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On Saturday, October 24 a few friends and I went to the Kimchi Love Festival. We got to see a number of kimchi varieties, techniques in preparation, and ways of displaying the tasty treat for royalty, peasants, and everyone in between. The festival surprised visitors with an international food court where I definitely caught up on much missed curry, samosas, and delicious falafels. Had we done a bit of pre-planning, we would've even been able to take part in making kimchi! After watching a bit of the cultural dances we found the display area where the festival had prepared hundreds of types of kimchi - all labeled and nicely displayed. One exhibit showed every province and how kimchi changes from one to the next. All in all, it was a very successful event. I didn't get to eat as much kimchi as I would've liked, but seeing the different shows and displays, I really enjoyed myself - we even got interviewed twice by camera crews and reporters at the festival. OH! And the air wasn't filled with the pungent odor as everyone might've suspected! -Spencer Lemiesz, Wongok Middle School, ANSAN

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival For the last two weeks of January, you can take part in the ever popular Hwacheon Sancheoneo (Mountain Trout) Ice Festival, in Gangwondo Province. The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival attracts more than 1,000,000 visitors every year due to the variety of the event-packed, fun-filled program such as the creative sled making contest, ice soccer, ATV (all terrain vehicle) on ice, ice hockey, bike skating, bobsleighing, ice tubing, and sledding school for kids. The main event however is catching Sancheoneo (mountain trout) with your bare hands! Once you've caught the fish you can eat it fresh or grill it with a touch of salt right on the spot! Ice sculptures, made by specialists in China, surround the entire festival grounds and are lit up in the evening to create a beautiful unforgettable evening. With all the winter activities imaginable, you'll soon forget about the cold. Everland, Yongin City - Everland Christmas Fantasy 11/6 - 12/27 SNOW buster (Snow sledding) (should bring gloves) Open: beginning of December. No extra ticket needed. If you have a one-day pass to Everland, you get to ride the snow sleds for free! Winter Snow Fantasy Christmas Parade Operating Hours: Sun-Fri 9:30 - 19:00/Sat 9:30-20:00 For more info. Discount tickets can be purchased online, but you will need the help of someone who reads Korean. Seoul Bike Show 2010 December 4-6

Winters in Korea are very brutal! Make sure you stay warm! Aside from the obvious winter essentials, such as gloves, scarves, and ear muffs, here are some extra items you may want to purchase to prepare for the freezing weather: Electronic Heaters - they look like fans and can be purchased at E-mart or Homeplus. Heating pads for your beds - also can be purchased at E-mart. Try not to buy the really cheap ones because they're cheap for a reason (they malfunction easily). Get the ones that you can get with warranties. Also, keep them unplugged when not in use. Heating pads for seats - keeps you warm at your desk. Heat packs - they sell small heat packs at school supply stores , which you can stick in your pockets to keep your hands warms. -Ary Kim

Lesson 1:

Happy New Year! Sae-hae /bok /ma ni

/ba deu sae yo~ (Sae hae = New Year, Bok = Good fortune, Ma ni = many, ba deu sae yo = may you receive) Sae hae bok ma ni ba deu sae yo = May you receive many good fortunes in the new year!

Seoul Independent Film Festival Dec 10-18 CJ Picture Book Festival Thru Dec 24 Korea Foundation Cultural Center Fragrance-Timeless Enchantment Museum Exhibition Thru Jan 15 Ewha Womans University Museum The Last Empress Nov 28 - Dec 27 National Theater of Korea Traditional Korean Narrative Songs -Victoria Oh



Bora Kim

Gunpo/Uiwang (Elementary)

SeoA Park

Gunpo/Uiwang (Secondary)

Rivga Kim Bora Lee * On Maternity Leave



Dini Turner


Iris Bang


Anna Choi


Ary Kim


Jae Mee Kim



Grace Hwang


Victoria Oh


For each Bibimbap issue, we will be featuring a coordinator in order for our GEPIK teachers to get to know them. Through these interviews, we want to show you that while coordinators are hard working and passionate about their work, they are also approachable and that they can be fun too! In this issue, we inter viewed Dain Bae, the head coordinator of GEPIK. Q A

