All posts filed under: EPIK Program

TOP 5 ICE CREAMS FOUND AT KOREAN CONVENIENCE STORES

After I go out for dinner, there’s a likely chance I’ll be making a B-line toward the nearest CU or 7/11 for a frozen sugar fix. In South Korea, ice cream is found at every corner shop and typically under ₩2,000. Options are bountiful, from exotic red bean to addicting classics of chocolate and vanilla. To give you the inside scoop (no pun intended), I’ve rounded my top five South Korean convenience store confectionery treats. 1. Papico I’m a chocolate fanatic, and this one perfectly satisfies my sweet tooth. Take the squishy bottle out of the wrapper and warm it up in your hands to easily eat while on the go. Also, my students can’t get enough of this stuff and I can always catch them devouring it at lunchtime. RATING: 8/10 2. Big Beads Ice – Peach & Kiwi If you’ve ever had Dippin’ Dots, this is essentially the same thing but the dots are bigger, and tastier. The refreshing circle shaped treats melt in your mouth and flavours of peach and kiwi are the perfect tang for your taste buds. RATING: 9/10 3. Vanilla Milkshake If you appreciate a McDonald’s vanilla soft serve, …

BIKE RIDING THROUGH SAMNAK RIVERSIDE

‘Tis the season of getting outside and enjoying the heat, and what better way to ring in the sweet summertime than going for a riverside bike ride. My friend Jake and I made our way to Samnak Ecological Park in Busan and rented a bike for ₩3,000 each. We had to give the rental place a piece of ID, which was returned once we gave back the bikes. I read online that foreigners can rent these bikes for free, but turns out it wasn’t true. No biggie though, ONWARDS WE WENT FOR OUR RIVERSIDE ADVENTURE! We had one hour to ride around the area, which is the largest of the four parks located along the Nakdonggang River. We rode pass a plethora of soccer and baseball fields, camp grounds, and even an inline skating rink. The boys in the picture below enthusiastically said hello as I was passing by and couldn’t help but snap a photo, they were just so darn cute! Peddling along the riverside, I forgot I was still in a city. The leisurely ride was a great …

ULTRA KOREA

Earlier this year I bought tickets to Ultra in Seoul, an EDM music festival that’s waaaaay out of my element. I’m not a rave-all-night type person, let alone having sweaty bodies push and shove me all night, but decided to give it a shot. I attended solo but if I learned anything from that day, it’s that music truly does bring people together. I met lovely ladies while in the entry line and we became instant friends, dancing all night to beats of Alesso, Pendulum, and Steve Angello. Don’t be afraid to tip-toe your way out of your comfort zone and try new experiences. This is a mantra I’ve had ever since I’ve moved to South Korea. I opened my mind to a new crowd, new music, new environment, and I’m so happy I did. Watch all the craziness go down in my Ultra Korea vlog below!

MY EXPERIENCE: MICROBLADED EYEBROWS

I let someone tattoo my face. And it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Having your eyebrows microbladed (semi-permanent tattoo) is a SUPER popular procedure in South Korea. Some of us (like myself) are not blessed with beautiful, symmetrical brows. Mine are naturally thin and sparse and I’ve always been a little self-conscious about them. Waking up with brows already on fleek, as the kids would say, is a total game-changer. I don’t have to spend 10 minutes in the morning trying to match my left brow to the right, which was honestly a daily struggle. In my latest video on Get Up & Go Girl, I show you the ENTIRE process. From the consultation, the procedure, all the way to a one month update. This post was created for EPIK e-Press.

EPIK TEACHER: 3 TIPS FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS WHO’LL VISIT

Since moving to Busan I’ve been fortunate to house lovely guests such as my dad, brother, aunt, uncle, couple cousins, and best friend. They have flown thousands of miles to tour part of the world I’ve called home for 15 months. Through playing host, I have noticed what has helped make their stay a little more comfortable and wanted to share 3 helpful tips for when you start to have guests of your own. 1. Invest in a rockin’ floor mattress  Sleeping on the floor is fairly common in South Korea and floor mattresses are surprisingly pretty comfortable. Look for affordable ones at your local mart, grocery store, or even online shops like Gmarket. Most apartments will have heated floors too, which makes sleeping on the ground not as bad as you think. Basic Bedding, Gmarket, ₩18,900 2. Map out good eats that cater to your guests If your visitors are new to South Korea, they’re likely not used to the local food or have a clue on what to order. My cousin does not eat meat and it helped that I knew a few veggie dishes (bibimbap …

GERMAN VILLAGE & ANCHOVY FESTIVAL IN NAMHAE

On May 3, Buddha’s Birthday, I had the day off from work so I hopped on a bus from Busan and three hours later I was standing on South Korea’s fifth largest island, Namhae. First stop was the German Village, built for Korean-Germans who returned from Germany in the 1960’s where they worked as nurses and minors to earn foreign currency. Now the quaint little houses have turned into cafes, pubs, and restaurants selling German beers and bratwurst. Second stop was The Mijo Anchovy Festival which included bare hand fishing, seafood eating, K-pop performances, and a ton of fireworks. Check out my Namhae vlog to see more of the beautiful island! This post was created for EPIK e-Press.

