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Summer Volunteer: English Zone

I'm back in Korea for summer vacation. It's my last summer break before graduating from the University of Rochester, so I decided to take it easy and focus on enjoying things I won't be as likely to do once I "enter the real world." I'm studying Chinese and French, as well as learning how to play the guitar and drums.


I'm also volunteering as an English instructor at a Korean university. The college is about two hours away from Seoul, so I have to wake up around 5 am and take the bus. I go twice a week, and it's refreshing to get out of the city and enjoy the ambience of the countryside.

I pretty much stay in "English Zone" all day. Once you enter this classroom, you are not allowed to speak Korean. English is the only language permitted. For every 30 minutes of study, the students get a certificate (signed by me!), and they can use it as extra credit for their English course.


I usually have random conversations with the students, but many students like to talk about relationships: "Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?" "What is your ideal boyfriend/girlfriend?" A lot of the students are curious about my college life in the States, too. They have a stereotype of me sipping Starbucks all the time. (Which is actually true!) Other students who are shy and not confident enough in their English ability prefer to play games such as Apples to Apples and Scrabble.

This is a caricature of the English faculty and the TAs. I wish our school had something like this too! I first thought the title said "Happiness is Nowhere," but it actually says "Happiness is Now Here."

I'm glad I started volunteering here, because the Korean college experience is something I missed out on when I decided to study in the States. Now I get to see what it's like with my own eyes.

A picture with my students! 

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