Posted by quirksalight on April 3, 2011
The most common question I get, considering my educational background, is, “How did you go from biomedical engineering to the Foreign Service?”
Convoluted? Yes and no. There’s a bit of history, and the kernels behind all this were placed a long time ago. In high school, I was on the high school debate team and that ignited my interest in politics and international relations. However, I was rather obsessed with science and had dreams of developing a treatment/device that would revolutionize medicine. It wasn’t until grad school, after being burned out of medical research, when I had to start thinking of, “now what?”. My temporary answer was to take a leave of absence for a year and teach English in Korea. That’s one of the earlier points in this blog, back in 2007.
But in Korea, teaching was one thing, but straddling two cultures socially and linguistically was a whole ‘nother beast. Plus, I came to Korea at a political change; for the first time in 10 years, the progressive party was out of office and the conservatives came into power the month I arrived, March 2008. This combined with my background in Korean culture and language, sciences, and interest in politics led to some interesting discussions with the faculty in my middle school, handling getting punched on a subway, acting as a facilitator for my foreign friends in Korea, and occasionally having to explain what the U.S. government was doing to my students, colleagues, and friends.
I really enjoyed that interaction – facilitating the understanding between two cultures, though not so much the getting hit part. Which led me to starting thinking about the Foreign Service. I always planned to go into public service, someday, when I was on the academic track. But I hadn’t thought about it again until when I was in Korea, pondering my next step. So I did – FSOT exam date was November 5, 2008. I got the acceptance in to the QEP in December 2008, decided not to sign a teaching contract for another year, gambling that I would pass the QEP and get to the OA, which I did. So I left Korea, with a freelance editing gig, prepped for the OA and passed on June 15, 2009. A year later, I was prepping to leave DC for my first tour as a POL officer in Seoul. whew! What a whirlwind…
Posted in ancedotes, commentary, election 2008, Graduate school, Korea, New York, school, Science, Seoul, teaching english | Tagged: commentary, Foreign Service, Korea, Teaching english in Korea | 3 Comments »
Posted by quirksalight on February 9, 2009
Last week was the second to last week I’ll be in the classroom. It’s also a great group of students to work with, as this was the “English Camp” and the students are self-selecting… I don’t have to push them, they all WANT to be in school. 🙂 Just awesome…
So I tried to keep things interesting… hence, the last two days, we learned about some simple forensics. What it was, fingerprints and fingerprinting, invisible ink, and ink analysis by paper chromatography.
Black ink on strips of paper
Using alcohol to separate
Paper with ink
Heating the inked strip
Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, education, english, EPIK, fun, Incheon, Korea, school, Science, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: Buheung MS, EPIK, Incheon, Korea, Teaching english in Korea | Leave a Comment »
Posted by quirksalight on November 10, 2008
“Teacher, teacher! In school last…umm…”
(whispers to classmate in Korean “What’s the word for Wednesday?”)
“..ah! Last Wednesday! You, in school last Wednesday?”
I replied, “Nope. I was in Seoul all day.”
Upon hearing this, the two girls get excited and I overhear them saying to one another in Korean,
“See? I told you that was her!”
Then they turn to me and tell me, “Teacher! We see you in the paper. Itaewon, right? Obama party?”
I replied, smiling, “Yes, I was at the Obama party.”
They run off, giggling, and the last thing I hear in Korean is, “Hee, hee… teacher was toasting with alcohol!”
Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Humor, Incheon, Korea, Politics, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: Buheung MS, Humor, Incheon, Korea, Teaching english in Korea, US Presidential Election 2008 | Leave a Comment »
Posted by quirksalight on November 4, 2008
One of my favorite times of the year is Halloween. It’s a bit strange this year, that I’m not celebrating it to the hilt like last year. Why? Well, a bit of fatigue and studying left me a bit less than in my normal Halloween excitement levels.
But my students did help me celebrate by decorating the English Activities room in my school, and carving pumpkins on Halloween day to take home. Here they are with their handiwork:(yes, middle-schoolers utilizing sharp knives at school and not cutting themselves or others! )
The last one is mine, grinning out my apt window.
Posted in Buheung MS, Bupyeong, holidays, Humor, Incheon, Korea, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: Halloween, Korea, Teaching english in Korea | Leave a Comment »
Posted by quirksalight on October 29, 2008
One week from the Foreign Service Officers Exam.
Upside? Studying can include watching the Daily show and the Colbert Report.
Downside? Teaching Middle school FT and coming home to study for several hours after.
Nov 5th, Korea time. 9am-12pm. Then I go to the Orange Tree in Itaewon to catch the last of the US election results, live. 🙂
Posted in 2008 Election, amusing, Colbert Report, Comedy, Daily Show, english, EPIK, Humor, Korea, Politics, teaching english | Tagged: Comedy Central, Foreign Service exam, FSOT, Korea, Teaching english in Korea | Leave a Comment »
Posted by quirksalight on July 28, 2008
Today was the start of my second English camp for this summer. This one is at my school, for the earlier part of the day. 90 mins for 1st grade middle school and 90 mins of second grade middle school. I had my lessons outlined, had my powerpoint, handout, etc, then it went kaput.
First of all, I get to the school, and there’s massive construction going on. I knew they were going to renovate the bathrooms, but there is literally a HUGE hole where all the bathrooms in the main building were. You would be able to be in the 4th floor bathroom and then fall all the way down to the first floor without hitting anything. Yeah. Major.
Then I open up my files, and the printer wasn’t working. I try the next printer, and that wasn’t working either. (Yes, I did turn on the main power strip, checked to see if it was plugged in, etc) So I head to the class without any handouts, thinking that I would be able to show them to the kids on the computer/TV and they would be able to read it. I get to the class, and the computer is broken. kaput. Alright. I’m a flexible teacher, so I get out my chalk pen and start to write. No chalk was coming out. Try a couple other pens, no dice. I go back to the first pen, fiddle with it, and it explodes. Liquid chalk everywhere. After cleaning, I managed to coax out a dribble of chalk, enough to write with.
After my break, I managed to print out some handouts, and I was told that the second classroom had a working computer. Which was great, but I printed out the handouts anyway. It was good that I did, as yes, the computer worked, but the main screen showed everything UPSIDE DOWN. I mean, come on!!! Back to the chalk pens.
Plus, the first class was a LOT weaker then I was told…which did not help. Going from teaching at an English immersion class the day before, it was a weird adjustment.
Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, computers, english, EPIK, Humor, Incheon, Korea, teaching, teaching english, Tech | Tagged: Buheung MS, Bupyeong, Incheon, Korea, Teaching english in Korea, technology | 3 Comments »