Jeonju Orientation and Daegu Beginnings!

Jeonju Orientation and Daegu Beginnings!

Alright, it’s been a while since I’ve shared anything, so I have a big update to unload here. Don’t worry, I’ll break it up with pictures and videos like this one:

Jenni and I had a 9 day orientation at Jeonju University with about half of all the EPIK teachers that were a part of the 2014 Fall intake. The short explanation is you basically go through a bunch of lectures that aim to prep you for living and teaching in Korea. However, before all of that happens, you have to check in with EPIK at Incheon International Airport in Seoul.


Incheon sports an ice rink, a golf course, a spa, and a casino amongst other ridiculous amenities. Basically, I’m kind of hoping I get stranded there for a night at some point.

The good part about going back to Incheon to catch up with EPIK and get on a bus to Jeonju was we got to start meeting a lot of the other teachers heading to orientation. Jenni and I made fast friends with a lot of people. What’s really great is the majority of people at our orientation were heading for Daegu. So, between them and the teachers already living in the city, we have a pretty huge community to reach out to while we’re here.

photo (5)

It didn’t take long for us to start a karaoke dance party

Overall, I’d say the orientation was pretty fantastic. The EPIK staff who ran everything were just about the friendliest, most accommodating people I’ve ever met and I only heard stories about them doing whatever it took to solve any issues people were having with university facilities.

There was a lot of great stuff at orientation but the opening ceremony Tae Kwon Do demonstration and the Tae Kwon Do class we got to take were two highlights that stood out for me. I’ll try to put up the Tae Kwon Do demonstration video once I’ve managed to edit it down a bit. In the meantime, here’s us looking super cool doing Tae Kwon Do punches:


Jenni Shine just throws the friendliest Tae Kwon Do punches.

At the end of orientation we had to work in groups of three to present a 15 minute demo of an English lesson. The assignment was to plan a full class (lesson plan, materials, etc.) but then do a demo of that class with other EPIK teachers standing in as students. My group’s lesson was voted the best in our class (there were four different classes of teachers ). No big deal. Not getting to my head at all.


No big deal.

We also visited Jeonju Hanok Village for a day with our orientation group. We took a class on traditional dance, which led to me dancing inside of a giant lion costume with my buddy James. We moved, we shook, and my GoPro got it all in its completely-impossible-to-tell-what’s-going-on glory.

Here’s a picture one of the EPIK coordinators, Yumi, took by putting a camera through the mouth of the costume:



We also found some time to get out and try some refreshments in Jeonju when we were finished with lectures for the day:

photo (6)

The beers are tiny, right?

After we wrapped up orientation it was back on the bus for our trek to Daegu. I managed to take some pictures and videos from the bus including the one below, but they really don’t do Korea justice. This country is incredibly beautiful:

photo (7)

When you get to Daegu the first thing that happens is you and all the other teachers get dropped off at a school somewhere in the city together. It’s a place called the Global Education Center (I can’t remember for sure). You’re all walked up to a gymnasium where you stand around becoming slowly convinced you accidentally signed up for a Hunger Games-style competition. Then you get brought into an auditorium full of Korean teachers in small groups. From there the progression is someone at a podium speaking in Korean for a little bit until you pick out a Western name in the middle of that Korean, 1-3 Korean teachers get up, wave at the corresponding person, and then that person is whisked away as you wonder if you’ll ever see them again. Jenni and I were in the same small group for this process. She was called first and then disappeared with her new caretakers. I ended up being the second to last person called. By that time I was convinced I had walked downstairs too early by accident and was going to be that idiot-American who just stood in front of a room full of teachers with the most confused of expressions plastered across his face.

Luckily my name was called and I finally got to meet my co-teacher. Her name is Min Hee and she’s pretty fantastic. I spent the rest of the day with her which involved getting gimbap and impressing her that I could not only use chopsticks but that the spicy gimbap I ordered didn’t kill me, successfully navigating the process of applying for my Alien Registration Card, checking out my school and apartment, and then finally getting dropped off at a coffee shop so I could use their wi-fi and try to find Jenni. Basically, if Min Hee hadn’t been there in the first place, I probably would have ended up in North Korea.

photo 1

Found her!

Here’s some pretty sweet stuff:

The apartment EPIK gave me is about a 2 minute walk from the apartment they gave Jenni. We’re both within walking distance of our schools. Jenni walks maybe 1-2 minutes (for real) while my walk is closer to 30 minutes. Jenni’s apartment is big enough for the two of us to stay there together which means we currently have a crash pad/storage apartment. Friends of ours from orientation are close to us, which is also a huge plus. The cherry on top of all of that… we have a rooftop.

photo 2

We live in an awesome neighborhood on the western outskirts of Daegu. There are tons of restaurants and stuff for us to check out and we’re about a 5 minute walk from the train if we want to hop downtown. I’ll do a separate neighborhood and downtown Daegu post soon. What I really love is a huge market pops up in the square by the metro station over the weekend with all kinds of stuff you can pick up to make dinner. They also have some of the most attractive street food I’ve seen anywhere. I’m going to do an entire post devoted to street food as soon as possible. It’s crazy good.

I don’t think we could be happier with how things have been shaking out so far. We have great placements, we’re meeting really cool people, and we live in a city that has a ton to offer. More pictures and videos to come now that we’re starting to settle into some semblance of a routine. Leave comments requesting pictures and GoPro videos you’d like to see and I’ll do what I can to make that happen. Or, just leave comments. Whatever you want! Also, don’t forget to follow the blog by either clicking on the “Follow” button in the upper-right of the blog page or by subscribing for email updates which you can do by checking out the “Follow Blog via Email” (second from the top on the right-hand side of the page).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *