Hello! It’s been awhile, but I am finally kind of settled in. I just completed orientation and am now sitting in my apartment in Busan. This past week was crazy busy with a lot of information, so I am going to use this post to inform others, but also process everything for myself.
This year, EPIK orientation lasted eight days with the first and last day focused on arriving and leaving.
The first day we needed to be on the EPIK shuttle by 2:00 PM to reach the university where orientation was being held. Orientation was broken into two teams (1 and 2) with Team 1 starting on the 19th and Team 2 starting on the 20th. However, even though we were broken into two teams, all of us were going to Konkuk University Glocal Campus. This meant almost 700 EPIK teachers on one smallish campus. Ugh.
When we (Team 1) arrived on campus, we registered, received the key to our dorm room (roommates were chosen by randomly picking keys), and attended a class meeting. There were ten classes and they were broken down into placement. For example, there was a class for people going to Daejeon, four (?) classes for people going to Busan, etc.
Starting from day 2, we had lectures. These lectures covered various topics from Lesson Planing, Korean History & Culture, to Storytelling, and Learning Taekkyeon. These lectures (along with others) were attended on days 2-4 and 6. In the morning on day 3 we had the medical exam, day 5 we had a field trip (which I will make another post about), day 7 we presented our lesson plan demos and met with our MOE/POE, and on day 8 we left to meet our co-teachers and find our apartments and schools.
Overall the lectures were interesting and helpful. I think they found very personable lecturers which made what they were talking about more fun. My main complaint was that there were many lectures and they were back to back everyday. this made for long days. Our longest break during the day was for lunch.
The medical exam wasn’t a big deal. We were not allowed to eat after 10 PM the night before and no drinking after midnight. My class (because we were Class 2) had our exam early in the morning (7:10!). They check your height and weight, vision, blood pressure, hearing, blood, urine, and take an x-ray.
They provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they provided a lot of food for each meal. I never felt hungry, even if there was one thing i was not a huge fan of. It usually ended up being a side dish. It was a great way to try different Korean foods and get a sense of what we like and dislike.
Our lesson demo presentation was done in pairs, and in some cases, groups of three. You had 15 minutes to present a 40 minute lesson to a group of your peers and a lecturer. It was not as stressful as some were making it out to be, I think. It was a good opportunity to get feedback from someone who knows what they are doing.
Overall, I enjoyed orientation. I met so many people and made friends with others going to Busan so I knew I would not be alone. It was a good way to ease into being in a new country. While we were thrown into things, we were not thrown into working. It felt like a quicker version of college with classes and dorm living again. Sometimes it went by too fast and sometimes it dragged, but I do think it was an amazing experience and I am thankful for the people I met and the EPIK staff for putting it on.