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Welcome to Expacked (Issue #96)

November 27, 2010

Well, at least that week is over!  Its been a tough week for most as tensions between the two Koreas are at their highest level since the Korea war.  We all hope things start to settle down again and that the nation can get back to what they love the most… education!

It is highly unlikely that anything else will happen, however it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared and everyone should update your contact details with your respective embassies.  Although written earlier this year, Chris in South Korea has a great article called “Life in Korea: Emergency evacuation plans from South Korea”.  This article has some good tips and it also includes the contact details for all our embassies in Korea.

Its been a bad week, so I though everyone would enjoy the following video:

Here are the teaching related stories this week:

Feel free to comment on any of these stories and continue to share Expacked with your friends. Enjoy the read and, of course, have a good laugh at this week’s joke.



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South Korea buries marines killed by N Korea attack

South Korea has held funerals for the two marines killed when North Korea fired artillery shells at the South’s Yeonpyeong island earlier this week. It comes as the US calls on China to do more to increase its pressure on Pyongyang to prevent further incidents.

At least four South Koreans died in the incident – one of the worst clashes since the end of the Korean War.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: BBC News)

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Students decry poor test management

This year’s College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) for university entrance held on Nov. 18 angered many applicants, who claim the critical exams were marred by a series of mismanagement by the authorities. Complaints from students range from malfunctioning propelling pencils to serious flaws in test questions.

Students are calling it the “worst test ever,” while the government is looking into their complaints.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Changing the image of English teachers

[Update: The KT has another article about Korea’s first Indian English teacher here (via Brian).]Mask

The Korea Herald has an article about ATEK and its desire to change the image of English teachers. The Korea Times also has an article about wanting to change the image of English teachers:

For many Koreans, English is a language that only those from Western countries can teach. However, a small private school in North Jeolla Province has challenged this prejudice by inviting the first-ever Indian English teacher here last September.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Gusts of Popular Feeling)

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I try to create positive energy in classroom

Abby Thomas noted that Indian teachers are competitive and as qualified as current native English teachers. “India was a British colony and English is almost our first language. Most educated people in India understand English and use standard English. (Many) English teachers from overseas in Korea are just English speakers, not teachers,” Thomas said.

“Americans might better speak English and pronunciation is better (than us). Our English sounds difficult and harder to understand. But, we are top-level and certified teachers. Many of us are tri-lingual, speaking English, Hindi and a local language.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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Talk of public schools phasing out native speaker English teachers

I received a message about this last month via twitter, but until recently hadn’t had any corroboration, though according to active threads on Dave’s ESL Cafe and, schools will drastically cut the number of native speaker English teachers over the next several years. The sources remain, for now, largely Korean coteachers, but, if true, it is a story worth following. The six-page thread on Dave’s ESL Cafe begins in Gyeonggi-do with GEPIK:

A few weeks ago I recall being at a bar when one of my friends mentioned a GEPIK coordinator gave notice that there were massive budget cuts, and all schools in Goyang with more than one teacher would lose half of their budget.

Didn’t hear much about it since then, until yesterday.

Apparently they want to slash the number of NETs in Goyang down to 20 for all elementary schools, as there isn’t a budget for English like there was 2/3 years ago.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Brian in Jeollanam-do)

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Guest post: Holiday shopping tips

This guest post is brought to you by Breda Lund over at the blog Annyeong! With the Christmas / Hannukah / Kwanzaa / winter solstice season coming up, it’s high time to figure out what you’re getting the special people in your life. There are some different ideas here, so read on! Gifts_xmas2

Holiday shopping season started, well, weeks ago. You’re already behind. It’s OK, there’s still time, even if you need to mail stuff overseas. But you better start now! Fortunately, in Seoul it’s easy to find unique, affordable gifts for everyone on your list. But here are some ideas to get you started:

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: Chris in South Korea)

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Foreign worker relocation rules eased

Employers will be able to relocate their foreign workers to various workplaces without prior approval of the Ministry of Justice and long-term foreign residents will be allowed to re-enter the country more easily.

These are part of the government’s moves to make immigration rules friendlier for foreigners, the Ministry of Justice said Sunday. “This is intended to reduce the administrative burden of employers of foreign workers and at the same time to boost the use of foreign workers by domestic firms,” immigration authorities said in a statement.

Under the revised decrees that go into effect from today, companies employing foreigners on E-1 (professorship), E-2 (foreign language instructor), E-3 (researcher), E-4 (technology transfer), E-5 (professional employment) and E-6 (arts and performance) visa types will no longer have to report the relocation of their workers to subsidiaries.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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College entrance fever

The annual college entrance fever has started with last week’s Scholastic Ability Test or “Suneung” across the country. Some 700,000 high-school seniors who took the test will be in an agonizing race to get into the “best” colleges their SAT scores allow.

The usual scenes of Korea’s educational passion were repeated on the exam day. Public and private offices started work one hour late to help ease morning traffic congestion. Police patrol cars and fire engines were used to transport late examinees to their testing places. Churches and temples held day-long prayer sessions for the examinees.

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korean Herald)

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What is Global English?

