All posts filed under: EPIK Program

ULTRA KOREA

Earlier this year I bought tickets to Ultra in Seoul because I wanted to experience the vibe of an EDM festival. It was totally out of my element but, decided to give it a shot. I attended the festival solo but if I learned anything while there, it’s that music brings people together (so cheesy, but so true). I met lovely ladies while in line and we danced 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, open your arms to new people, and create memories you can look back on and think, “wow, what an unbelievable night.”  Watch all the craziness go down in my Ultra Korea vlog below! This post was created for EPIK e-Press.

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 …

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 …

MY EPIK LIFE

Hello friends, The past nine months have been a whirlwind and I seriously cannot believe South Korea has been my home for that long. From the very beginning I have documented my entire EPIK experience including telling my mother I got the job, moving into my first apartment, eating delicious street food, having fun with my students, baseball games, sunsets, fireworks.. the list goes on and on. In the video below, I have compiled favourite moments from my EPIK life thus far. This entire journey would not have been possible without my grandfather, Georges LeBreton. He’s helped to support everything I’ve ever done including my education, dream of traveling the world, but most importantly, he loved me to the moon and back. Last week, he passed away peacefully. While it saddens me I could not be there to hold his hand, I will have him in my heart wherever I go. With so much love, I dedicate this video him. This post was created for EPIK e-Press.

BIRTHDAY AT EVERLAND

To celebrate turning one year older, I went to the largest theme park in South Korea – Everland! I am going to answer all of your burning WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and WHY questions from the fun-filled day. Let us begin: WHO: Went to Everland with my friend Dev and stayed at an Airbnb in Seoul (Gangnam). We took the 5002 bus, which was luckily just outside our place. The ride was 45 minutes and took us straight to the theme park. The bus is the cheapest form of transportation from Seoul (around ₩2,000), but I advise going as early as possible to avoid standing the entire time, like we did. WHAT: Everland is a magical place that holds the world record for having the steepest wooden roller coaster, T-Express (it has a slope of 77 degrees.. yikes!), and the prettiest gardens I ever did see. WHERE: It is located in the city of Yongin, which is in the province of Gyeonggi-do (same province as Seoul!). WHEN: My birthday is in October so Everland was packed with spooky ghost and pumpkin decorations as …

5 THINGS I LEARNED AT HERA SEOUL FASHION WEEK S/S’17

This season, I had the pleasure of attending Hera Seoul Fashion Week to watch Spring/Summer 2017 collections stomp down the runways at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). I signed up for a press pass a month before, which gave me access to all of the stylish shows. If you’re an EPIK teacher who has a trendy blog or have a kick-ass photography portfolio, you can email the designers individually to potentially receive ticket to their show too! After attending the fashionable affair, here are 5 things I learned: 1. Always be photo ready Outside of DDP are hoards of street style photographers ready to snap a photo of your #OOTD. If you’re anywhere near fashion week, be sure to give ’em your good side and channel your inner Zoolander, blue steel pose. 2. Elbow your way to the front If you have a unassigned seat to a show, it means you’re four or five rows back. Wait until the last couple minutes before the show starts to hear the volunteers say you can move forward. Front row seats will be reserved for magazine editors …