MY SAUA-Z IndexImage: Calendar

News and Events

Fulbright Scholar in Korea (Part Two)

June 2006


June, 2006
An update from our Fulbright Scholar in Korea

What new experiences have you had since our last glimpse into your life in Korea?
How has this year has changed you?
Tell us another story.
What are your students and host family saying about your impending departure?
How have you grown the most?
What you will take with you?
What's in your future?

What new experiences have you had since our last glimpse into your life in Korea?
My school was chosen for a Korean TV game show where teachers and students face off. As the resident tall American I had the “honor” of getting a lot of airtime. This included introducing the school alongside the principal, being a part of the studio audience—and dancing to a remix of the Village People’s “YMCA.”

I’ve also had the opportunity to experience the Yellow Dust that China sends over from the Gobi Desert this time of year. The sky often looks foggy and sometimes, I think I can detect a yellowish tinge. Many people sport what look like surgical masks. I once saw a whole family in matching blue masks. (back to top)

How has this year has changed you?
In so many ways. It’s broadened my perspective on life—on the world—but has also shown me that my perspective is often very, very limited. This year has raised a lot of questions for me about English education outside of English-speaking countries, its necessity, its effectiveness and the qualifications of teachers (including myself).

Tell us another story.
A few weeks ago I went to my co-teacher’s house for her son’s birthday party. We had cake, rice, the special birthday soup, and the general good company of two rambunctious boys under the age of 6. They’re wild little kids but adorable, especially when they call me, “Nuna,” or “older sister.” We threw a ball around their tiny apartment, had a sword fight where I took a beating, though what I lacked in bravery was made up in the ability to pick them up and turn them upside down.
There have been a lot of lonely times during this year, times when I don’t fit in, can’t participate in conversations, or otherwise am uncomfortable. Letting loose with little kids—who often require little more than attention—has been one of the highlights of my stay here. As I got ready to leave that night, the youngest son, the birthday boy, stopped jumping on the couch long enough to reach up and take my hands in his. In Korean he asked, sadly, “Nuna, are you going home now?” It made me happy to think that I wasn’t going to leave all of this behind quite yet. (back to top)
 

What are your students and host family saying about your impending departure?
The word from my host family is that my youngest sister Ji-eun will miss me the most. I spend the most time with her and sometimes we amuse my host mom by “helping” to wash the dishes after dinner. It always takes us three times as long as it would take her. When I was gone for winter vacation one of my host sisters told a co-worker that it will be very hard when I leave for good. And I’ve been told that all the teachers will miss me—I will definitely miss them. Sad looks cross my students’ faces when it comes up, and we try to stay away from the subject. (back to top)

How have you grown the most?
This is a really difficult question to answer as I feel like I’ve grown in so many ways, but can’t quite pinpoint where or what. I have a greater understanding for myself, certainly. I’m continuing to realize the importance of having respect for people, if only for the reason that they are people, made in the image of God. Everything isn’t always right or good but we must have and show respect for people, even if we find it impossible to understand why they do what they do. This is, of course, hard to put into practice. (back to top)

What you will take with you?
The memories of a year filled with ups and downs, great friends, delicious food, and a love of rice cakes. This year has taught me to keep trying, to keep going. I generally teach the same lesson 14 times in one week and so have 14 times to perfect the lesson. Even if the clock moves slowly, it does move, and next time will be better.  (back to top)

What's in your future?
This year has opened up a lot of new opportunities. I’m tentatively planning to work with Fulbright Korea for another year, as executive assistant to the director. During the summer I plan to do some writing workshops at the University of Iowa. I’m also looking at several grad programs around the country, most with a focus on creative non-fiction. (back to top)

Read Anna's first update from Nov. 18, 2005

More Headlines

Rss News OffSee All News Off

More Happenings

Rss Events OffSee All Events Off