Skip to content

Teaching English in Korea : Reviews (Gwangju Gyeonggi)

The following program review responses have been selected for publication by Office of Study Abroad
Rate Your Study Abroad Program!
Summer 2015 Participant
My favorite part of this program was being around the students and teaching them not only English but how to become confident and not to be afraid of making mistakes when speaking or learning a language. The students that we were able to interact with were amazing, they wanted to learn and they were ready to learn whatever they could from us. It was so rewarding.

 

Kathryn Elizabeth Anderson, Summer 2016 Participant
This program offered me the unique opportunity to not only study and travel and study in South Korea, but also experience the lifestyle through working in a local school. My favorite part was getting to meet, interact, and build relationships with all the students and faculty at the schools. Through building relationships with them, I was able to see what it was like to life in South Korea, which really expanded my cultural understanding of the country and the lifestyle of the people that live there.

 

Mandeep Kaur Ballagan, Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part about this program was that it provided all of my fellow KU student teachers and I with the unique opportunity of being completely immersed in the local community and school. I felt like I was an actual part of the community in Gwangju instead of feeling like a foreigner. It was amazing being in the school and seeing all the students every single day and it was equally as amazing seeing the students at the best icecream place in the city or at the most famous tteokboki place after school. It was just so nice being surrounded by the loving students and the loving people of Gwangju every moment of the day-whether you were in the school or out and about in the city.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part of the program was working with the students and the volunteer opportunities we had. All of the students were amazing and bright and made me enthusiastic to teach as well!

 

Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the school where we were interning. Kyunghwa was absolutely fantastic! The teachers were extremely friendly and the students were so excited to learn. I loved the excursions, but I was always excited to get back to Kyunghwa because it felt like home.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the students at Kyunghwa! They were so kind and welcoming, and we learned so much by teaching them. Interacting with the students broadened my view of the world.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
My favorite part of this program, without a doubt, was being able to teach the students. The students were the highlight of the trip, as they were engaged, respectful, and fun. Of course the cultural aspects of the trip were incredibly interesting as well. But the students were just as interesting.

 

Kaitlin Krause, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part was the excursions to Seoul and Sokcho. They were super fun and that's where I got closer with the other people on the practicum. I also really got to see all different eras of Korean culture on these trips; ancient past to modern present. I'm already planning on visiting again!

 

Hazara Leon, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part about this program was that it gave me an opportunity to attend courses that I could directly apply to my internship. Student teaching at Kyunghwa's Girls School was a chance for me to discover what it is like to work as a teacher in a foreign country. I had the chance to acquire valuable skills that are useful for both work and everyday life.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My absolute favorite part of the program was the opportunity to interact with the students and faculty on a daily basis. Kyunghwa was incredibly inviting and helped us integrate into their community and city, and my purpose there was more solidified because of it. The students are engaging, attentive, and unbelievably kind - I was truly fortunate to get this opportunity to get to know many of them in my time there. Being able to cross the language barrier in order to form a connection with this school is something that will stick with me.

 

Aiyana Lynn Moyer, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of the program was being able to interact with and observe the students in both classroom and casual settings. The constant exposure to the students and the unique school atmosphere that can be found at Kyunghwa allowed me to grasp what life is like for the average Korean high school student as well as experience the accepting, English-focused setting that makes Kyunghwa different from other, public high schools.

 

Tessa Renee Newberry, Summer 2017 Participant
I think the excursions were perfectly timed and well planned so that they really added to the overall experience. The freedom and time to explore Korea outside of the town and school was awesome. It also made the bonding experience with my peers so much better.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of the program was going on the excursions and getting to learn about this history of South Korea. Through these excursions, we were able to go to palaces, museums, and more and learn more about Korean culture. It was also rewarding in the fact that the places we visited were so vastly different from each other. It was a nice balance and break from teaching, and I felt like I learned so much more from immersing myself in these excursions and left with a better understanding and insight about life in Korea as it is today and was in the past.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The favorite part of the program for me was the students. You will never meet anyone as hard working as them, yet they still find a balance to be happy. The students are supportive and a big part of teaching. I learned more from them than them for me.

