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Before leaving to teach overseas in South Korea, where I would end up living and teaching for three years, I never considered the types of critters I would encounter. My most immediate thoughts revolved around my visa paperwork, adjusting to the new culture and what my new job and apartment would be like.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.” – Pericles

Will our isolation increase through the infinite freedom of information and ubiquity of the Internet? Longer summers and lesser days / school year are the remains of the US agrarian economy, when planting picking and harvesting took place in a greater number of homesteads than today. US schools continue to have fewer days... and if well charted and scheduled, this freedom fosters creativity.

You, the ascetic, went all that way for a change of scene, perhaps to the desert, perhaps to the hinterlands covered in snow, perhaps amidst a people whose language seemed obscure, strange, but alluring. Enchanté? Oui.

While teaching in South Korea, my husband and I were lucky enough to enjoy some amazing vacations to other nearby countries during our three-year stay abroad. We had two weeks off of teaching one summer, and with our July anniversary approaching, decided to celebrate by leaving Korea and exploring another country.

These are 10 conversation starters that I use in my own classes and which will help you get your students talking. They work well for a “warm-up” at the beginning of a conversation or speaking class if you don’t want to launch right away into serious teaching.

Let’s just say, when I sat down to write this article, the memories flowed out of me. Little did I know, before moving to Asia that I would need a crash course on using the bathroom. I kinda thought I learned everything I needed to know about poop as a child; but I also had no idea I would live in Asia someday, either.

I made sure to designate this article as ‘rural Korea’ since I have not had the experience of living in Seoul, Busan, Gwanju or other major cities where the attitude is less conservative and traditional. These are things that may indeed happen while living in Seoul, however, I don’t have any way of knowing.

I’m a list person. I make ‘to-do’ lists constantly. My week to week lists consist of smaller necessary chores, but there is always a larger list of things I want to do or accomplish floating around in my mind for a far off future date. I guess I would separate my lists into ‘immediate’ and ‘long term’—somewhere between a normal ‘to do’ list and a bucket list.


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