Tag Archives: teaching english

Lost in Translation – Funny Korean Signs

1 Oct

One of the things that keeps me smiling on an every-day basis is the abundance of hilarious English signs that line the streets, roads and parks of Korea. Be it signs that have a minor spelling mistake, Korean’s inability/refusal to use the letter “L”, or signs that most likely were translated in a poor mans version of Google Translate, they always put a smile on my face.

I can’t count the amount of times my friends and I have remarked, “Why don’t they ask a native English speaker to proof read their sign / brochure / menu before sending it to print?”. The answer is and may always remain…I have no freaking clue!

Maybe they think it’s too expensive or too much hassle, or as my boss pointed out, maybe they simply see English words as “pictures” and don’t really care what the letters or words mean as long as they look pretty. Either way, I need to stop complaining, as they give me endless entertainment on usually long, boring days. :D

So, which is your favourite?! 

shit house

cat cafe hongdae fuckfake

funny korean english sign

funny mens waxing image

funny sign korea

no riding dolphins

lost in translation konglish

 

Related post: Korean Love Couples (..and their matching clothes!)

Ireland, as drawn by Korean Kids

12 Sep

My first class of the day is with 2 very cute Korean brothers who come to me simply to improve their English conversation skills and to expose them to a native English speaker. They will be moving to China soon as their father’s got transferred there for work and they will be attending an International school. As one boy is 6 and the other is 8, with very different levels of English (think very, very basic!!) an hour long class can be quite difficult to plan.

I have quite a lot of leeway in what I teach them, so last week each day we would learn about a different country. I had great fun teaching them all about Ireland and teaching them some traditional Irish songs. When we were finished I asked them to make a poster that represented Ireland and below is what they drew. I have to say I LOVE their version of Saint Patrick and that they think he led the ‘snacks’ out of Ireland! Plus the fact that they drew Guinness as ‘Black Beer!’ is priceless. Kids are just the cutest.

20130826_144931

20130826_145316

20130826_144938 20130826_145215

20130826_145235

20130826_145248

 

CouchSurfing in Korea can get you FIRED

29 Jul

This is just a quick post on Couchsurfing in Korea that I wanted to share, just to warn others of the potential dangers of couchsurfing in Korea. Most people who put “couchsurfing” and “dangerous” in the same sentence are referring to the dangers of hosting a complete stranger in your home. The dangers of meeting complete strangers, on the internet, then meeting in a public place, and taking them home as if they were a friend and letting them sleep on your couch / spare bedroom / floor mat..whatever. Having hosted 100’s of couchsurfers and surfed on 5 continents, I can confidently say I have never had any truly negative experience, have never felt threatened, never had anything stolen and have also walked away from the experience with a smile on my face and amazing memories and new friends.

Until today I thought Couchsurfing could work anywhere but having been in Korea one week, I can see that in certain cultures, and in certain countries, it may be more of a hindrance than a help. Why?? Well, check out the letter, below, which my friend received from the principal of her school following a few weeks hosting people in her city South of Seoul…. I doubt she will be hosting anymore. :( Oh Korea.

fired-job-loss
Statement of Civil Complaint 

Last Friday (7/19) evening, I got a phone call from vice principle Kang. It was your civil complain *sic* from parents of our school students. That person told about your behavior that you are inviting many men to your house and they came out in the morning from your house. It cause *sic* neighbor inconvenience. And that person also said to the vice principle, they already asked you to stop that but you didn’t change. Your neighbors already know that YOU are BLANK Elementary School TEACHER and they think that your behavior is not appropriate for teacher’s attitude as well as not good for your young students who live around your house. At the end of the complain, *sic* that person told that BLANK Elementary school hired unsuitable person for teacher. 

I already told about your ‘Couchsurfing’ to principle and vice principles but they are disappointed with the fact, many men came out in the morning from the teacher’s house which is rented by budget of korean civil’s tax, and they want to change your attitude as a TEACHER IN KOREA. 

As American way of thought, you may think that is invasion of privacy. But you are employee of Korea national educational institution. And Koreans expect you to comply with Korean culture. In this country, if you give an impression behind on student’s parents *sic* that you look to be sexually promiscuous as teacher, *sic* then you can be a target of criticism whether actually happened or not. So your behavior that conflict with Korean culture caused your neighbor’s civil complaint. Furthermore, this complain *sic* is regarded as our school hired inappropriate person for teacher. Consequently, you caused the complain to school and violated a contract article 19-1. So we will issue warning letter. 

