Before I came to Korea, I had little knowledge as to what teaching English in this country was all about (or what teaching English anywhere in the world was about, for that matter). I have heard a lot of horror stories about people who have come to Korea and taught English in a Hagwon (private language academy, like mine) only to be fired right before their contract expired, lost their job in the middle of their contract, etc. Those stories may all be true but I have yet to meet anyone who has had a truly terrible experience teaching in a Hagwon, and in fact, my experience teaching in a Hagwon has been tremendous.
One of the coolest parts about my job is that I have the opportunity to teach adults around my age. It's as if I have the "making Korean friends game" rigged (cool Korean people come through my classroom door and I befriend them - it's awesome). Most of the people who I have become friends with I met in class and the other Korean friends I have, I met through my students. So long story short, if you get a good gig in a quality Hagwon that teaches adults, there's no better way to experience Korean culture. My students have taught me more about Korea than I ever could have learned teaching 3rd graders in a public school.
As an example of one of the cool relationships that I've established, I thought I'd post an email that I recently received from one of my students and friends, 득희 (pronounced Deouk Hee). 득희 works for British Petroleum and splits his time between Korea and Scandinavia, where he works as a technician on a huge oil rig in the middle of the ocean. Before he left to Scandinavia on his recent trip, I asked him to send me some pictures so I could share them on my blog; he did as requested (see below). 득희 gets back this week and will be in class tomorrow, I am looking forward to catching up with him.
득희's recent email to me:
How are you ?
I'm a little up to my ears in work.
As you can see the picture, it's a pretty big structure, isn't it ? ^*^ that is floating somewhere in north sea.
But i'm staying in scandinavia hotel in oslo doing some software work at the moment and i commute for half an hour to work.
It's been two years since i first came here. pretty long project....
I have many pictures but it's pretty hard to upload right now. i'll show you later.. yeah, of course if you would like to see those...
I'll see you later.