It was my good friend Hoang Young-Ju who advised me to apply for a teaching position with the Korean Embassy, as he had seen vacancies for teachers in the UK edition of the Korean Herald. I had two interviews and in August '96 found myself flying on the ten-hour flight to Seoul, Kimpo. Once having arrived myself, and others from the flight including Scott, Valerie, Frank and Murdoch were driven down to the Korean National University of Education at Ch'onju. There were 93 of us in total from many different countries, mainly Canadians but there were a few of us Brits. We were part of the KORETTA (Korean Teacher Trainer Assistants) Programme and we were to be in Ch'onju for two weeks and then into our chosen schools.
One unfortunate thing about the Korean way of doing things is that there doesn't seem to be much in the way of planning. Let's look at the figures. My first interview was around April, the Korean Ministry of Education had 'planned' to accept 1000 Native English teachers, by the time I flew out in August there were less than 500 and when I eventually was earmarked for my particular school there was no accomodation prepared. Luckily, my supervisor, Kim Jae-Ho had arranged for me to stay with a Canadian English teacher, Erik Pearson, in Ilsan. Unfortunately I have no photo of Erik, as he's a really nice guy, so above you can see his kitten, 'Friend'. Can you imagine my surprise after noting that Erik's telephone number had the same area code as my friend Moon-Suk's. I'd travelled five thousand miles and been put up in an apartment that was five minute's walk from his.