Interview With EFL Blogger Gdog Of The Daily Kimchi
For anyone who doesn’t know, one of the blogs I’ve been following since back in the day (meaning, since about August 2006 or so) is the Daily Kimchi. At the Daily Kimchi, you can learn all you need to know about working, living, and eating in Korea – including Korean fashion! – and now here at the TEFL Logue you can get the dirt on Gdog, the brain behind the kimchi.
I asked Gdog about a number of topics which I think he is rather uniquely qualified to speak on…here are some of his answers.
First and foremost, he is spending all day teaching kids, which is not an easy task! What advice does he have for others?
“I would say try to maintain positive energy. If the kids see that you are interested in the material you are teaching, they will cling onto you like static. The hardest part is working long hours during the intensives. Nine hours of teaching and constantly being “on stage” takes a toll on your body.”
What’s the best part?
“…getting to know my individual students. They are truly interesting and good people. Once you build that rapport and trust, teaching will be much easier and students will respect you more.”
Another thing that stood out to me is that Gdog went to Korea as part of a couple. He points out in his advice on Korea section that this is not uncommon at all, and in fact many schools are happy to accommodate couples because it makes the teachers’ stay easier and teachers are less likely to develop culture shock or homesickness.
How to work this to your advantage? “…do some research and ask lots of questions. There are lots of companies out there that accommodate for couples–you just need to seek them out. We were able to negotiate for a larger bed and a bigger place.” However, you should also “…get used to living in a “box”…spending lots of time together is not a problem for us!” says Gdog.
Anyone familiar with the Daily Kimchi will also notice that Gdog takes the time and makes the effort to appreciate the local culture. How does he balance work and play?
“Well, when I discover something that interests me, or if Devante sees something she wants to check out, we just do it. Remember, one year will pass by extremely quickly and the weekends are a rare golden time. So you just have to set a date and do what you want to do!” On a related note, “remember to keep an open mind towards the culture. This is not your country and people will not mold to you. Learn the language, read up on Korea’s history before you come…Try to avoid people who are negative and pessimistic about life in Korea. Honestly, some people really like to “hate” on Korea. Why are they here? Ignore them and enjoy the country for what it is!” Good advice in any situation.
Read on to Part 2 and get Gdog’s tips on both Korea and blogging for cash as well as a heads up on his future plans. *This isn’t really Gdog, though it is the picture on his blog profile; the dog belongs to Devante, Gdog’s girlfriend.