Archive for September, 2012

Typhoon 3

Friday, September 14th, 2012

There’s another monster typhoon coming.

Not. Happy.

However, I was tickled pink to have been given the opportunity to use the sentence “Korea gets three typhoons in one season once in a blue moon” to illustrate the idiom I was teaching my lunchtime conversation girls.

Let’s be real, we all know that if this were the Hunger Games, Jeollanamdo would be district 11

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Class 1.7 is probably my worst-behaved, craziest boys class, but one of my funniest. After class a student told me he was reading Catching Fire (the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy). We chatted for a bit about that and drew a crowd. The students had seen the first Hunger Games movie and, hearing that I thought the second book was really sad, wanted to know if Katniss died.

did Katniss die? DID SHE DIE?
Guys. It’s the second book. There are three books. What do you think? – …KATNISS DIE!
If Katniss died, then who would the third book be about?
Peeta? Oh yes. Katniss die.

Then as I walked out the door, one of my favorite students put three fingers (index, middle, ring) to his lips, and put them in the air – the District 12 symbol of respect.

Look! A Hot Dog

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

The second article rule I’ve been teaching this week is the “unknown/known” rule. Basically, if it is the first time you are introducing a previously unknown noun, you should use the indefinite article (a/an) and if the noun is already known or has previously been introduced you should use the definite article (the). Obviously this is not true in all cases, but it’s a good basic rule for students to keep in mind. As this is a really overwhelming looking definition, I’ve been breaking it down into a dialogue and having students fill in the blanks.

Look! __ dog.
__ dog is so cute.
__ dog has __ cat friend.
__ cat is sitting on __ tree.

When I wrote “Look! __ dog” on the board, class 2.9 automatically shouted out “HOT DOG.”

“No guys. Which article should I use?”
“… Okay, fine. Here’s the new dialogue:

Look! __ hot dog.
__ hot dog looks so delicious.
__ hot dog is next to __ bottle of ketchup.
__ bottle of ketchup is red.

Is this better?”

Planning Fall Break Destinations

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
  • Amsterdam (3 days)
  • Berlin (1.5 days)
  • Munich (1.5 days, we might just stay in Berlin for the duration of our Germany stay for cost reasons)
  • Prague (2 days)
Flights/trains/hostel bookings will begin tomorrow! 
I’ve also already booked a weekend trip to Dublin, and am planning another weekend in Scotland.
I also read the Secret Garden in less than 24 hours and took a bubble bath in Bath!

A Cup of Coffee Please

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

One thing I need to get better at doing is unit planning, and planning out my semester so that it makes sense. If you look at my topics they’re all individually good (I hope) but the order in which I teach them makes no sense, and there’s no real connection from week to week.

Last week I taught PBFV pronunciation. I like to do pronunciation lessons in-between other writing or grammar intensive lessons, or right after tests because there are so many fun and interactive things you can do with pronunciation. After making the students write postcards for fifteen minutes, I figured that doing a pronunciation lesson would be a nice, if abrupt, change. I showed them mouth-shape diagrams, we practiced tongue twisters that I had to make up (there’s a sad dearth of FV tongue twisters):

A cup of coffee please (p versus f)
Please don’t feed the bees peas (p, f, b)
The vehicle fee is very fairly voluntary (v versus f)

This week we’re teaching articles, which has no connection whatsoever to pronunciation. I wanted to save this lesson for later in the year, but it’s a two-week unit and this is the only point on my schedule where I teach every single class two weeks in a row with no interruption. As articles are really difficult (there are no articles in Korean, not in the same sense anyway), and as I was teaching articles as a set of four rules, two rules per class, it was important that these classes were taught back-to-back.

