The Perils of Teaching American English

The following is a guest article written by Jamie Hoyle.

The recruitment criteria for teaching EFL in Korea are simple. Have a degree. Have a criminal record without any brutal murders. Obtain a letter of shameless praise from an old manager or university professor. Wake up at 5am for a Skype interview. Speak English.

Speak English.

I speak English. I speak the most English English there is. I am English. It’s the only language I know. I will teach more people to speak just like me. I’m perfect.

Well, kind of.

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A Definitive Ranking Of Soju Flavours

The popularity of soju in Korea is unlike anything I’ve seen before. You’ll find its distinctive green bottles at every convenience store, on the table at every Korean restaurant, and resting beside a passed out Korean on almost every street corner.

If you ask me, soju tastes a lot like watered down vodka, and its original “flavours” are pretty hard to swallow. It is also pretty lethal stuff which famously gives you an awful hangover.

But there’s a reason it’s so popular with Koreans and foreigners alike. Soju is strong (about 13%), incredibly cheap (a bottle costs about £1/$1.50) and super fun to try while you’re here. It’s all about embracing the local culture, right?

Thankfully, there are a variety of different flavours to try too – some of which taste better than others. I ventured out to buy as many varieties I could find – there were 8 in total – and got some friends together to carry out a very scientific and not at all tipsy taste test. Here is the definitive ranking of all the the soju varieties I could get my hands on, from worst to best.

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What To Eat When You Hate Korean Food

I live for food. My life revolves around what I’m cooking, what I’m eating and where, and I spend an embarrassing amount of time browsing the internet for new restaurants to visit or recipes to try. Before venturing to Korea, I researched its cuisine thoroughly, and was eager to get my first taste upon my arrival. Not once did I consider I wouldn’t like it. How wrong I was.

As I sat down with my first ever school meal in Korea, my expectations were high. However, when I took my first bite of the surprisingly crunchy kimchi, my dreams of falling in love with Korean cuisine crumbled before me. Did no one think to mention that kimchi is an acquired taste, to say the very least?!

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Get Your Mexican Fix in Jeonju

When a seemingly endless supply of rice and kimchi starts to get you down, there’s no shame in seeking out tasty foreign food in Jeonju, even if it is the food capital of Korea. In this “Get You Fix” series, I will unveil the city’s best restaurants (in my very humble opinion) across the various cuisines. Today’s focus: Mexican food.

Authentic tasting Mexican food is in short supply in Jeonju. More than once I’ve attempted to eat a seemingly appetising burrito or quesadilla, only to find it laden with Korean radishes, pickles or even kimchi! I still experience nightmares.

Koreanised versions of foreign food are to be expected, being in Korea and all. But here are 3 restaurants that have managed to keep the kimchi at bay.

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The 5 Best Things About Working For EPIK

Having been in Korea for over 7 months, now seems like a perfect time to reflect on the pros and cons of working as an English teacher with EPIK (English Program in Korea).

I’ve already given my two cents on what I consider to be the 5 worst things about working with EPIK, so now it’s time for the 5 best. It’s by no means been plain sailing, but there are certain aspects of the job that I can’t deny are pretty great. From the salary to the students, there’s plenty of reasons why so many people apply each year to be a teacher with EPIK. Let’s get started.

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The 5 Worst Things About Working For EPIK

Before I moved to Korea last year, I spent hours and hours reading blogs and articles about working with EPIK. What I read, along with my relentless optimism, painted an idealistic image of what it would be like living and working in Korea. While all this information was really useful, it left me unprepared for the less “ideal” aspects of the job.

I’ve now been working as an English teaching with EPIK for 7 months, and I definitely have lots to say about it. In the interests of providing a more balanced view, I have put into words what I consider the 5 worst things about working for EPIK.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Despite these drawbacks, I’m still glad I came to Korea to teach, and there are many reasons why I haven’t fled the country just yet. Check out my 5 best things about working for EPIK.

Anyway, let’s get to it.

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