Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Elementary school visit

Today we visited an elementary school in Wonju to see what it was like. The current GIK showed us her classroom. She was really lucky and the school built a mini-English Village just for her. They had combined the space that was originally two classrooms and had converted one half into lots of little English "corners" (restaurant, movie theatre, home, store, hospital) that had clearly had spent a lot of time spent on them. it was amazing. there were signs on everything and all the corners really looked like AUTHENTIC american places.

the other half of the classroom had tables with chairs, a smartboard (touchscreen projector screen), and it was more like the academic half of the room. the school had SUCh an emphasis on english and it made me think that a lot of other schools would have at least the same enthusiasm if not the same resources as this school. it's really weird for me to see korean schools (and knowing that other countries are doing the same) put such an emphasis on english. it's a little like, umm well have pride in your own culture and country and put half that enthusiasm into those efforts. but at the same time i know korea is doing this so that it's citizens/economy can become more competitive.

on that note, i felt really lucky to be bilingual/bicultural and have access to both korean and english (not just the language, but the whole community that opens up for me). i felt so lucky and blessed to have been born in america, and have learned english somewhat effortlessly, or at least with much less difficulty. i also feel lucky when i see the GIKs in beginner korean struggling with the new language and alphabet and culture all at once.

at the same time i feel a social responsibility to really represent the best of both my worlds and that i am always being judged by americans and koreans AS BOTH an american and a korean. i have two (for the most part) separate scales and measures to live by and live up to. maybe i just think too much and take this all too seriously but i really feel a burden(?) to be a good american and a good korean.

sometimes those two things come into conflict and that's when i get confused and, i guess, grow. one of the first times this was put into STARK contrast for me was in the world cup whenever it was us vs. korea. also the whole apollo anton ono thing. usually i'm on korea's side i've found. maybe it's just becuase korea is usually the underdog. but also, there is a part of me that feels loyal to korea (regardless of the fact that i've never lived here or anything until now). and there is also a part of me that feels an intense need to defend korea a lot more than i do america. there really is a "jung" in korea that i most likely don't think i feel for america. although that's where i live and have citizenship and was born and everything. i'm sure i'll delve more into this later.

also, mental note: write about reunification and NK and july/students' drawings.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

YOU are crazy!
ps. i miss you