preoccupied with questions like: How would I reach out to said fans? How would I build a fan base in the first place? Where would I find a stage? What if I wound up on the streets playing to a disapproving stray cat?
One of the biggest events around the world is Ultra Music Festival (UMF). It is so big that it is an event that pretty much everyone travels around the world just to see. Held in Jamsil stadium this year, there have been many who traveled to Korea from other countries just to experience and see the sets of world famous DJs which include, but are not limited to: AVICII, Kaskade, Afrojack, Fedde Le Grand, Cazzette, Boy George, Shut Da Mouth, and Carl Cox.
Hongdae, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seoul, Korea, is known for being loud and full of music. Every night you can count on the area's public spaces to be full of spontaneous and talented performers and one can not ignore the deafening beats blaring from the many clubs that line Hongdae's narrow streets. But one random night each month is reserved for a different kind of party.
I'm all about the music. I am up for any concert, just ask. With only a month and a bit before I leave (tear tear), lately I've been reminicing about all I've managed to experience while teaching and livng in Korea (Are you ready?). I am amazed at how much I have done in such a short amount of time, especially when I think about all the concerts I've attended. It seems like ages ago, but at this time last year I was preparing to witness Lady Gaga's first and very controvercial world tour stop in Seoul. A short while later I joined happy-go-lucky young Koreans lounging on Nami Island for the annual Rainbow Island Festival with Jason Mraz as the headliner.
Coming to Korea is not only about an opportunity to teach, to learn a new culture, to learn about yourself, but it is also the place to start a career. Going through Aclipse and Chungdahm, I met a lot of new people, a lot of folks that definitely taught me something new, especially this guy, Pinnacle. From the first day of being in Korea, he taught me something that I would never forget, how to teach Memory Giga. Pinnacle TheHustler (Jason Waller), was one of my two trainers when I first came to Korea to teach English.
Tags: Korean culture, things to think about before coming out to korea, living in Korea, Korean students, advice, music, music in Korea, tips, teaching at Chungdahm, teacher, what to do after, meeting people in Korea, performer
Any worries I had about 'losing touch' during my year abroad in Southeast Asia were quickly shattered one July night while I lay in a hostel bunk-bed in Taiwan. I opened my iPad to find an adorable yet slightly chubby Korean man decked out in hip glasses, a funky suit and an irresistible smirk busy bombarding every one of my bookmarked websites. That moment and many more in the following days and months reassured me that my move to Korea would not hinder my mission to stay relevantly informed about all things social.