Applying to EPIK #2 – That essay

So, I am not going to talk much in this post as I can’t offer you a lot of advice. I don’t know exactly what it was about my essay that got me an interview but they seemed to like it. I just addressed the points they asked for in the best way I could. I have posted it below for anyone to look at:

Why Korea? This is a question my friends and family have asked me on a daily basis since I announced my desire to teach there. I respond by saying that it would be a wonderful opportunity to experience a culture where old and new, tradition and progress sit side-by-side in harmony. Korea is the perfect example of how modernisation does not have to mean the abandonment of valued customs and teaching English in Korea would allow me to witness this on a daily basis.

But it is also a chance to do much more than this. I believe that contact with a native speaker of a language can make a positive difference when learning. I am currently teaching myself Korean, but with no help from a native speaker it is difficult to know how well I am doing or if I have made a mistake. By teaching English in Korea, I will not only get the chance to improve my own Korean skills but engage the students in my own language and customs. I also believe that by helping to improve their language skills, I will be helping to set my students up for a great and successful future. This is something I was able to experience first-hand whilst volunteering to help teach at a local school in the summer of 2012.

It was whilst volunteering here that I was able to develop my own education philosophies. I believe that no two students are the same and that everyone learns in different ways and at different speeds. By using a range of activities (books, games, role-playing or multi-media), students can be given the chance to engage with a subject and develop an interest in what they are learning. This makes the learning of something new much easier and helps the student want to learn. I also believe that a teacher should set an example for his or her students. A way of doing this in an English class could be to make English the ‘official language’ of the classroom. Just as I would learn Korean more easily from becoming completely immersed in the language, my students could learn much more English being surrounded by it in the lesson. As well as this, I believe that every teacher has responsibility for the future of the children that they teach and this is a something that I take extremely seriously. Finally, I believe that learning can and should continue outside of the classroom, whether through a club, camp or trip. This is something that I involved myself in, both at University and whilst I was volunteering at Bexhill High School. In this way, it can be made fun and more engaging for a student that might otherwise find it dull.

However, it is important to remember that I will spend my time in Korea learning new things too. It is a country that is quite different from the one I have grown up in, but I firmly believe that cultural differences are only a problem if we let them become one. By involving myself in the local and school communities through clubs and events (for example, Taekwondo), I will be able to settle myself into life in Korea more easily. It is a way I can get to know my co-workers, students and neighbours. I believe that through shared interests, friendships can blossom even with a language barrier. I enjoy cooking and look upon the chance to visit Korea as a chance to not only expand my own cookery skills but leave a piece of my culture there after I have gone. I am already teaching myself Korean, which will make the hardest barrier I will face seem smaller. I first came across Korean culture when I looked at some modern Korean history whilst sitting my degree. It was studying this that made me believe that many Westerners have misconceptions about Korea and I see the chance to teach English there as an opportunity to learn about more Korean culture and then teach others about what I have seen and learnt. But most importantly, I believe that if I embrace this chance for the great opportunity it is, I will make new friends, have new experiences and be able to make a positive difference to the lives of my students.

I hope this is helpful for someone.

Check back soon for a food based blog post.

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