I’M A RETURNING EPIK TEACHER, HERE ARE 4 THINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT

“I’m only going to stay one year!” At least that’s what I told myself when I moved halfway across the world. Fast forward 365 days. When the moment came where I had to decide whether I should go back to Toronto or re-sign my contract, it only took a millisecond for me to admit, “I’m not ready to go back home.” I’ve been living in Busan, South Korea for a year and two months (!) and as a returning EPIK teacher, here are 4 things that are different this time around: 1. As a picky eater, finding food I like is way easier For the first few months of living in Busan, I struggled to find food I enjoyed. My stomach wasn’t used to the copious amount of spicy sauce on my chicken, sugar on bagels, or salty seafood soups. Now that I’m familiar with the area I live in and have searched high and low for grocery stores that sell my favourite foods and restaurants that serve dishes I love, I feel better knowing that I always have a go-to meal figured …

3 TIPS ON GOING TO THE DENTIST IN SOUTH KOREA

EPIK e-PressI’m not the biggest fan of the dentist, never have been. No part of me fancies sitting in the plastic covered chair looking up at fluorescent lights and having someone pick at my teeth with metal foreign objects. I’ve been putting off a visit for a year (horrible, I know!) so last month I decided to put on my big girl pants and booked an appointment. I’ve never had teeth cleaning done outside of Canada and I wanted to provide a few helpful tips for those who plan on going to the dentist as an EPIK teacher in South Korea. 1. Ask your social circle all the questions The best way to find a dentist, especially an English speaking one, is to ask friends or fellow EPIK teachers. Luckily a friend of mine sent me the email address of her dentist and that’s how I made an appointment. When you go, all you need to bring is your ARC card and bank card. 2. Some procedures are covered under your medical insurance, some are not From my understanding, teeth cleaning and teeth …

EAT KOREAN BBQ WITH ME

Last night I met up with a friend who suggested we go to one of his favourite K-BBQ places for dinner. We made our way to PNU (Pusan National University) in Busan and thought it would be fun to take you along with us on a typical Friday night in SoKo.  Bring on the samgyupsal, banchan, and meakju! 😉 This post was created for EPIK e-Press.

THE 10-STEP KOREAN SKINCARE ROUTINE

There’s a secret behind the luminosity of Koreans and their porcelain skin, and it’s a complex 10-step system. This highly popularized Korean skincare regime is the norm for beauty fanatics, including myself in SoKo. I get asked all of the time about product recommendations and it’s taken a year to finally put together the perfect lineup for my skin type (dry/sensitive). Below is a better understanding of each step and brands I actually love/use to inspire your own Korean skincare quest. STEP 1: Oil-based cleanser NEOGEN Real Fresh Cleansing Stick Green Tea (Olive Young, ₩18,000) First step is massaging a gentle cleanser all over the face. This one from NEOGEN is my favourite because it contains 13 natural oils that breakdown my makeup (including eye area) and green tea to help reduce inflammation. Bonus: It’s travel friendly since it’s a stick, not a liquid. STEP 2: Exfoliation Bamboo Charcoal Peeling Gel (Amazon, $27) I use this chemical exfoliant from Aritaum twice a week and it literally lifts and rolls dead skin from my face, which is kinda gross, but also kinda satisfying. STEP 3: Water-based cleanser Tea …

EPIK TEACHER: WHAT TO WEAR TO WORK

I get asked a lot about EPIK teacher dress code, and the first thing I can tell you is that it’s pretty casual. Business casual, I should say. If you’re planning on teaching in South Korea I have chosen 5 key pieces for both men and women to help inspire your next #OOTD for the classroom. Let’s get started! WOMEN 1. Back to basic A basic tee is a must since bare shoulders and cleavage are a no-no. Tuck the tee into dress pants, skirts, or if you have a teacher dinner after school, simply throw on a statement necklace for added dazzle. Crewneck Tee, $25, Gap. 2. Bundle for warmth Most Korean schools have heating for chilly winter days but some, do not. Sometimes it’s colder in the classroom than it is outside (!!). Keep a blanket scarf over your chair at all times because you’ll never know when you’ll need it. Textured Scarf, ₩49,000, Mango. 3. Culottes are the coolest During warm summer months, skirts and shorts must be an appropriate length (around your knee). If you’re moving around the classroom all day, I find culottes are the comfortable option. …

CO-TEACHING IN SOUTH KOREA

Nancy teacher and I invite you to our English class! In the video below we discuss classroom management, how to get students to participate, lesson planning, the roles we both play, and fun activities (such as mask making!). The lovely students featured are third years (grade 9) and the lesson is called, Amazing Ideas. This post was created for EPIK e-Press.

15 WAYS TO DISTRACT YOURSELF WHEN FEELING HOMESICK IN SOUTH KOREA

Leaving your comfort zone for a long period of time is truly admirable but, while experiencing a variety of cultures is fantastic, it’s not always bunnies and rainbows. There are days I miss hugging mom, ordering a Double Double at Tim Hortons, or seeing snow fall in November. Missing home is normal, and while the only real cure is to feel your way through, I’ve compiled 15 activities you can do to distract yourself to make homesickness a little easier to ride out: 1. Wake up early and go on a hike. When you’re active you release endorphins, and endorphins relieve stress and makes you feel happier. It’s science. 2. Visit a dog café. Cuddling one is optional. 3. Skype your funniest friend or family member. 4. Paint. 5. Volunteer at an orphanage. 6. Watch a funny movie or TV show. 7. Treat yourself to a nice dinner. Perhaps find a place that has comfort food you miss from back home (for me, it’s mozzarella sticks). 8. Call up a friend for a coffee date. Chances are they are …