Article 19 (Codes of Conduct) 
1. The Employee shall not behave in any manner which may damage or tarnish the reputation of the teaching profession in general or of the GEPIK program and the undersigned Employee in particular during the Term of Employment. 
If you do not change your behavior and attitude with this complain, *sic* other complains will come to school and education office. That will make us issue another warning letter and finally we will reconsider about the contract with you.

Dear Diary- Hello Kenya

22 Dec

This is the start of a new series of posts that I am going to copy word for word from an old travel diary I found in my bedroom. Reading back I was not the most sensitive person and my creative writing could have done with some (a lot) of tweaking!! But hopefully you will enjoy the naive honesty of a 20 years old backpacker with big dreams!

Dear Diary,

WOW. It’s hard to believe I’m actually here in Kenya. In Africa. Only a few hours on a plane and one enters a completely different world. After the hectic experience of Heathrow airport and nearly getting lost, Nairobi Jomo Kenyetta was a breeze. All those stories of muggings and hawkers, crooked airport staff and pushy taxi drivers seems to be a myth. Or else we just got lucky.

Father Tom from St Patrick’s Missions picked us up at the airport and we were given a second breakfast before been whizzed down town by Joseph, their driver, to sort out our bus tickets to Kitale the next day. Passing by hawkers selling everything from Mangos to puppies, children begging in traffic, a foot-less leper on the roadside. From the lush suburbs inhabited by rich diplomats from around the world and foreign aid organizations and missionary compounds to the slums, an endless menage of aluminium shacks, make shift hairdressers, sweet shops, shoe shiners, car washers, wood cutters. People cleaning themselves alongside the road in ditches full of thick brown, muddy water. It was all so overwhelming for our fist day in Kenya.

We were given a huge lunch and dinner best food ever; potatoes,kidney beans, soup, bread, pizza, porridge.

We have been laughed at many times today by the other priests and local at any mention of ‘Lodwar’, the place we are going to teach. “Bring sunscreen” one said with a laugh. I guess they know best, they have lived here for 9 years!

Welcome to Kenya!

Missing my Kiddies

9 Nov

Having left Korea and all my adorable students over 3 months ago, I’m actually starting to miss the annoying,little critters!

Ah no, I loved them all, I really did and I often wonder how they are getting along and what funny things they are writing or talking about with their new teacher. My year teaching in Korea was one of the best years of my life, and the memories will stay with me forever.

Here are some photos of me with all my amazing students. I miss them, I really do.

Cosmetic Surgery in Korea

22 Jun

Cosmetic Surgery is hugely popular in Korea. Get on any bus or subway and you will adverts like the one below describing how you can change the shape of your nose, your eyes, the shape of your face, your bum, your breasts…you name it, they have it. Take a walk down the well-to-do neighborhood of Apujeong or Gangnam in Seoul and you can guarantee most of those beautiful women are 90% plastic. Most of these adverts imply that you will be more beautiful, more confident and attract richer men after cosmetic surgery, with advertisements often displaying large diamond rings, beautiful models, handsome boyfriends and sexy bikinis!

Having lived in Korea for 10 months now I thought I had seen and heard it all. From my friend’s co-teachers getting nose jobs to fellow teachers getting freckles removed and eyelids permanently tattooed with eyeliner, people getting laser hair removal, liposuction, stories of calf reductions and the always popular breast enlargements.

However, today I was left speechless. Today I was left feeling puzzled, confused and most of all sad at Koreans need for altering their appearance. One of my star students didn’t show up for class today so I asked her best friends why she was missing.

Me: ” Where is X today?”

Student: “Oh she went to the hospital”

Me: Oh no, what happened?”

Student: “Oh she is short but wants to be tall.”

Me: “Ok..but why is she gone to the HOSPITAL?!”

Student, (puzzled at my obvious stupidity!) “To get tall!”

The way she said it was so surprising to me. As if that’s a total normal thing. Oh yeah, you know, just popped down to the Doc’s to get stretched…” WHAT THE HELL! I actually would not have believed what I was hearing had it not been coming out of the mouth of one of my star students who has near fluent English. It took several more minutes for her to explain exactly what was going on as I stood there ta the front of the classroom speechless.

