Day 1: EPIK orientation

After getting some good sleep, we got up, showered, and went to breakfast in the cafeteria.  It wasn’t bad.  They had kim chee (served with every meal), toast, scrambled eggs, and cereal…oh, and they also had french fries.

During meals, you get to mingle and meet fellow English teachers.  We were told that four continents and seven countries (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, and South Africa) are represented this week.  And I’m fairly certain someone comes from every US State.  Pretty cool.  Much of the initial conversation revolves around: “Where did you fly from?” “How long was your flight?” “What province did you get placed in?” And then comparing responses. 

We actually had quite a bit of down time this first day – critical for those with 20 hour flights and those suffering from jet lag.  I’m quite happy that we had experienced neither of those. 

We had a one-hour campus tour – showing us where our different classes will be held, different facilities, and even a gym.  The university campus is nice (we plan to tour around campus later in the week).  It was incredibly hot and humid this day so walking was a workout.  Shower #2 was mandatory.

During our three-hour break, Micah and I ventured off to the gym.  Got mildly lost but found our way.  Worked out, showered, ate lunch, and then off to the “Welcoming Ceremonies.” 

We were treated to three different amazing traditional Korean cultural performances (drumming, fan dancing, and singing).  And then the director welcomed us and went over the mission, goals, and guidelines of being an EPIK teacher. 

  • Currently, there are 7,100 English teachers in the Korean public schools (does not count the thousands teaching in private schools)
  • This year has 1200 new EPIK teachers (500 started in March, and that leaves 694 of us for this orientation session).  Wow. 

orientation welcome

We listened to a guest lecturer talking about the culture shock we all will inevitably feel, the challenges of adapting to Korean life, etc.  And then had an amazing dinner that night under this massive tent-structure.  Good thing.  On the walk to dinner, it started to POUR.  The two people who thought to bring umbrellas stayed dry, while the rest of us were drenched. 

Welcome to Korea.

P.S. Yay – our internet access just got turned on last night.


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