The one of the rules that I’ve been teaching this week are “countable versus uncountable” (“a stick of coffee,” countable, versus “coffee,” uncountable). I’ve been demonstrating the difference by showing a stick of coffee, then opening it up and pouring it into a mug (which, for some reason, always gets kids gasping about. TEACHER WHAT ARE YOU DOINGGG? – it’s baffling, really) and showing the coffee powder and asking students to count that. As I walked in, BAD, being the smart alec he is, yelled out “could I have a cup of coffee please?” I response I pulled out my stick of coffee and ask if he really wants one. The look on his face just about made my day.

So, I guess, there are some ties between my lessons after all?


Tuesday, September 11th, 2012
I'm sad to say this but it's been about a month and a half since I have come back from Spain. Everyday I think about it and miss it! Yesterday I woke up and said, "today is a day I would love to be in Bilbao." I had to remind myself I am in the States and someday I will return.

But, until then...I want to continue to update this blog with reflections from my trip. A great way to make a study abroad experience worthwhile is to notice cultural differences and understand that we are all uniquely different!

My International Business class I took in Spain opened my eyes up to some major differences between Spain and the US. To name a few, I noticed the difference in technology, eating habits, and general everyday customs.

In Bilbao, they conserved electricity so efficiently it was one of the things that stood out for most of us on the trip. Overhead lights in the metro trains stayed off until stopping at stations, and even then the doors wouldn't open unless you pressed a button. This in turn conserved a lot of energy and as a business major, I understand that small changes save lots of money. In the shopping mall, escalators weren't constantly moving, but rather started moving once you stepped close to them. Another energy saver.

Another large cultural difference I want to reflect upon is the eating habits. Spanish people customarily have two main courses, instead of our usual one. Both are large, so you must eat slow. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, and is both long and is a time to socialize. After lunch, there is a siesta time, which I will refer to later. Dinner is served at around 8:30 onward and is smaller than lunch. For me, this was very difficult to get accustomed to. My breakfast was around 8 or 9 and I was ready to eat lunch at 12 or so. Some of our days were packed with activity which made this waiting even harder. I surprisingly found it didn't harmed my digestion..

Lastly, their cultural habits were a bit different from ours. A typical greeting consisted of the kiss on both cheeks. Handshakes are not customary. Between the hours of 2 and 4:30 or so (I could never really figure out the actual times--just some time in the afternoon) they had a "siesta", which literally translates to nap. I was under the impression that everyone leaves work and closes down shop to take one large nap. However, I learned that siesta time is actually the time where stores close and people leave work to spend time with family. Family is a big deal for the Spaniards, and this is something I respect. Even though it may not be productive to take time out of work for leisure time, they care enough about their family to do this.

So far, these are my current reflections. But this semester I'm taking a Spanish Civilization course which thankfully reminds me every Tuesday and Thursday of my amazing experience in Spain. So be on the look out for more reflections!

The Arrival

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

I arrived at Mohammad V airport in Casablanca around 9:30 am after an eight hour flight from Montreal. Despite the fact that I only had a total of 2 hours of sleep, I was excited to finally reach Morocco. I first applied to study abroad in March, now it seemed like a sort of twilight, a dream that I had to continually pinch myself in order to make sure that I actually made it to Morocco. I got off the plane onto the landing strip and entered an airport shuttle that took the passengers to the main airport. The shuttle took a small stretch of road that led parallel to the main airport and dropped us off at the customs checkpoint. It took forever to get through customs, but honestly I didn’t care, in fact I was too dazed to care. After I claimed my luggage I went into the welcoming area relieved to see other Americans. The usual fluff was exchanged: “what’s your major”, “where are you from”, and “why did you chose Morocco” (essentially that’s how every conversation went). After everyone arrived and gathered at the ISA checkpoint we headed towards the bus to take us to the heart of Casablanca.

