Utilizing Regional Alumni Facebook Groups

April 19th, 2017

FKAR is happy to announce the creation of the Regional Alumni Facebook Groups! 7 groups have been created in cities with heavily populated program alumni. These groups are meant for you to easily connect, network, and share relevant information with the Fulbright Korea community in your area.

Below, you can find the group closest to your current residence and become a member. FKAR is planning to create more groups in the future, so hold tight as we work through this “beta phase”.

Program Alumni in Atlanta

Program Alumni in Boston/NYC

Program Alumni in Chicago

Program Alumni in DC

Program Alumni in Houston

Program Alumni in Korea

Program Alumni in San Francisco

Don’t see your city? If you are interested in creating a Regional Alumni Group in your area, please contact FKAR for more information on how to get started!

Past and Present: Our Favorite Korean Words

October 21st, 2016

We asked, and you answered! What are some of your favorite Korean words? Many of you said that some were fun to say or sounded cute. Other reasons were because they were useful or were important in your daily life. Some people were just pure sentimental. Here’s the list (in no particular order):

  • 쌤 – Teacher
  • 왜 – Why?
  • 친구 – Friend
  • 바스대다 – Move about restlessly
  • 아이고 – Aigo
  • 조영해요 – Quiet
  • 화이팅 – Fighting! Good luck!
  • 행쇼 – Be happy
  • 아마도 – Maybe
  • 살살 – Softly, gently
  • 여유로움 – Composure
  • 짝꿍 – Pair
  • 귀요미 – Cutie Pie
  • 해바라기 – Sunflower
  • 두군두군 – The “thump” of a beating heart
  • 무궁화 – Mugunghwa
  • 어울려요 – It suits you
  • 애매모호 – Ambiguous
  • 멘붕 – Mental breakdown
  • 심 – Heart, mind
  • 소맥 – Soju + beer
  • 노래방 – Karaoke room
  • 환희 – Joy
  • 휘파람 – Whistle
  • 여기저기 – Here and there
  • 반짝반짝 – twinkle twinkle
  • 고소하다 – It serves you right
  • 꼬부기 – Squirtle the Pokemon
  • 천천히 – Slow down!
  • 코끼리 – Elephant
  • 나비 – Butterfly
  • 목소리예 – Voice
  • 옷 – Clothes
  • 복숭아 – Peach
  • 도토리 – Acorn
  • 인연 – Tie, connection
  • 예지 – Foresight
  • 일기예보 – Weather forecast
  • 싱숭생숭 – Fidgety
  • 비올필 – Feels like it will rain
  • 배 – Stomach, boat, pear
  • 쓰담쓰담 – Motion of comforting someone
  • 에이 – Yeah, right!
  • 어머나 세상에! – Oh my gosh!
  • 진짜 – Really!?
  • 정말로 – Really!?
  • 갈비 – Galbi (beef ribs)
  • 여보세요? – Hello? (phone all)
  • 과자 – Snack
  • 제주어 – The language of Jeju Island
  • 여덟 – Eight
  • 그렇치 – Right! (good job)
  • 두리번거리다 – To look around
  • 몰라 – Don’t know/understand
  • 찍지마 – Don’t take
  • 유유상종 – Birds of a feather flock together.
  • 악어 – Crocodile
  • 고구마 – Sweet potato


Grant Year Kickstart: Overview of Fulbright Korea Award Types

October 21st, 2016

The Fulbright Korea Program for the 2016-2017 grant year is officially underway, welcoming 110 English Teaching Assistants, 12 Junior Researchers, and 5 Graduate Study Award grantees. This year’s cohorts competes as the third largest number of grantees in program history, demonstrating Fulbright Korea’s continued acclaim as the “gold standard” within the Fulbright community.

The incoming ETAs completed a six-week orientation from July through mid-August, where they were immersed in Korean-language studies, cultural and teaching workshops, as well as weekend excursions to Seorak Mountain in Sokcho and Seoul. The purpose of this orientation is to prepare the incoming grantees for their future roles as classroom English teachers. The orientation program is led by the Orientation Committee Team, which is comprised of the ETA Program Coordinator as well as five to six previous ETAs who work together to plan and to  execute relevant workshops, and to help assimilate the ETAs into their new environment, among other responsibilities.

2016-2017 ETAs pose with the Fulbright Korea Commission staff.

2016-2017 ETAs pose with the Fulbright Korea Commission staff.

The Junior Researchers and Graduate Study Award grantees begin their program a bit later, typically arriving to South Korea anywhere between mid-August to mid-September. The Junior Researchers are responsible for setting up their own projects with affiliated organizations or universities. They devote nine to twelve months gathering background information, conducting research, and analyzing and sharing results with their peers and colleagues. The Junior Researchers are also required to present at one Fulbright Forum throughout the year, allowing other Fulbright Korea grantees and community members to become briefly introduced to the researchers’ topics.

Graduate Study Awards are offered to academically superior students whose future career objectives would be enhanced by pursuing graduate study at a Korean university. Grantees in this category will enroll in a Master’s or Ph.D. program with the intention of obtaining an advanced degree from a Korean university. The Fulbright Commission provides the grantees with a small monthly stipend in addition to covering board and tuition fees.

As the grant year kicks off for the 2016 grantees, FKAR wishes them the best of luck and encourages them to make the most of their grant year. The FKAR Committee is looking forward to highlighting accomplishments from all areas throughout the year ahead.

FKAF Focus: A Self-Examination of Multicultural Students' School Experiences

October 14th, 2015

Contributed by Matt Goldberg

When talking about my school, Naju Technical High School, co-teachers, community members, and other students would make comments such as “Students just don’t care,” “Your students are dirty,” and “We have bad English.” However, I was determined to challenge this detrimental narrative and encourage students to see themselves beyond societal stereotypes and be proud of who they are.

