Saturday, October 14, 2006

trip [within] the land of morning calm

For our first Fulbright conference, 63 brand new ETAs, 10 mid-grant year elementary ETAs, 7 extendees, and the Fulbright office gathered in the city of Gyeongju. Over three days, we had large group presentations on homestays, teaching strategies, and school relationships, a lecture from the State Department's Something-Something Language Fellow, a lecture from the embassy, and lots of small group discussions on various topics (lesson planning, classroom management, coteacher relationships, etc). I got some really good ideas that I'm excited to try out on my kids and really liked listening to other ETAs talk about their experiences. We are all in such different situations, and everyone is full of crazy and interesting stories. Gyeongju was the capital of Korea's Silla dynasty, and overflows with famous sites, so we also did some very hectic sightseeing, packing 7 or 8 of Gyeongju's most famous sites into one day. This was exhausting but we got to see some really beautiful and impressive stuff. My favorites were Bulguksa, a Buddhist temple (obvi), and a traditional Silla dynasty pottery demonstration.

It was so exciting and wonderful to be with all the ETAs again and to get to speak English freely that we all just chattered endlessly to one another, staying up really late every night of the conference even though we had to get up early in the mornings.

We also ate lots of brownies and triscuits and cheese.

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