A Whirlwind of a Week in South Korea

A Whirlwind of a Week in South Korea

My orientation roomie, Gin, and I, exploring

I still can’t believe I am here in South Korea! When I walk outside, it seems like I’m in a strange dream where the signs are all jumbled and I am walking around aimlessly, depending on others to help me accomplish everyday tasks.

I arrived in Daegu on Wednesday, where my coteacher, Jessie, picked me up and drove me to the school I will be teaching at: Gyeongdeok All Girls High School!! In the beginning of this journey, my desire was to teach at the high school level, but when I heard that most of the funding was being cut from the high school and middle school programs, I prepared myself to teach elementary school. I was thus excited at orientation when the lesson plan my group was chosen to present was for 4th grade. In all honesty, I was really excited to sing songs! And my group did an AMAZING job with our presentation! So I was feeling prepared and ready to meet these little kiddos I would be teaching. So it was quite a shock when I found out I would be teaching at a HIGH SCHOOL!! I had to sit down and breathe.

Now that the thought that I will be teaching high school has sunk in a little more, I’m getting excited again. I’ve heard that the students are really sweet, so I am thankful for that. And my coteacher is also really sweet, so I am REALLY thankful for that.

After seeing the school and meeting the Vice Principal, Jessie took me to my apartment. It is a cute and cozy studio style apartment, the perfect size for just me. Then she took me shopping for stuff for my new place, went to apply for my foreign ID card, went out for dinner in downtown Daegu, and then went back to my apartment. The whole time, I know I looked like a deer in headlights, wide-eyed at all of the Korean being spoken, and trying to act like this is what everyday life is like. But as soon as I was in my apartment alone, I let the culture shock hit me.

A friend of mine, who is also just starting out here in Korea, told me tonight at dinner that there are two things you need to get through culture shock: 1)Security-You have to feel safe, and 2)Friends-You can NOT go through this alone. And I COMPLETELY agree!

I am so coincidentally lucky that the two girls I coordinated my flight to Korea with, live along the same train line as me, so that we can get to each other in under 30 minutes. I am soooooo thankful for that! Seeing a familiar face, even if just recently familiar (although I do feel like we have known each other for much longer than 2 weeks!) in a sea of new ones, is so calming and comforting. I know that this will be a great year, even though I might still be just a little bit scared!

Here are some pictures of some of the great people I met and places we went during orientation.

Let me just say, everything in Korea is CUTE!

Alice and I in the bamboo forest

Me overlooking Hanok Village

Me in traditional mask dance costumes

AND…they have peanut butter!!! However, it is 7,000 won, roughly $7 a jar!! But it’s good to know it’s here. :)

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