Week 2 & 3: End of Quarantine and School Placement
Hello everyone! I have just completed Week 3 of orientation! Week 2 wasn't all that exciting, just more of the same Week 1 stuff. More Korean language classes and more workshop meeting. I also had my first Korean test which went well but otherwise it was pretty boring. But at the end of Week 2, I did get tested for Covid on 1/23/2021 so that I could be released from quarantine. On testing day, we were driven to a testing clinic and had a throat and nose swab. Thankfully, my test came back negative and on 1/24/2021, I was able to move out of the quarantine dorms and into the non-quarantine dorms which somehow is much nicer then the quarantine dorms. There isn't a bunkbed so no more bruised knees/shins for me! Being out of quarantine has been so nice. Even though there is still a lot of restrictions of what we can and cannot do, there is a lot of freedom. I'm able to go out for a run or take a stroll into town which has been so nice. It does feel like I am in South Korea now since my views are more then just my room.
In our new dorms, some of the things they have been doing for Covid safety is that we get our temperature checks everyday. After our daily temperature checks, we are given this sticker that we have to have in order to enter any of the University buildings. If we don't have the sticker, we can't enter any building which means we can't attend our in-person Korean classes. We also have to wear our mask anytime we leave our rooms. Even if we are outdoors walking to and from class or walking into town. There is also a four person limit. If we go into any restaurant/cafe or shop, we can only go in a group with a max of 4 people and any establishment is allowed to refuse service to us if they think we are not following Covid regulations. This is why South Korea has been able to keep their Covid numbers so low and I really do appreciate everything they have done for the safety of everyone.
Week 3 has also been exciting because I found out where I was placed! I am happy to say that I was placed at two public co-ed elementary schools in Gyeongsan city. One of the schools is super small so most likely I will only be teaching at the smaller school 1-2 times weekly. Gyeongsan is about 30 minutes away from Daegu which is one of the bigger cities in South Korea. I don't know much about Gyeongsan yet but I think I will really enjoy it. I did look at some of the imagines and it looks very pretty and scenic. I also had my first teaching practicum, this practicum was given online so that we would be prepared to teach online if that ends up happening and I think overall, the practicum went well. My group was really fun and funny because we had to act the age of the students that we were assigned to. Overall, my time in South Korea has been filled with Korean classes and teaching workshops. It has been great so far and I'm excited for when I go to my placement city. I don't have any information on my housing and probably won't find out until the end of orientation.
Here are some short videos of it snowing. Yes, that is a man using a leaf blower to blow snow off of the sidewalks.