This post will discuss our first week of truly living in South Korea! We’ve experienced a lot during the last few days! Again, I’m sorry for the time period between posts – we’re still waiting to get our wifi set up at our apartment. I’m at a coffee shop now making some updates 🙂
Last Tuesday, we had our final ceremony at orientation. This is where we introduced ourselves to our co-teachers. Nick and I were both very nervous for this day, but it went well! We had to say “Hello, my name is…. I’m from America…. I teach at ____ school. It’s nice to meet you!” in Korean. We both practiced so much and messed up a little when the actual moment came…but it was all in good fun. It was fun listening to everyone introduce themselves.
We both have great co-teachers. They have helped up with so many things in the last week and we’re very thankful. On Tuesday, we went to the immigration office to start the process to get our alien registration cards. We need this document for many things in South Korea. It’s basically as important as a United States Driver’s License. We have to wait to get this card before we get a cell phone plan and wifi. Our teachers also took us to the bank to set up bank accounts.
We also checked out both of our apartments. Since we’re a married couple, we choose one apartment (we would have stayed at one anyway) even though each teacher in the program is given one apartment through their school. My school provided apartment had a lot of mold issues that needed fixed. Mold is a common issue in South Korea due to the humidity. Our teachers said that it could take a couple of months to really address the mold issue, so we decided to live in Nick’s. While his is a bit further away from the larger town in our area and requires more commute on my part, it is the better choice because this apartment is much newer and is very clean — and no mold. We both feel that our health is very important. We currently don’t have a bed in this apartment, so we’ve been sleeping on the living room floor. Luckily, we will have a bed by the end of this week! It will feel like Christmas when it comes 🙂
As for our apartment, it’s bigger than we imagined and we even have a tub! This is very rare in Korea, as many bathrooms are a “shower room” setup where you have a shower faucet and you shower in the room as the water goes down a big floor drain. Our balcony/laundry room has a beautiful view of the water.
On Wednesday, we both went to our schools for the first time. We each have one main school. Nick spends his Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at his main school. I spend my Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays at mine. Nick has one travel school that he goes to and I have two. We spent last week at our main school getting familiar with our schools, programs, and getting to know our co-teachers. This week, we go to our travel schools (more on that next post!)
Our schools are very different. For my main school, I teach at an English Town — which teaches more everyday English conversations, such as what to say at a bank, what to do at an airport, and what happens at a hospital. I focus on two main lessons a semester and my co-teacher also does the same. We teach these lessons to different students each day. Basically, different students from various schools are bused to our English Town. I never see the same students more than once a semester.
Nick’s main school focuses on different lessons each day and he sees his students at least once a week. He prepares lessons each week for his main school. Mine on the other hand, I will prepare once and make changes to it as I see fit. I think it’s awesome that Nick will continue to see his students regularly because he will be able to build a relationship with them. We both see the same students continuously and develop daily lesson materials for our travel schools.
Our first weekend was spent exploring the town of Goheung (where I teach) and Nokdong (where we live and where Nick teaches). We did a lot of walking around and did some hiking. We also spent a few hours with some other foreigners that we met. We tried grilled eel and we played screen golf. I’ll be attaching some pictures below.
Here’s the beautiful view from our apartment balcony/laundry room:
I think we’re both in awe that this is where we really live. It’s more beautiful than we even could have imagined. We’re excited to explore more and get settled into our apartment. Look out for a post soon that discusses our travel school experiences! 🙂