5 Days Left until Korea!

…and I suppose it’s about time I start my blog. I can hardly believe I’m leaving so soon, but so far I’ve swung back and forth between barely-contained excitement and fixating on preparations. I’ll finally start packing today, but there are still a few things I need to pick up, including gifts for my host family, future school principal, vice principal and co-teacher. At first I thought this was a great suggestion from another ETA, but turns out, it’s more like a common courtesy. There’s a lot to learn. And the 70+ page Fulbright ETA handbook is useful…in moderation.

I’ve slowly been trying to practice Korean, read bits of the handbook and ETA forum, and see friends before I leave.

Picture books and Catching Fire in Korean! Catching Fire is a little ambitious, but it makes for good reading practice.

Picture books and Catching Fire in Korean! Catching Fire is a little ambitious, but it makes for good reading practice.

Since this is my first post, here are some basics about the Korea Fulbright ETA:

ETA stands for English Teaching Assistantship, which past ETAs have said is misleading, because many of them develop their own lesson plans and lead their own classes. The position will be for one year (July 6, 2014-July 13, 2015), with a break in January.

I don’t know who my host family is or where I’ll be placed. But I’ll be going to Goesan, a rural town in North Chungcheong Province, for orientation, which will run until August 19th. It’s pretty much right in the center of South Korea. During that time, we’ll be staying at dorms in Jungwon University and taking intensive Korean language classes, learning to teach, participating in Camp Fulbright (an English summer camp for students), and I suppose learning whatever we need to know. It sounds like a busy time.

Partway through orientation, I’ll be informed of my school placement (no Seoul though). Busan or Suncheon would be great because I have family there, or Jeju Island, which would be the Korean equivalent of Hawaii, but really, I’d be excited wherever I am. That, and I’ll have very little say in where I’ll be placed, so there’s no point in worrying about it.

That’s the basic gist of it! I’m looking forward to blogging, as I’ve been testing the blogging waters for almost a year now, mostly to keep myself writing while I was taking only art classes at DU. Hopefully this will become part of my regular routine, along with things like getting exercise and studying Korean. But with an audience this feels like a New Year’s resolution with too many people to keep me accountable.

I’ve got one more post planned before I leave, so see you all again soon!

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2 thoughts on “5 Days Left until Korea!

  1. Hey Monica! Thanks for the blog post and invite to see into your wonderful experience! I leave tomorrow for Spain – art supply wise, I’m taking watercolor pencils (they act like colored pencils unless you add water – then they blend)
    but knowing the way you work, you could sneak about 10 scratchboards into your luggage? Enjoy! best to you

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