Over the past few years there has been an extraordinary demand for English speaking, college-educated men and women to leave their countries and move abroad to teach their language to young students. Many recent college grads or upper-class university students jump at the opportunity to become expatriates in countries like China, UAE, and Korea. In fact, learning to speak English is one of the core classes required in South Korean public and private schools. Although Asian countries in particular cling to their unique culture, they also realize that English is important for furthering education and preparing the youth for success in others parts of the world. In Seongdong-gu, the governmental leaders have taken advocacy for learning English to another level.
The ‘Seongdong-gu Global English House’ (Henceforth, GEH) opened in 2013 and was created to be a safe and fun place for middle and high school students to receive additional training in the English language. There, the students not only learn grammar and conversational lessons, they also have art, history, science and music exposure with an American or Western flair.
At the GEH there are live-in American instructors who reinforce English fundamentals already taught in Korean schools. The students are encouraged and expected to speak as much English as possible in order to strengthen their language skill.
Students from all over the Seongdong district compete for the opportunity to participate in the Global English House. For some, it’s literally a home away from home as there are guest rooms available for students to sleep and live for a short amount of time as well as a full kitchen for meals and snacks. In addition, when students plan to stay in the guest rooms, there is always an adult on duty to assist in any way. The GEH in conjunction with the Seongdong-gu office takes their lessons outside of the normal classroom routine as well. I’ve personally had the opportunity to teach a lesson on social media marketing and sit in on the office’s annual speech contest. Both have further proven the importance of all areas education not only in the minds of the teachers but for the students as well. The GEH has major plans for the future and I for one, am excited for what’s to come!