The national EPIK orientation ended last Friday, and we boarded a bus for Gangwon province. When we got there, we learned that our city placement had changed. Instead of Donghae, we were placed in Gangneung, a larger city 30-40 minutes north (but still on the coast). We sat through another graduation ceremony, and were immediately whisked away by our Korean co-teachers, Mr. Kim and Mrs. Lee. We learned that we will both be teaching at Gangneung middle school, an all-boys school.
We spent two nights in a hotel while the current EPIK teacher vacated the apartment. We moved in on Sunday, and the place was still trashed. The former teacher, Paul, was gross. We managed to get things cleaned up a bit, and we got (mostly) moved in. The apartment is pretty nice. 3 bedrooms, with a screened-in balcony. More than enough space for us.
We started teaching on Monday. We were supposed to observe for a day, but both Erin and I just got thrown into the mix. I’ll write more about teaching later. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think I can manage.
The immigration requirements are still a hassle. We went to the hospital for HIV and drug testing today. They’ll be ready on Friday, but we’re supposed to leave early Friday morning and go to the immigration office in another city. Except the immigration office needs the medical test results. Pain in the ass. Once we get to the immigration office, we’ll have to apply for an Alien Registration Card (ARC), which will tie up our passports for 1-2 weeks. We can’t open a bank account until will the get the ARC. And we can’t get paid until we open a bank account.
Also frustrating: We learned today that the cost of the hotel will be deducted from the $300 settlement allowance coming to each of us. Hopefully it won’t be too expensive. They asked if we wanted to stay by the beach or in the city. I sure wouldn’t have said by the beach if I knew I was paying for it.
On a more positive note, we’re going on a class hiking trip tomorrow. I would have done it for nothing, but we actually get paid extra for it. I’m also getting paid extra for teaching at the elementary school once a week, and for an extra credit class that I’m teaching by myself.