 

Thompson Robert Deufel, Summer 2015 Participant
The rigor and challenge of being responsible for a high level academic course through KU, in addition to learning how to adopt to my role as a teacher in the field of a Korean classroom, was by far the most rewarding element of the program. It not only pushed me to manage my time well and be held accountable for the work being asked of me, but I gained a better perspective of the reality of what being a teacher will be like in the future, and more specifically, what it will be like as a teacher in an ESL environment.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
I felt that the most rewarding part of the experience was meeting the students, listening to their stories and observing their daily routines, and in return having their curiosity and attention when we were teaching. Not many of us in the program had a background in education, and therefore were self-conscious about trying to teach students with such academic rigor. But I feel that both sides came out of the experience positively impacted.

 

Kathryn Elizabeth Anderson, Summer 2016 Participant
Each time I was teaching or interacting with the students, I felt a true bond with them and the school. Each student and faculty member was incredibly attentive and engaged with me and really worked to make me feel included and to feel comfortable.

 

Mandeep Kaur Ballagan, Summer 2016 Participant
The most rewarding element of this program was forming and creating bonds with the students. Many of the students were shy when they first approached us and were insecure about their English speaking skills and it was the most rewarding thing breaking them out of that initial shyness and seeing them grow more confident in their English speaking abilities.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
The teaching experience and the time spent with the students outside of class were the most rewarding aspects of this practicum. Getting to be in front of a classroom teaching a lesson you created-there's nothing that can compare with that experience. I have always been a strong believer in learning through experience and this practicum gave me absolutely wonderful experience. Also, the students were just fantastic people. They were eager to learn, quick to catch on, and just all-around jovial, fun-loving girls. I am going to miss them a lot.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
I found teaching most rewarding because of the students. They were so engaged and willing to participate in our lessons. Monitoring their individual progress and increased confidence in English was so rewarding.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
The exposure to totally alien (at least to me) cultural experiences was one of the more rewarding parts of this trip for me.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
After the program was finished, on of the Korean co-teachers told us how amazed he was with us. He told us that quite a few of the students who were shy to practice their English spoke more with us in English than they did with him! It was great to hear that we did make a difference with some of these girls.

 

Kaitlin Krause, Summer 2017 Participant
Teaching the girls was definitely the most rewarding thing on this trip. They were all so kind and willing to learn and I miss them so much. They would spoil any teacher who came in to teach them, as compared to America, at least. Learning how to make a lesson plan, then actually making it and implementing it was a super cool experience that I would have never gotten with the field I'm going into. Overall, this entire experience was rewarding, be it the girls, the excursions, or the classes, and I am honestly so lucky to have been able to go on this trip.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I found the teaching aspect of this program most rewarding, for I had never had classroom experience prior to this trip. I think that this study abroad experience is unique in its formation of student teachers. We were able to implement our own lessons in the classroom and truly get a taste of what teaching, particularly EFL teaching, subsists of. Additionally, I found that working within a community was extremely rewarding - being able to share experiences with other KU students as co-teachers made it more memorable and enjoyable.

 

Aiyana Lynn Moyer, Summer 2017 Participant
Being able to interact with the students and get to know them on personal as well as intellectual levels was probably the most rewarding part of the program. I became close with multiple students, and it was interesting to speak to them in multiple contexts because of my unique status as a foreign student teacher who is only a couple of years older than them. After six weeks of speaking, playing, and interacting in and out of the classroom, some of the students really opened up to me and wanted to keep in contact even after the program ended. The acceptance I experienced and the bonds I formed made for a touching and rewarding experience.

