South Korea Travel: Andong City

Forgive me for being a bit outside of my normal topic of language, but I thought it necessary to dispense some of my travel experience…

If you ever go to South Korea, check out the city of Andong.  If you ever go to Andong, heed my advice.  I traveled to there with weeks of preparation and phone calls under my belt…but of course~things went wrong.  Here is what I learned and what you must see if you are ever so fortunate as to have the opportunity to experience “The Capital of The Korean Spirit”:  Andong City.

Situated in the center of South Korea (and a bit to the East) is the city of Andong.

South Korea: Andong

How To: Get There

By no means impossible to get to, Andong’s recent popularity boom has made it quite accessible by both bus and train.  Though the train may be novel, the bus is most definitely the way to travel.  The bus is fast (1~3 hours faster), cheap (about 15,000won or roughly $12), and very comfortable thanks to its plush, wide seats.

Directions: Go to Dongbu Seoul Bus Terminal (on subway line 2)and from there hop on one of the Andong-bound buses that depart every 20 minutes.  This will take you right to the Andong Intercity Bus Terminal in the center of the city.

Distances to Attractions: WARNING!

Though advertised by their website as all easily accessible via the Andong Intercity Bus Terminal, DO NOT BE FOOLED!  Though every tourist site in the city is technically on one bus line or another, the locations are far and the buses are few.  Not knowing this, I was in for a real headache.   This is my only warning:  Planning your Andong trip with the idea of getting from place to place via bus will frustrate and exhaust you!

So, how do you resolve this problem?  Simple: Rent-a-Car**.  If I ever go back to Andong in the future, I will not think twice about this!  This is my one strong suggestion. Renting a car in Andong will save your mind, body, and soul as you come to realize the distances you must travel even by bus to get to some of the more amazing attractions.  **I have just been informed those in the business of renting out cars in Andong will not rent out to anyone without sufficient Korean language skills!!  Taxis may be the next best thing. **

The Amazing Attractions

1) Dosan Confucian Academy (Dosan Seowon)
2) Bongjeong Temple (봉정사)(鳳停寺)
3) Sinsedong Seven-Story Brick Pagoda
4) Jirye Artist Colony
5) Hahoe Village
6) Andong Folk Liquor: Soju Museum

When they say that Andong is the center of tradition and culture of Korea, they are not lying.  Within a one-hour radius of the center of the city are a dozen treasures (some literally are national treasures!) that are completely unique and breathtaking.  Here is a list of the places I went to see and can personally attest to their existence and worth. Continue reading

Advertisements

How to Teach English in Korea

There is nothing more deceptively challenging as teaching English.  I majored in Finance and Japanese and came to Corea to, among other things, discover the culture of a nation almost entirely unknown to nearly every American of Caucasian descent; to grow introspectively in patience and understanding in the scheme of the greater social structure of Corean society (primarily that which concerns life in Corean middle schools); to eat Corean food, and—most significantly—to spend time with my girlfriend of then one-and-a-half years and get to know her family, where she grew up, and (with a bit of luck) blossom together in a beautiful and meaningful relationship.  What I discovered was that teaching English in Corea, though on many levels a rewarding and enlightening experience, is a land laced with mines of depression and setbacks, frustrations and stress.  It is a process of self-discovery that needs the very best of one’s personal determination and a mind so free and empty so that all words and daily activities, all information of any kind, can simply pass through your consciousness without maiming it permanently.

Playing in a Stream

Playing in a Stream

When I was asked recently about motivation I realized that the topic and therefore problem of motivating students was one that actually dealt not with the students but with you, the teacher, and your own level of motivation.  Continue reading

New Video: Advanced ESL Middle School

Hello everyone!  I just wanted to post that I have added another video to my ESL Videos page (as well as to my YouTube page, NuevoKimochi).  It involves my after school students giving a speech about their new pet alien.  There are 8 students and each is just about as tired as a college student at the end of midterms but they manage to pull of a fantastic performance.  They prepped for 30minutes at the most (that includes drawing their alien and writing a short description) so please keep that in mind.



They are a pleasure to teach and always good sports about whatever I throw at them.  Finally, I am quite aware that I am still a novice when it comes to teaching so I am more than open to constructive criticism.

Until my next written post I am

Yours Truly,

~Dorian Wacquez

Bilingualism, Cartilage of the Organism

Living in the United States today are millions of people with the capability to speak only one language.  Bilingualism is a very common trait to have though and more than we even may want to believe or deem necessary.  Borders of nations may be clear-cut and divisive but the beauty of language is it knows no boundaries.  Like the river when it meets the ocean, language flows and blends while simultaneously growing, expanding, fading, and eventually dying, becoming one with the rest of the sea.

A World Without Bilinguals
A World Without Bilinguals

Go north from the United States for example, and French-English bilinguals can be found; to the south Spanish-English bilinguals are common; in Korea meet the Japanese-Korean or Chinese-Korean bilinguals; within Europe where nations are as intertwined in language as they are financially, culturally, and historically, it is no longer bilingualism but trilingualism or more.  In my opinion–and to cut to the chase–you could say that these bilinguals are the glue that hold our world together, the cartilage between the bones so to speak that make the entire structure move easy politically, socially, etc.  Can you picture the world as an organism?  In many ways the human race as a whole is becoming more and more like a single organism: the internet connects us like a nervous system, worldwide organizations respond to aid natural disaster victims like white blood cells to a cut, language is tied with our culture as a kind of bone structure holding it all up, and bilinguals work between nations as intermediaries like the connective tissue called cartilage that makes the walking smooth. Continue reading