Describe yourself in 3 words Passionate, Sexy and Dain-ish

What cartoon character best describe you? Cinderella - I don't like taking a taxi after midnight. You know that Cinderella transforms after midnight. Q How did you start? A In 2006, I began to teach at a GEPIK Middle school as a 1 year gig, like many of our GEPIK teachers, but I came in through the EPIK program. After 1 year I was going to go back home and attend graduate school and continue my life there. At one orientation I was invited as a guest speaker to talk about what it is like to teach in Korea. So I related my experience. While at the orientation the people organizing it were short staffed so I offered to help out and this left a good impression on them and they offered me a position as second coordinator. I told them I would think about it and as I was I became very curious about the position and the future of the program. Also I realized that I could help the program to grow and that's what I like doing, helping people. Also, many people were saying negative things about GEPIK and I saw that these were opportunities to take the negative and make changes and bring out a positive result. Because of this prospect I decided to take on the challenge as a Coordinator. Q What is one thing one MUST absolutely do or try while in Korea? A If you want to get a lot out of this experience of coming to Korea then you need to see as much of the country as possible. Try to immerse yourself in the culture and you will find out a lot of interesting things and have a more fulfilling time. You will not be able to not fully understand the people and their way of doing things if you are not an open minded individual. Bear in mind things are different but that is the exciting part. Q Any advice/suggestions to GEPIK teachers? A I believe that for some of you, Korea might be the first foreign country that you've ever lived in. Sometimes it is hard to understand the Korean culture if you've never experienced an Asian culture before. Of course if you immediately understood Korean culture it would be much easier but this is not the case. The Korean culture is very different form the Western culture and you will experience many cultural clashes but if you are open minded and understand that it will be different from the beginning it will make your life less hard. I hope you have a great time while you are teaching in Korea. Try to be optimistic. - Jaemee Kim & Ary Kim Q A

December 25 : Christmas Day January 1 : New Year's Feb 15 : Lunar New Year's NOTE. Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are considered normal working days in Korea

My name is Thuy Le and I am from Atlanta, GA, USA. I have been a GEPIK teacher since June. Being an overseas teacher has been both a privilege and a trial at times, but this experience is something I wouldn t ever trade. The language barrier was what frustrated me most at first. I took for granted all the little things that natives instantly read, like street signs and the names of businesses. Asking for information became a somewhat comical mime-act and was a frustrating, time-consuming chore. However, with a lot of patience, a little tutoring in Korean, and doing some online research before heading out anywhere, I overcame my fear of venturing out in public. I've found that it's always helpful to be polite and inquisitive, especially with your coworkers. Though customs are different here, always remember that your own culture has its own shortcomings and strangeness that others wouldn t understand, either. I owe a lot to the advice of helpful teachers, store clerks, and kind strangers in the street. If you don't know, don't be shy! Take walks starting around the areas that you know. Swap English phrases for Korean lessons with your coworkers. Travel to interesting places with friends from work; they can help you understand the history and context of the places you visit. Learning takes doing. This approach has helped me immensely both as a teacher and in life. The best way to enjoy your time here is to get involved. I think that being here offers a unique opportunity to explore oneself and the world and forge enduring relationships. I have only been here a short while, and already these people and places have made impressions on me that will last a lifetime. - Thuy Le, Younghwa Elementary School, SUWON

Koreans are fascinated with foreigners. Do not be offended when people stare or touch you. They do not mean any harm, and they definitely do not have bad intentions.

Halloween is not widely celebrated or recognized in Korea. In fact, it's not even very popular outside the U.S. However, due to Korea's growing interest of the Western culture, more and more Koreans are starting to celebrate Halloween with the help of many foreigners that have come to live in Korea. Foreigner hot spots, such as Itaewon and Hongdae, are starting to annually host Halloween parties at their bars and clubs, and of course, costumes are highly encouraged at these parties. You will find a wide variety of costumes ranging from typical vampires to Korean ajummas with their permed hairs. You'd be surprised at how creative people can be. As for our GEPIK teachers, many of them also celebrated Halloween this year but not just by partying. Many teachers dressed up in costumes to school and thought of creative ways to introduce Halloween through their lesson plans. Students learned how to trick-or-treat, and one teacher even taught her kids how to make jack-o-lanterns. Halloween is fun for everyone, and many students responded positively and were eager to learn about Halloween. It's definitely a great idea to introduce a part of the Western culture through your lesson plans. So heads up! The next major holiday is Christmas. Do a little research and find ways to introduce how holidays are celebrated in your native countries. Be creative! The students will love it! - Ary Kim

Interested in making Bibimbap yourself? Have a look online for recipes, send in your success (or failed) stories and share your cooking experience! Or, if you are not a keen chef, check out a Bibimbap restaurant and send in your reviews and share your views on Bibimbaps!!

This may by your first winter in Korea, or you have already experienced a couple of times - why not share this experience in the next GEPIK Bibimbap News issue by sending in your photos? The theme will be Winter in Korea and the rest is up to your imagination. There will be a prize for the most voted photo. So get clicking and visiting and send the photos to by February 1st 2010.

In your free time, why not have a look at this It contains useful information such as teaching in Korea, and team teaching. It is also the place to look out for the next issue of GEPIK Bibimbap News. Send us comical episodes of your experiences in Korea! Who knows? You may be featured in the next issue! Comments, suggestions, and anything else you want to share with the GEPIK community? Email our staff at Dain Bae: Chief Editor Ary Kim : Correspondent Grace Hwang : Production Jaemee Kim : Design Victoria Oh : Content & Illustration

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First issue of the GEPIK Bibimbap Newsletter.