Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Steel City, and I'm not talking about Pittsburgh

Despite the name of my blog's website, I will not teaching in Seoul but in a city called Ulsan. Ulsan is mostly kept afloat by Hyundai as it is a port city, and so it has the nickname as being "The Steel City", or so I've seen online.

So why would I choose a city that seems like a Korean version of Cleveland? Not for nostalgic reasons that's for sure. Literally, the conversation between myself and the recruiting company went as follows:

Recruiting company: Chris do you have any preference on the location of your stay?

Me: I don't want to be in a really large city (thus ruling out Seoul and Busan, the 2 biggest cities. Ulsan is still a big city, like the 8th or 9th biggest city in Korea). And the other important thing is that it has a soccer team.

And so they placed me in Ulsan, which is home of the Ulsan Tigers, sponsored by none other than the Hyundai corporation.

Check out map of South Korea and the location Ulsan:

Link specific about Ulsan:

Another side note about Ulsan: The U.S. Men's National team lost to Germany in Ulsan's stadium during the knockout stage of the 2002 World Cup held in South Korea and Japan.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

You're going to South Korea .... on purpose?

If you're reading this post odds are you already know that I will be heading to South Korea (Ulsan, South Korea to be precise) for a years length. So my departure date is scheduled for the 13th of November and I will start my teaching at the GnB English Institute shortly after.

So a lot of you have been asking why South Korea or if I know that they don't speak Spanish in South Korea. In response I would say yes, I know they speak Korean and no, I don't speak any Korean, apart from the word chuk-gu which means soccer. I chose South Korea for a myriad of reasons which I will explain briefly. I felt like changing things up a bit and having already been to Latin America a couple of times and while I'm sure I'd like another trip to South America, I kinda already know what I would be getting into. Furthermore, most Latin American countries require some certifications to teach in those countries and they try to keep the paying positions for their countrymen while South Korea has such a great demand for English teachers that they'll practically let a 3rd grader from the U.S. go teach them English, well not exactly but you get the point. Plus, they have individual karaoke rooms at bars, some kind of vodka drink called soju and their national dish is stinky, fermented cabbage called kimchi, what's not to love?

With my upcoming departure, I've decided to start up a blog to share my experiences as opposed to just sending out massive e-mails every week. I intend to post something on a weekly basis and possibly post some smaller posts as they come to me. So lets get this straight, I post weekly and you the reader will never respond or comment, I will in turn get frustrated and wonder why I even write it but will eventually write because I enjoy doing it (can you tell I've done this before?). And while my departure is still a couple of weeks away, I will try and blog a little before I go just to share my pre Korea experience.

So how are things going with my preparation so far? Well lets see my apartment is a complete disaster zone and nowhere near ready to be vacated in the upcoming weeks, I have lots of ends to tie up at my current place of employment and my current knowledge of Korean consists of one word. Simply awesome. Needless to say I have my work cut out for me and will be at it like crazy for the next couple of weeks..... Until next time....