Friday, February 20, 2009

EPIK orientation - day one

Technically, though we arrived yesterday, today was the first day of orientation. We're staying in the dorms at Dankook University. They're really nice - everything seems brand new, from our plastic-wrapped office chairs to our shimmering gold-embroidered bedspreads to our paper slippers. Every room is accessible by a touch pad dead bolt, the code for which we had to program when we arrived. Everyone has a speaker in the corner of their room, which EPIK admin uses to wake us in the morning and deliver important messages to us ("the X-ray bus is down, it will reopen at 2pm"). It's very Big Brother.

11am this morning Lisa and I (and the rest of Group 3) went for our Medical Check. Height & weight. Vision test. Blood pressure. Urine collection. Blood test. Hearing check. It was all very efficient, though the sanitation left something to be desired. Urine samples were taken in simple paper cups, sans lids, and delivered back to a lab technician who PH tested them, poured some into a test tube, and put the remaining urine on the floor under his desk. Later another tech came by and started combining the contents of different cups. They seemed to be unsure of how to dispose of all the extra.

The X-ray bus, which was apparently used to test for TB (isn't there just a pinprick test for this??), was broken, so we all had to come back at 2pm with "all cotton clothing".

We have had several (joking) conversations already about how this "orientation" feels like a giant extermination plan. There are 500 teachers here, all filed through giant lines like cows at a slaughterhouse, living in otherwise empty dorms with rooms which lock electronically. Our buildings are locked from 1am to 5am. And did I mention that our towels and coffee cups smell like gasoline?

Not to worry, though. It is all very sanitary, I'm sure.

We've also been taking side bets as to when the first eggs are going to crack. A LOT of these new teacher trainees are venturing away from home for the first time in their lives, and Korea seems like a much more difficult country to assimilate in than Kenya was, especially without the support system that Peace Corps provided.

Here's our schedule for the week:

Friday, Feb 20
Medical Check-up
Welcoming Dinner

Saturday, Feb 21
Explore Korea
Secondary/Primary school introductions
Listening (?)
Class Meeting
English Camp introduction
Task Based Learning
Korean Movies (I'm pretty excited about this one)

Sunday, Feb 22
Korean Cultural Experience (Korean Folk Village in Yong-in)

Monday, Feb 23
Same as Saturday's program, in a different order.

Tuesday, Feb 24
Surviving in Korea
Songs & Chants (oh, boy)

Wednesday, Feb 25
Same as Tuesday's program, with
Model Lessons & Making Lesson Plans
Preparation of Lesson Presentation
Korean Movies (!)

Thursday, Feb 26
Lesson Presentations
Meeting with Provincial Office of Education Supervisors
Korean Traditional Music & Dance Performances
Farewell Dinner

Friday, Feb 27
Load luggage
Questionnaire & Closing Ceremony


  1. Becky9:38 PM

    I sent this to Do thinking perhaps he would enjoy reading about an American writing about their experience in his country.

  2. Good to know I'm not the only one that keeps urine under my desk... Oh and Jonny, please take videos of the song & chant. Don't make me beg. Good luck out there and keep your beard growing.


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