This vision inspired my community FKAF grant and enabled me to work with students to create cross-cultural communication through photography between my placement school and a local school in the United States, Cummings High School. Through my project, students in South Korea and the United States created self-introductory videos, asked and answered questions about each country, and captured and shared photos in response to the question, “What is important to you?”

The project process was challenging. My students felt overwhelmed at the level of English required and we struggled communicating fully with the U.S. students. Nevertheless, the project enabled my students to delve deeper into understanding who they are as people and what it means to be cultural ambassadors and teachers. Most importantly, the project enabled my students to grow in confidence and be proud of their identities. Ultimately, I was amazed and humbled by the opportunity to see the insides of my students’ minds through the photos taken. This project would not have been possible without the grant money to plan a video viewing party, print pictures, and share the students’ work with the school in a small exhibit.

Mat Goldberg is a 2014-2016 ETA who teaches in Naju, Jeollanam-do.


Getting to Know the Fulbright Office: A Conversation With This Year's Program Coordinator and Executive Assistant

October 14th, 2015

Each year, Fulbright Korea hires a Program Coordinator and Executive Assistant to manage the affairs, events, and wellbeing of ETAs and Researchers. Recently, we were able to sit down with Program Coordinator (PC) Amelea Kim and Executive Assistant (EA) Ben Harris to get to know them better.

FKAR: Tell us about yourself.

Amelea: My name is Amelea Kim, and I’m from Saint Louis, MO. I have a pretty big family (one of five kids), and I went to a small liberal arts college in Ohio and majored in East Asian Studies. While I was there, I got super into libraries, and I want to go to grad school for Library and Information Science. After I graduated, I went to China for two years and taught English at an agricultural university, which was really fun. Then I came to Korea with Fulbright and taught at an elementary school in Hwacheon before becoming the Program Coordinator for this year.

Ben: My name is Ben Harris from Detroit, Michigan, and I’ve lived in Michigan almost my whole life until graduation. I taught at a high school in Korea for a year as a Fulbright ETA before moving to the Seoul Office to be the Executive Assistant. I have two younger brothers. I don’t like cats or fish. I like to run, eat, and play piano.

FKAR: What aspects of this grant year will be different than in previous years?

Amelea: Individually, this year will be quite a change from last year in that it will involve a lot more self-directed work. Compared to last year where I came in and everyone was already in a groove, and I had to adjust to my coworkers’ pace, this year I can go in and set my own pace and goals.

As a program, we are bigger this year (121 ETAs) with a lot of new placement schools. We also have a lot really cool ideas that are developing this year, and organizations that have already been established are expanding out into many placement cities.

FKAR: Can you give us some insight on the Junior Researcher class this year? What are they like (topics, interests, etc.)?

Ben: There are a lot of topics being researched that are really important. Some of the projects this year are based on North Korean issues, disability rights, and the elderly. Overall, the research this year strikes me as incredibly timely and important.

FKAR: How is your role as PC/EA connected with Fulbright Korea alumni (if at all)?

Amelea: Perhaps not so much with alumni, but definitely with the current class. In terms of how I’m connected to FKAR, I definitely see FKAR being a valuable resource throughout the grant year and beyond. I want to aid and encourage in any way that I can, although I don’t know how (laughter). I am here to connect people when I can and help people out with information, and anything else that might be useful.

Ben: Connecting people is very important and useful. In terms of FKAR (what Amelea said), I think this is really important for the community.

FKAR: Is there anything in particular that you would like to see the FKAR Committee expand upon this year?

Amelea: It would be cool if internships or shadowing opportunities were highlighted, such as with people in similar fields or similar interests. Making those connections happen more would be very useful for ETAs, and I think it’s a great opportunity for alumni and current grantees to connect. It’s also great to see people giving back to Fulbright and creating a strong community that others can use to get inspired, get feedback, and get ideas.

Ben: In general, I like to see two main things. First, I like to hear about what alumni are doing, and two, I like to hear about available opportunities. I love it when people post internships or jobs on the alumni Facebook page – even things that I’d never consider applying for. It gives me confidence and makes me feel good to know that there are people in the network who are thinking about and looking out for other people.

FKAR: What do you hope to achieve in terms of progress this grant year?

Amelea: We’re trying to revamp our lesson database and make it better than what it is right now (laughter). That’s something we’re thinking about but is not yet complete. It’s a work in progress!

Ben: A major goal of ours this year is to improve the resources available to grantees to make them more accessible and efficient.

FKAR: How can we better incorporate the researchers into ETA events?

Amelea: Organizing more meet-ups for researchers to go to. Since most of the researchers this year are based in Seoul, it would be cool to do a monthly meet-up where FKAR organizes some sort of event (like laser tag because laser tag is FUN!) and invites a bunch of people to attend. This might be great for forum weekends – people come to the forum, and then do something that night or the next day to all hang out together!

Widespread Changes to Native English Teaching Programs in Korea

May 22nd, 2015

As recent changes in government policy regarding Native English Teachers (NETs) in Korea have resulted in significant NET reductions, the Fulbright program has managed to maintain the size of its program. Because of the Fulbright program’s strong connections with schools and its teachers’ positive reputations, many of the changes effecting other NET programs have been minimized for Fulbright ETAs.

In 1995, several nation-wide and regional English in Korea programs began to promote the use of NETs in Korean classrooms to teach English. In 2011, Korea’s NET program reached its peak with nearly 9,000 NETs in Korea. Major cuts in numbers of foreign teachers have been made in the past few years, especially at the middle and high school levels. These cuts have impacted larger cities the most, and similar cuts are likely to continue over time.