Tuesday, October 09, 2012

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My Korean Teaching Experience

"I don't like Koreans. I just don't."

This is a statement that I made before, after hearing from people that they like K-pop, as well as K-dramas and such. Years ago, the K-wave has been felt all over the world, with several songs, movies, and series being widespread all over our country, the Philippines. Actually, this hype has been started with a Korean, Sandara Park, has won a Philippine Talent Show, Star Circle Quest. This bubbly lady, also known as Krung-krung, has melted some of Filipinos' hearts with her charm. After some time, she went back to Korea, and eventually joined a K-pop group, the 2NE1.

Sandara "Dara" Park, 박다라.. 이뻐요..
Photo Credit
Affected by the K-wave, I said the statement above. I really hated Koreans back then. My friends singing Korean pop songs as if they understand what they're singing, watching dramas as if they knew Korean culture and such. I really hated what they're doing, because everything is just pointless. I had that notion for a very long time, not knowing the things that will happen in the future.

I was changed.

It was after my nursing licensure examination when my sister asked me if I wanted to teach some Koreans with English, to at least earn some money while waiting for the results. With money in mind, I accepted the challenge. Eventually, I was called to teach a group of students. Again, still with the money in mind.

Well, the first day happened. All the students being fatigued with their travel time, sneering over the hot weather of the Philippines, took their examinations. Of course, I greeted them with a very warm welcome to the Philippines. No reaction. OK, maybe they're just tired. First impression: Koreans are grumpy.

Days gone by, and I could see them being closer and closer not only to me, but also to some teachers. You can see students talking, laughing, and playing with their teachers in their break time. Sharing their food is one thing that I really noticed. They like sharing their food, except for some. They even initiate by taking a piece and putting it directly to the recipient's mouth. A Korean trademark. First impression, cancelled. Second impression: Koreans are nice.

As they are generous enough to me, I also came bringing some Philippine snacks and candies, which they really like. One example is Choco Mucho, which they really really really like. I have a separate post for that. I brought more snacks, which they like. And because of that, I decided to make these snacks as reinforcement in their English studies. A little bribe is not bad, eh?

My students talked a lot about their culture, as well as their language. Actually, one student gave me a list of the Hangul (한글), which is their system of writing. A teacher being taught. Well, I studied their writing system, became interested, and hey, finished studying after a few hours. My student was stunned the day after.

My time with them, I guess, is time well spent. After a few weeks, I even stayed overtime, just talking to them, or even just watching them from afar. They talk to you as if you're just in the same age with them, showing you things that are not that common here, as well as talking about their families and everyday lives. You've just became one of their family.

Moreover, cheering them towards being the best in their level, being proud of their achievements, and even considering them as dongsaeng (younger brother/sister) is a thing that I've enjoyed, even though I didn't see myself doing such. I became a stage-father/brother to all of them.

However, after a month, they are destined to leave. A month may seem a very long time, but with my experience with them, it all became very short. I am longing for more. But they are really leaving, and I can't do something about it. Just make the time well-spent, right?

They have already left. My long-thought strong personality crumbled in front of them. These students I've loved, who treated me as their older brother, who shared time with me, shared their lives, are crying in front of me. This thought of them leaving has never occurred to me before, it's just setting in at that time. Tears falling down until they.... left. Left with a promise.

"안녕은 영원한 헤어짐은 아니겠지요 

다시 만나기 위한 약속일꺼야 함께했던 시간은 

이젠 추억으로 남기고 서로 가야할 길 찾아서 떠나야 해요"

"The song we sang in joy together 
Became our memory 
Saying good bye is not eternal farewell 
But a promise to see each other again."
                                    - Ijen Annyeong, 015B

Photo Credit


  1. Wah...I like Korea and Koreans but then after hearing some rumors (celebrities), I started to hate Koreans but I'm back again. I like them, a lot! BUT, I dislike SHINee since they debuted but yeah, I changed my perspective and I like them...one of them now.

    1. We all have times when we hate something/someone. However, looking at the positive side, it's good that we are able to change our perspective towards our Korean friends, eh? ;)

  2. May I ask about the learning camp? Uhm.. I want to know the details. Maybe you could give me links or something? :) I have a 15-year old Korean friend and she wants to learn English here so I hope we could help her? :)

    1. Hello, Aeya! There are some schools here in the Philippines that can offer her English lessons - however, if you want an agency which can arrange her English learning, you can go to Facebook, search for an account named "Apc Love". It's the account of my previous Korean boss - she might help your friend. Thanks!

  3. that's so fucking sweet dude... i cried in the last part!


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