After writing down my thoughts on what is “Global English?” (The Korea Times, 11/11/2010), I could only imagine some grammarians of English frowning upon this “Global English” phenomenon. However, my efforts remain incomplete if the relevance of “Global English” is not further explained. Sunset

In the last five years, I have been blessed with the opportunities to participate in international conferences that brought me to Europe and Asia. These academic gatherings were attended by around 150 participants from all over the world. The conferees presented scholarly papers, discussed vigorously, chatted eagerly and made friends using “Global English.”

Click Here for the Full Story (Source: The Korea Times)

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EPIK Press Releases: Re-entry permits; Application deadline extended; North Korean bombing

1) Announcement of exemption from re-entry permits

Exemption from re-entry permits will take effect for the convenience of  registered foreigners in Korea from 1 Dec 2010.

Eligible Sojourn Status

  • Diplomacy(A-1), Official Business(A-2), Convention/Agreements(A-3)
  • Cultural Arts(D-1), Student(D-2), Industrial training(D-3), General training(D-4), Journalism(D-5), Religious Affairs(D-6), Supervisory Intra-company transfer(D-7), Corporate Investment(D-8), Trade Management(D-9), Job Seeking(D-10), Professorship(E-1), Foreign language instructor(E-2), Research(E-3), Technological Transfer(E-4), Professional Employment(E-5), Arts & Performance(E-6), Special Occupation(E-7), Non-professional Employment(E-9), Vessel Crew(E-10), Family Visitation(F-1), Residential(F-2), Dependent Family(F-3)
  • Miscellaneous(G-1), Working Holiday(H-1), Working visit(H-2) status


  • The re-entry permit will be exempt for registered foreigners seeking to depart Korea and re-enter within one year.
  • If the period of stay is less than one year, the exemption is valid for the duration of the period of stay.
  • Exemption for the permanent residents(F-5) re-entering Korea will remain valid for two years after their departure date.


  • This exemption may not be applied to the people who are in the prohibited category.

Effective Date

  • From 1. Dec. 2010

For more details, call the Immigration Contact Center (1345)

Source (EPIK)

2) Application Deadline for Apply by Email Extended

Due to increased demands from Provincial/Metropolitan Offices of Education, we will be accepting applications for both National EPIK and EPIK-Seoul positions through the Apply by Email section of our website until:

  • December 15th, 2010 at 6:00 PM Korean Standard Time (KST)

The December 15th deadline is for initial application materials only. That is, you must submit your completed application form and two letters of recommendation (and for EPIK-Seoul applicants your sample lesson plan and attachment form as well) no later than the above-mentioned date and time.

However, if you pass the interview, or if you have already passed an interview, we will still accept your required documents after December 15th. We will continue accepting required documents from successful applicants until all available positions have been filled. As such, applicants are encouraged to gather all of the required documents at their earliest possible convenience.

Source (EPIK)

3) North Korea bombing

Dear Guest English Teachers,

In regard to the North Korean shells dropped on Yeonpyeong Island, which sits two miles from the Northern Limit Line(NLL), the EPIK Office would like to inform that the situation is under control and there has been no more exchange of fire since 16:00, November 23rd, Tuesday.

President Lee ordered the authorities concerned to respond firmly but make the best efforts not to worsen the situation.

The North Korean fire occurred yesterday afternoon during a routine military drill conducted by the South Korean Army, known as the Hoguk exercise, which began on November 22, 2010. North Korea criticized the drill and untruthfully called the drill an invasion. By North Korean provocation, two soldiers died and nineteen people including three civilians were injured.

However, apart from the residents of Yeonpyeong Island, the rest of South Korea is still very safe. All citizens of South Korea are calm and are continuing their normal life as usual.

We, the EPIK Office, will continually update information regarding the current situation and would like to advise you to let your family members at home know that you are safe, and that you manage your daily routine as usual.

Sincerely yours,

The EPIK Team

Source (EPIK)

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This week’s joke: High School Leaver Test

So – think you are smarter than an 18 year old?  Try the New High School Exit Exam – and find out … you only need 4 correct to pass

(Passing requires 4 correct answers)

  1. How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?
  2. Which country makes Panama hats?
  3. From which animal do we get cat gut?
  4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
  5. What is a camel’s hair brush made of?
  6. Where were Texas Longhorn cattle originated?
  7. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
  8. What was King George VI’s first name?
  9. Where is the largest herd of registered Texas Longhorn cattle?
  10. What colour is a purple finch?
  11. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
  12. What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

Remember, you need 4 correct answers to pass.

Check your answers below…


  1. How long did the Hundred Years War last? 116 years
  2. Which country makes Panama hats? Ecuador
  3. From which animal do we get cat gut? Sheep and Horses
  4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution? November
  5. What is a camel’s hair brush made of? Squirrel fur
  6. Where were Texas Longhorn cattle originated? Spain
  7. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal? Dogs
  8. What was King George VI’s first name? Albert
  9. Where is the largest herd of registered Texas Longhorn Cattle? Ohio
  10. What colour is a purple finch ? Crimson
  11. Where are Chinese gooseberries from? New Zealand
  12. What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane? Orange (of course)

Did you fail?  Remember to tell the truth!



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