An older women getting surgery is one thing. Even younger women trying to enhance their facial features or obese people looking for liposuction but what kind of parent allows and even perhaps ENCOURAGES their 14 year old, beautiful, extremely talented and intelligent daughter to start a months long, excruciatingly painful procedure in order to lengthen her legs??? I really, really, REALLY hope she doesn’t go through with it. :(

                                                  

I think it’s BORING. BORING BORING BORING.

27 Apr attraction-native-american-dancers

Today was so unbelievably frustrating. All 3 teachers were teaching students adjectives to describe what they think of certain music, dancing or hobbies. From exciting, to graceful, from beautiful to difficult, it would seem only one adjective in particular caught on in every class…BORING. 

Korean students don’t exactly think for themselves and love to copy/borrow other peoples opinions, which I noticed on one of my first days teaching here. (Click here for the hilarious consequences) So considering the whole lesson today was based on, “What do you think of X? What do you think of Y?” I should have guessed it would be a flop.

When discussing various types of dances I decided to make the lesson more interesting by showing them some funny videos on you tube. For example this gem of “Stavros Flatley” from Britains Got Talent.

When it finshed I asked the class, so what do you think of this kind of dancing? Without even looking up from the pad they were all doodling on they replied in the same monotone one word anser they had been using for the whole lesson..BORING.

I showed them Riverdance…the legendary Riverdance with Michael Flatley. But oh how silly of me, that’s a BORING DANCE along with every other type of dance under the sun.

My level 5’s were discussing music. I was quick to discover that music I have loved all my life from Jazz music, Salsa music, Rock music, Country music, Reggae music and even classical music…are all BORING. How had I been so blind?! I did, miraculously, get one other adjective wrenched from their closed minds, it appears they are all fiercely patriotic when it comes to anything Korean… K-pop music is “good” and the Korean Fan Dance was “good” too. Kill me now!!!

How Boring...

We talked about Native American Rain dances and I showed them a photo of their elaborate and colorful costumes which were, you guessed it…BORING. I got frustrated at this point because there is no way in hell you could ever describe a rain dance as being “boring”. Extravagant maybe, spectacular, colourful, unusual, maybe even scary but no way is it BORING!

Turns out I wasn’t alone in my findings today. Cindy and Daniel, the other Native English teachers in my school was trying to deal with the exact same problems. Attempting to teach a whole unit on puppets (a Unit usually lasts 7 days) when the students keep emphasizing their dislike/indifference to the world of puppets can be quite the challenge! I guess the ONE HUNDRED AND ONE MILLION PEOPLE who viewed this puppet pals video must just be brain dead thinking this video could be…entertaining when its so OBVIOUSLY BORING!!

One disgruntled and…wait for it…bored..student cheekily commented in class saying , “Teachaa, This is supposed to be ENGLISH class, NOT music class!!” Thanks for the memo you cheeky brat, now prepare yourself for one HELL of a lot of homework, a big chunk of tedious, tiring, dull, irksome, annoying, uninteresting BORING homework coming right at ya!

FagansBlog

I'm a freelance writer travelling the world.

Pursuit of a Joyful Life

Finding Joy in Everyday Living

CHINDIA ALERT: You'll be living in their world, very soon

continuously updated blog about China & India

The Grand Narrative

Korean Feminism, Sexuality, and Popular Culture

TechCrunch

Startup and Technology News

Simon Says... You really should drink this!

Adventures in ale and other stories...

RocketNews24

Bringing you yesterday's news from Japan and Asia, today.

FLT

Fitness, Lifestyle & Travel

Not in Kansas Anymore

Brains, heart, courage... and a gorgeous pair of shoes

Kev's Blog

Thoughts and Expressions

Beautiful Life with Cancer

Discovering the Gift

Perambulating Asia

From England to Asia, and everything in between

Journey Forgotten

Leaving trails behind every trip, sharing useful information about Seoul and other places visited.

ECpromotion.com

T-skjorter, Logobånd, Caps, banner, Bagger

antryump

"A Blog worth reading "

Jeff Schneider

The world through the lense of a digital nomad

See What Eye See

Nikki's Images

The Secret Map

Take a tumble down the rabbit hole that is Asia. You may never return.

Travels with Tricia A. Mitchell

Sharing Tales of People, Places & Passion. A travel blog to inspire & inform with slow-travel narratives about citizen diplomacy, culture, wine & food, and social good.

emmaiswritinganovel

Snippets and stories from an over-active imagination

I'M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE.

Heather does some cool things and writes about them. Welcome Internet friends. Scroll down to Archives to read from the beginning.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,188 other followers

%d bloggers like this: