Vlog Entry #22: Get Wet, Go Wild

Drift with me through the streets, hillsides and waters of northern Vietnam on the “Get Wet, Go Wild” tour, offered by Vietnam Backpacker Hostels! Catch a glimpse of Hanoi’s top attractions: Quan Thanh Temple, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and the West Lake. Then hop on board a junk boat to cruise past the cliffs of Ha Long Bay. Throw in a bit of swimming, kayaking, rock climbing and beach volleyball for good measure. Lastly, journey inland to the rural Mai Chau Valley, home to breath-taking, emerald rice paddies and towering, dramatic peaks.

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Korean Students Write the Darndest Things

Part of my job as a high school English teacher in South Korea involved giving out, and then correcting, weekly creative writing assignments. It quickly became one of my favorite parts of the experience, as it allowed my students to apply the language with more freedom and personality. It also helped me to get to know them in a more private way. From unintentionally funny remarks, to profound realizations, their writing was a joy to read.

Below is a small collection of some of my favorite excerpts. I’ve also taken the liberty of underscoring their messages with related images. Perhaps this could have been made into some sort of class project… Enjoy!

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7 Reasons Why Malaysia Is Awesome

If you haven’t been to Malaysia yet, you’re doing it wrong. “It” being anything from adventure activities, lounging at the beach, appreciating architecture and history, eating foreign cuisine, and/or experiencing cultural diversity. One of the most underrated travel destinations in Southeast Asia, this place has it all! Below are 6 reasons why Malaysia should be next on your traveler’s bucket list.

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Vlog Entry #21: Amazing Malaysia

This video takes you along with me through the streets and waters of Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Langkawi and Penang! Special thanks to my Malaysian friends and hosts: Kristy, Edwin, KT, Denise, Amanda and Marcus. My trip wouldn’t have been nearly as amazing without you!

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It’s not “goodbye.” It’s “안녕히 계세요.”

2-3 students

Goodbyes are always tough. But yesterday, during my last day as an English teacher at Ulsan Sports Science School, I experienced a whole new level of emotional farewells. Over the past year, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers and enthusiastic students, all of whom consistently went above and beyond with their generosity, kindness and sincerity to make me feel welcomed and cared for.

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Vlog Entry #20: One EPIK Year in Review

Tomorrow marks my last day as an English teacher with EPIK. Without a doubt, this year was full of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, but also the greatest adventures and people. As Avicii says in this video’s song: “All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost.”

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10 EPIK Haikus

As my year with EPIK comes to a close, I find myself thinking a lot about the experience. Below are 10 haikus that reflect what I’ve learned while living, teaching and traveling in South Korea (though really they’re applicable to anyone teaching or living abroad anywhere!).

 

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Vlog Entry #19: The Countdown Begins

In just 34 days, my time in Korea will have officially come to a close! As part of the countdown, you’re invited to submit any and all questions you have about my experience this year! It can be related to teaching, traveling, living in Korea or anything else…within reason. Write in the comments section below and each day I’ll answer one question!

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Too Short for Korea

Too ShortAs a 6’2″ waygook, I have never experienced the problem implied by the title of this post. In fact, it’s usually the exact opposite for me. Every day I exit buses with extra care and walk under umbrellas at local markets like Quasimodo. Koreans, young and old, marvel unabashedly at my towering presence.

Yet somehow, despite a constant self-awareness of my height, these days I’m feeling a bit…short. You see, in the military, to be or feel “short” actually has nothing to do with how tall a person is. Instead, it means that one’s contract or tour of duty is coming to an end; and that’s precisely where I’m at with my EPIK journey.

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