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There : Recap of Camps and Moving

Recap of Camps

The camp circuit is coming to a close, and I am both sad and happy to see it go.
Happy, because I need the rest, and the time to learn Korean.
Sad, because I will miss seeing the students, both Middle Schoolers and College Kids. I’ll still be able to see them, but in a much different capacity and lower frequency than before.

The camps were generally frantic and under planned. This might be the nature of the beast. The camps have to be adaptive to keep the students interested and entertained, and to address them on their current level. That necessitates daily or nightly meetings to finalize, or sometimes revise, plans and activities for that day or the next. This makes for a harried pace where the end is almost always in focus and control seems to be almost out of reach.

The camps were generally fun. Though they were primarily educational, the camps seemed to focus a lot of energy, for both age levels, n making it fun. There are two good reasons for this. One is that the camps are during summer vacation and the students deserve some kind of reparations for that. The other is that people seem to learn better when they are having fun. Laughter is the quickest way to engage someone, and as long as you can entertain them and hold their respect at the same time, you should be able to run a successful program.

The camps were well supported. Sunlin College went out of their way to make the camps happen, and to make sure they went well. This fact was supported by several people involved in other camps mentioning how much Sunlin’s staff was doing for the camp. I’m not talking about councilors, or even the director, but the administration, from President Chun down to Mr. Ha. I think the people involved in the camps were some of the best hosts around.

The camps were successful. The college class saw a significant improvement in speaking, confidence and writing. The middle schoolers may have seen less of an improvement, but it was reportedly better than even some of the best English camps in Korea. Even if that was just sycophancy, there was notable improvement. Mostly the camps seem to greatly improve confidence. This might seem like a small thing, but after years of being taught English in schools, most of these kids have had little to no real chance to use the language. And anyone who has tried to learn a new language can tell you that the best way to learn it and improve it is to use it. Preferably with a native speaker. We made sure the kids had plenty of chance to talk to us, and by the end of the camp, they were talking much better with us, and even talking in English outside of supervision. When that happens, it marks a major milestone towards a successful camp.

The camps were worth doing, for me and the students, and hopefully for Sunlin. I can’t tell you what everyone got out of it, but I know I made some good friends, saw some cool stuff, learned a lot myself, and helped some students learn and enjoy English. I also helped expose them to actual American culture (which is often misrepresented) and I learned how to be a better teacher, and a better friend to my foreign friends. I won’t say that going to Korea and teaching English is for everyone. It’s not. Some people who do it shouldn’t. It requires personal sacrifice, an open mind and a willingness to learn and try new things. If those things describe you, then it would probably be a great experience.

Moved In

I moved to another dormitory building today. This one will be my home until December. The building is a bit nicer, but less convenient. The room is a bit nicer, but smaller. It’s on the 3rd floor instead of the 5th. The water cooler doesn’t work right now, and neither does the Internet.

I ate BoShingTon again last night. It was wonderful. To Kathy in Lawrence, I named my dog soup fluffy. I think it was a Pomeranian.

Categories: Being There
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