Hello! I guess now is as good a time as any to write my first post, since I just found out my official date of departure for South Korea! On August 30th, 2011, a year’s worth of belongings and I will leave the USA (via Chicago) to teach English at a Middle School in the Gyeonggi-do Province, a region that surrounds the capital city of Seoul. (can’t figure out the actual English spelling for Gyeonggi…some say “Gyeonngi” or “Gyeonggi”) Right now the concept of living in Asia is more of an overly-discussed topic that I find myself explaining to friends and family constantly, rather than something I’m actually doing. But I know that in 1.5 months the new language, new food, new place, and excitement of life abroad will hit me like a ton of kimchi. AND I CANNOT WAIT!
For those of you who haven’t yet been subject to my spiel about what I’ll be doing for the next year, here’s a recap. I am participating in a “program” through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s ESL Department (I use quotation marks here because UW serves more as a recruiter than a program facilitator) who has partnered with an organization called GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea) in placing recent American college graduates at public schools in the Gyeonngi-do Province. They will pay me, house me, and help me situate myself in a new city all in exchange for sharing my skills as a native English speaker.
I will work with a co-teacher, a Korean English teacher; I’ve been told that my role is to “make English come alive” for the students. I’m excited to see what exactly that will mean for me and for the Korean pre-teens I’ll be spending my days with.
Oh and I should probably explain my absurdly creative blog title. Bassenyourseatbelt is a nickname I came up with for myself (should I be sharing that on the internet?) in high school when I used it as an AIM screenname. Although the olden days of IMing have died out, the nickname lived on and is now going to exist in an amazingly fitting new context: this blog! How perfect…a nickname that celebrates my love of going new places (and of course taking all necessary safety precautions along the way) and having others come along with me for the ride.
I hope that this blog will not only chart my adventures in South Korea and travels throughout Asia, but will be a place for me to share other experiences around the world in the future.
Let the games begin.