Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Koreans Are Creepy Too

And I mean that as a compliment.

It's that time of year again! The season I love and the holiday that lets you show a bit of your "weird" side. Halloween! I love the colors, the nights getting longer and the mystery that comes with the holiday.

When I learned that Halloween is a very new concept in Korea, I was a bit sad to be honest. But, I can't expect a holiday like Halloween with its roots in Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Germanic tradition and superstition to be the same in an Asian culture. Christmas isn't even the same, which I'll get into for a later post.

But, yes, Halloween is fairly new to Korea. Trick-or-Treating, specifically, was introduced mainly through ESL teachers because that's the simplest and probably most interesting thing to explain to a class of hyper-active kids. Most of the time, however, the Korean students (like many other students of that age) hear CANDY and things go a little mad:

Ok, so this might have been staged, but you get the idea. From what I've gleaned from other English teacher's in Korea, they cover the details of Trick-or-Treating pretty well with their students. What else do they tell their students, though? I loved Trick-or-Treating when I was younger, but it seems like there is so much more to Halloween than that.

There's haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkins, ghost stories... It's All Hallow's Eve, people! You better be teaching them about the other traditions besides demanding candy from strangers. There's nothing more fascinating, to me, than the old traditions of this day and seeing how they evolved.

Just don't bore your students with complex details, though.

Korea has its own fair share of creepy stories, and they definitely know how to scare people. There are plenty of superstitions in their culture, pretty similar to many other Asian superstitions, and teacher's could spend some great class times swapping stories. It would be a great way to get your students to practice translation and speaking, though this is probably best for more advanced groups.

There are some pretty disturbing Korean horror movies, and then there are the ones that mix humor into them:

Master's Sun (Kdrama about a woman who can see ghosts. She meets a man one day who keeps the ghosts away when she touches him.)
Chilling Romance/Spellbound (A film about a magician who meets a woman who can see ghosts and is haunted by her dead best friend. The woman pushes everyone out of her life because the ghost of her friend terrorizes anyone close to her.)
 These can both be found on Hulu if you are in the US. Spellbound has more of that creepy factor than Master's Sun, but there's humor and romance thrown in there. Just be careful of the ghost scenes if you're not a big fan of shows like The Ring.

Anyways, I'll leave with a Happy Halloween and this creepy Korean song:

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week Two: TEFL Course

I'm probably not going to do this for every week of my TEFL course, since you guys have better things to do than read about every detail of my life, but here's an update on week two!

Is it strange that I'm actually enjoying my "homework" so far? I began writing my entry for peer participation last week, thinking that my entry would be a lot shorter than what resulted. I found that I had more to say than expected, and even had to tell myself to stop because it was getting too long.

As for this blog post, I'm going to just keep it nice and short. I have lots of things to do in the next few weeks, so my updates might be a little brief for a while.

So, until some giant milestone happens... take care!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Week One: TEFL Course

I have managed to survive the first week of my TEFL course!

Okay, so it wasn't that tough. First weeks are usually pretty easy, and this course is no exception. As I have mentioned before, I am taking my course through International TEFL Academy (ITA). It is a 170 hour online TEFL/TESOL course, which also requires 20 hours of practicum. I should be starting in on the practicum part of the course in the next 2 weeks (probably next week).

ITA sets up their online course in a similar way to other online courses I've taken. You must comment in the forum for participation points and then submit assignments called "tasks" every week. The tasks seem to consist of one quiz and a worksheet. They keep it all very organized and you can keep track of your grade as you go fairly well. Then, there is a midterm and final, of course.

While I keep myself busy with studying, doing homework and other work, my application to EPIK is currently in a pile at the EPIK headquarters -- I'm not sure if they actually call it that, but why wouldn't you take the opportunity? -- waiting to be fully reviewed.  Once that is done, they will schedule an interview with me and the nerves are going to shoot up again!

This interview is going to be a lot more formal than the last one, so I better put my best foot forward. I was told that I should makes sure to keep smiling and stay peppy. I can pull that off, but I just hope I can answer all of the questions clearly.

I've found a few blogs where EPIK applicants describe their interview experience, going as far to list some of the questions they were asked. So, I'm preparing myself with those resources in hand!

Wish me luck!

P.S. If you're interested in taking a course at ITA, click on the link above or here and tell them I sent ya. You can get a $50 discount if you do! If they ask, my admissions adviser was Lindsay Krasinski. Use the coupon code AlumniReferral50.