So yesterday was the first official day of my training in the Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK) Program and it started off with a bang. Well actually the first day didn't involve much training at all, we took a field trip to downtown Seoul where we embarked on a photo scavenger hunt! Seoul is a beautiful city, with lots of cool buildings and shops and restaurants. The most beautiful part about Seoul I think is the close proximity of the very modern aspects to the ancient Korean monuments. All over there are high rise buildings made of glass and steel yet right next to it could be the ancient Imperial Palace that has stood for thousands of years. Amazing!
However it is still the rainy season here in Korea so the whole trip it was very windy and wet (that didn't stop us from having fun though). I saw several peoples umbrellas get torn to shreds by a strong gust of wind, luckily mine held up. Anyway, me and my group had about 3 hours to walk around get our photos and eat lunch. Our pictures included the Imperial Palace, stone statues, a Korean Starbucks, the river, some crazy purple statue that looked like a sea shell, and a statue of a a famous emperor. I'm still trying to figure out how to get more than one picture on this blog (can you tell I haven't done this before) so hopefully soon you can see them. We ate lunch downtown which was an interesting experience because several of the girls in my group couldn't eat pork, and trying to find a dish without pork, or even just explaining to a Korean person that they couldn't eat pork proved very difficult. But in the end after a long and confusing conversation with lots of pointing it all worked out. After we returned from Seoul we went out to celebrate one of the other TaLK scholars birthday at a norea-bang (singing room), which is just a room that you rent out with a karaoke machine in it. Lots of fun! Then headed back to the dorms since we had our first "real" day of training to look forward too.
So today the lectures began. The schedule is pretty intense, 5 to 6 lectures a day from 8:40am to 5:40pm everyday for the next 3 weeks. Man right now I am exhausted! The lectures today were pretty interesting though. We learned about Korean history, coping with life in Korea, how to deal with culture shock, travel tips, and got to talk with a current TaLk scholar about his experience teaching over the last year and a half. Very informative but man, I am tired. Its been over two years since I've gone to classes like that! Anyway, tonight i am just gonna take it easy. Just practice my Korean and spend some time learning how to read and write Hangeul (the Korean writing system). More updates (and pictures once I figure this out) soon to come!