EPIK (English Program in Korea) Orientation

It’s now week two (or three) of teaching at my elementary school and I’ve just now had a moment to blog about my orientation experience with EPIK. Wow! Here goes…What a crazy 10 days.  I flashed back to my college days as a freshman, moving into the dorm, having a curfew and eating cafeteria food–except that this cafeteria served kimchi and onion salad…hehe…The days were packed with lectures about living and teaching in Korea, Korean culture and language, most of which was preparation for the mini-lesson demo that we had to perform and get graded on at the end of the 10 days. Pressure!!

Luckily, it all went well. It had its moments, but what totally made up for it was the opportunity to meet the other  teachers, great people leaving their lives back home (in Canada, South Africa, Ireland, the U.S., etc.) to teach for a year or two in Korea.

My roommate was Cherish, from Toronto. We got along great and still hang out often since she’s only one subway stop away. I lucked out! We have a lot in common as far as our love of food, music, dance, and travel. Plus, she’s just  a cool chick.  I got paired up for my lesson plan project with a young Irishman, Joe, whom I barely understood because of his Irish accent and fast talking pace.  Cherish had to translate many times…lol…Our group of friends ended up adopting “Baby Joe”; he made us laugh a lot.

"Baby" Joe and Cherish

Luckily, they kept us well fed with snacks and coffee during our 10-15 minute breaks between lectures.  One of them that intrigued me was a butter biscuit sandwich.

Yup. That's the butter...It tasted like a ritz.

We had the greatest Korean teachers/dorm mothers/tour guides: Totos and Rachel.  There were 200 teachers at orientation and we were divided into 4 groups.  I know I’m biased but I thought our teachers were the nicest and the best.  Our group bought them a parting gift and they were both in tears–practically the whole class was too…

Last day - speech from Totos/Rachel

I was also happy and surprised to find another Chamorro in the group. My friend, Sharon, is 3/4 Korean and 1/4 Chamorro.  Like me, she is married and is the “sugar mama” for a while as her husband, Jason, starts up his online business here.


Sharon and Me


There are too many other things I could say about orientation. Instead, I’m just going over the highlights.  Suffice it to say, it was memorable and exciting with a few lulls in between.



Night out with the girls in Hongdae

Yes--the name of the bar was "HO BAR"

Jjimjilbang (Korean-style sauna/bathouse)

Michelle and me with our Princess Leia-style sauna towels on

Apparently, we were the only ones wearing the towels at the sauna...hehe


Korean Culture Day

Cherish in hanbok - Korean traditional style dress

Thjs guy REALLY wanted to be in our picture I guess...LOL

Cherish and Michelle TAKE 2 MINUS the butt shot

Cute Korean girl performer - so adorable!!

Performing the traditional bow

Last night out with the Seoul EPIKers – we survived orientation! Time to celebrate!!

*final thoughts*

So that was orientation in a nutshell!!   To my girls from orientation (I mean you Olivia, Christina, Cherish, Julie, Michelle, and Sharon), we definitely had a lot of those ‘you had to be there’ moments, didn’t we? I leave you with:

  • the tortoise nod
  • Kimchi squat
  • “I’ve never seen so much b*** in my life!”
  • “…and I’m not a confrontational person…”



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