We arrived at our hotel, all exhausted. For the next 5 hours or so I was busy exploring Morocco’s economic capital; however a quick observation of the city would make you think otherwise, to me the infrastructure was lacking and the city, for all the hype it gets, isn’t that appealing (but don’t let my opinion change yours by all means). It was strange to see signs in French and Arabic; I really felt lost and confused at some points, but getting lost is one points of traveling isn’t it? After getting lost I, along with a couple other acquaintances, looked around in shops and even ordered some Moroccan tea at a small café. I noticed a couple of intriguing aspects right away while I was exploring Casablanca. One, there are numerous stray cats roaming the streets (I think my sister would love this), they are everywhere. Two, I did not realize how prevalent French is within Moroccan society; for example, whenever I spoke to a Moroccan on the street or in a shop, they would always speak to me in French which I find very interesting. Three, I already, in a way, knew this aspect of Morocco, but it’s the dominance of the religion of Islam. Unlike in the United States, religion is integrated into the very fabric of every Moroccan’s (well… at least 99% of Moroccans) everyday life with the 5 daily calls to prayer and minarets and mosques virtually on every corner. Fourth, life in Morocco (at least in Casablanca) is very slow and steady, no rush to go anywhere and sense of urgency from anyone. I think the Moroccans know how to live, no stress. Finally, the traffic is essentially organized chaos with pedestrians weaving in and out of oncoming cars. Our director said jokingly that every Moroccan gets hit by a vehicle at least once in their lives…I wouldn’t doubt. Next on the itinerary for my little adventure in Morocco is Marrakesh, Morocco’s hottest tourist attraction.

Five Productive Things I Did Today!

Monday, September 10th, 2012
  1. Finally bought new running shoes to replace my old ones from home that gave me blisters nonstop. I went to a professional running store and tried on at LEAST ten pairs of shoes before I found “the one.” While they are GORGEOUS and so me, I did follow my poppa’s rule: don’t buy running shoes based on looks. Plus I got a 10% student discount!
  2. Went grocery shopping for the week since I have to cook all my meals myself and I did a superb job of following my list. Basically it was coffee, vegetables, fruit, bread. And I was under my 40 pound a week allowance! I also went to the grocery store by myself for the first time since being here, and though I got a little turned around, I’m really starting to figure out the streets of Bath.
  3. Went to my first class of the week, Fantasies of Youth, and participated regularly in our discussion of Wind in the Willows, and already have begun brainstorming for the upcoming paper!
  4. Went for a two mile run to break in my shoes and beat the rain just in time! I’m feeling so good about my running over here. A friend of mine gave me some breathing tips that have really altered my running experience for the best! I think tomorrow I’m going to invest in a sports watch.
  5. Made a freaking delicious chicken salad of my own concoction!
    -1 Gala apple
    -1/2 a red onion
    -25ish purple grapes, halved
    -1/2 cup toasted almonds
    -4 small chicken breasts, diced and cooked in olive oil
    -1 cup greek yogurt
    I’m especially proud of the yogurt for mayo substitution, as it’s tangy, healthy, and DELICIOUS.


Monday, September 10th, 2012

Ran into fistbump kid and 형우 walking around campus, and had a short but interesting conversation.

FBK: “Teacher! Nice one piece.”
E: “Thanks! You know ‘one piece’ is Konglish. In English we say ‘dress.’”
FBK: “Ah, but this is Korea. So we say ‘one piece.’”
형우: “Yes. This is our culture.”
E: “Well since this is English cl—Well actually, this isn’t English class. This is outside of class. So, sure, because this is Korea right now I’ll say ‘one piece,’ but in class I’ll say ‘dress.’”
FBK: “Very good. Anyway, I like your dress.”
E: *rolls eyes and fist bumps*

Speaking of Fistbump Kid, he now has a fauxhawk. It’s hilarious. Also two other students saw us fistbumping (one of which being BAD) and they now want to fistbump too. Which, of course, makes fistbump kid jealous. What a strange and charmed life I lead.

Em in Asia! 2012-09-09 22:09:16

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

I’ve posted some fairly lengthy stuff recently, and I have no time, so though I’ve got a ton more postcards I want to share, for now I’ll just leave you with an awesome picture.



(Haven’t talked about it for awhile, but Korean Students Speak is still going strong. Check it out!)