 

Tessa Renee Newberry, Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding part of the program was undoubtedly the interactions with the students at Kyunghwa. It's an environment unlike anything other. The girls are all passionate and sweet; it was so different than any other school environment I'd ever been in. The support network is also really strong, not just with our KU peers but the teachers at the school are all so willing to help and make the experience a great one. I really feel like I connected with the community at Kyunghwa and even down in the town of Gwangju.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding part of the program was the connections, memories, and bonds I made with the students I taught. I was able to get to know a lot of the students on a personal level, and was even given the opportunities to hang out with students outside of the classroom through a designated club at the school. I loved listening to the students interests, hobbies, their future goals, and more. I have made so many new friends thanks to this program, and getting the chance to build these friendships was incredibly rewarding.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding part of the trip is help the students be more culturally aware as well as me broadening my cultural awareness. In the state of the political world now, it's important to see the view of someone from the inside. I got to learn from them about what them as Koreans experience and they get to learn about me and my family's experience. It was great because the group that we had this year was so diverse, so everyone had something different to contribute on making them more culturally aware about Americans in the United States.

 

Kathryn Elizabeth Anderson, Summer 2016 Participant
I have learned the importance of flexibility and patience. When working in another country and navigating different cultural expectations, there were often times when I would have to change my original plan of action to fit the situation, which helped me to build on my ability to be flexible in situations. It is very important to keep an open mind and always be prepared and open to new things.

 

Mandeep Kaur Ballagan, Summer 2016 Participant
Time management is super important. You will taking class and teaching/observing at the same time. There is quite a lot of work and it is super important to stay on top of it and manage your time well.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
Be prepared to work hard and in return get one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
Sacrifice time to get to know the students and the teachers. You are going to be very busy during this practicum and there are going to be a lot of things to see and do, but at the end of the day, it's the people that you meet that really count. If I could go back and do it again, I would definitely spend more time getting to know the people at Kyunghwa. It would have been worth a few later nights working on homework to know the people better.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
One skill I acquired through this program that I didn't expect to was flexibility. Because this is such a new program, there were some unexpected changes, and future students should be prepared to be flexible.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
If you are planning on going on this trip make sure to develop a strong stomach before leaving for this trip. Some of the school food is not likely to sit well with the American palate.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
On this trip, it would be really wise to get ahead on some of the readings if possible and get an idea of what sort of lesson themes or topics you would want to teach. Also, keep in mind that the group nature of this program means that strong communication is important, so communicate with your classmates at the appropriate times.

 

Kaitlin Krause, Summer 2017 Participant
Two classes is a lot of work. Be prepared to read and write a lot! However, it's nothing you can't handle if you prepare and do things in increments. It's difficult, but completely doable.

 

Hazara Leon, Summer 2017 Participant
You really do learn how to balance work and school. As a college student this is a very valuable skill for learning to manage your life during your four years of college. Another great skill that you acquire is building connections. As you immerse yourself in the culture you begin to build friendships with your peers, students, Kyunghwa teachers, and even the people in the community.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Manage your time well. Go into the program knowing that there is a significant amount of work to complete, but that this work is definitely doable if you commit yourself. Additionally, communicate with the other members of your practicum, as good relationship with them is key to your success as a student teacher at Kyunghwa. The most important thing I found, however, is the importance of embracing new cultural experiences - try new food, step out of your native language, make conversation, take the subway to new places on the weekends - reaching out of your comfort zone is what will truly make this experience memorable.

 

Aiyana Lynn Moyer, Summer 2017 Participant
Although it may be obvious to some, I learned over the course of this program that it would be in one's best interest to enter into a study abroad program with very few expectations about what the culture may be like. Of course, prior research is necessary to prepare oneself for going abroad, but basing one's actions and opinions of a culture off of what he or she may have read online is dangerous and, at times, damaging to oneself and those around him or her. It is absolutely necessary to go into a study abroad program ready for what one knows for certain, such as coursework, but with an open mind and accepting attitude about everything else.

 

Tessa Renee Newberry, Summer 2017 Participant
This program is really unique. It's a chance to not only challenge yourself as a teacher, but also as a person. The program is a good blend of cultural exposure with a strong support system. If you come into this program with an open mind and a willingness to be understanding and communicative, you'll have a great time and come out better for it. I learned a lot about myself and Korea. The culture shocks come in unexpected areas and it takes a conscious effort to be willing to accept them. I found this helpful for my intracultural relationships also though. I think it teaches a lot of patience and willingness to make an effort in differences.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I learned that flexibility is key, when you can't change your circumstances - change your attitude.