Probably the most popular career pursued immediately after graduation by English students is teaching. The Postgraduare Certificate in Education (PCGE) is particularly well-trod. Well, I don’t know much about that. You could do the PCGE. Or you could decide to follow in the footsteps of countless other globetrotters before you and do something different (to the non-globetrotters, that is): teach English in South Korea.
There’s a great demand for native English speaking teachers in East Asia (Japan’s JET Programme, for example, is highly-regarded), and graduates are taken seriously even without a TEFL qualification. These schemes are designed to get graduates settled safely in South Korea where, far from being abandoned, they are helped at every step of the way to work in a Korean elementary, middle, or high school. English graduates can put their eloquence to the test while learning Korean on the side — a skill that will spice up the CV like a hot injection of kimchi to the armpit.
Think Korean’s too hard for you? Wrong. It’s too hard for me, and I’m still learning it. As proof, here’s an introduction to the wonderful Korean language.
Richard’s Korean 101
The Korean alphabet is called hangul and consists of 24 letters, each representing a sound. These letters are crammed together into squares, five letters max, to make syllables. A square can be a word, and more squares make longer words. It’s kind of like Lego. Bear in mind these squares are mental rather than literal; you don’t draw a square around every syllable you write.
It’s a very logical language which was devised in the 15th century under the orders of the irrepressible King Sejong, and it used to coexist with Chinese characters that are thankfully (for those of us who want an easy ride) now being phased out. Korean sentences are nowadays written left to right and horizontally, unlike Japanese, say, although they can be stacked vertically too.
Korean numbers are fairly straightforward, but complicated by the fact that there are two sets: Korean numbers for items and ages but not beyond a hundred, and Sino-Korean numbers for things like money, dates, and for counting beyond a hundred. This is quite daunting, but it has to be dealt with. When I say they’re otherwise fairly straightforward, I’m not really exaggerating: for the Sino-Korean twenty-one, you literally say something that translates to ‘two ten one’. Not bad.
The friendly-but-not-over-friendly ‘hello’ in Korean is annyeonghaseyo (안녕하세요), and there are two different forms of ‘goodbye’ depending on the situation: annyeonghi gyeseyo (안녕히 계세요) is what you say when you’re leaving, and annyeonghi gaseyo (안녕히 가세요 ) when they’re leaving. ‘Thank you’ is kamsahamnida (감사합니다).
That’s enough for today. Thanks for playing.
Uh, next week, back to English. I’m not qualified for this stuff.