Monday, February 23, 2009

EPIK Orientation Day 2

So far they've been sensitive to the jetlag suffered by 400+ people and have given us ample free time - too much, apparently, for some people. Two teachers have already gotten in trouble for sneaking into an empty dorm room and pushing the beds together, scratching the brand new wood floors. The dorms are segregated by gender here, as they supposedly are in any Korean university, specifically to prevent, um, "distractions." (I am only wondering WHY they needed to push beds together? A post-coitus covert cuddle?) Koreans also have great care for their floors, since the heating system runs immediately underneath it, but particularly for sanitary reasons. They always take off their shoes before entering a living space.

Two other teachers came back from town, drunk off of soju, at 3am. Since the dorms close from 1am - 5am (a fact that EPIK heavily publicized when we first arrived), they stood outside banging on the doors and yelling until a security guard finally let them in. Apparently a huge breach of cultural etiquette.

We spent today in class. An elementary school teacher came to talk to us about the Korean government's curriculum for teaching kids, and walked us through the government's website for teaching english, as well as a provincial website with videos of model classes.

The second session was entitled Listening, and I expected to catch up on my Hangul lessons during the class, but it turned out to be really entertaining and enlightening. It was led by Walter Foreman, a Canadian-turned-Korean who had dyed brown hair and a good inch of grey roots. I was clearly skeptical. But he opened his PowerPoint presentation with an ACDC song, and apologized that it wasn't louder. "It's already on 11." (Spinal Tap, anyone?) He was a really engaging speaker, and gave us some good exercises to help our students improve their listening, comprehension and analyzing abilities. He also mentioned that he posts EVERYTHING to his website, including activities and powerpoints, which may turn out to be a good resource.

In the afternoon we had our class meeting (we're divided into classes based on the province we are heading to), where we filled out our applications for a bank account and a cell phone. Apparently past EPIK classes had to take care of everything on their own once they got to their schools (getting their Alien Registration Card, a medical exam, bank account, cell phone, etc), but this year they decided to make it easy on us and just take care of everything here. It's nice. We should have our cell phones by Thursday.

At night they showed a Korean movie in the cafeteria - The King and the Clown. It was really good, and funny, though it got pretty morbid near the end.

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