Useful Or Not? Foreign English Teachers In Korea

During the last few years, the number of jobs available for foreign English teachers in Korean public schools has significantly decreased. According to an article on The Korean Observer, the number of foreign teachers has dropped from over 9,000 to 6,785 in three years. Meanwhile jobs at hagwons are becoming more competitive between foreigners. The question is whether these cuts are beneficial, or detrimental, for Korean students.

I currently work at a public middle school, but one which is recognised throughout Korea as having an impressive English programme; parents pay fees specifically for foreigners to teach their children. Needless to say foreign teachers are important to the school and their lessons are an important part of students’ timetables. And I think having such a system which incorporates foreign teachers is invaluable.
'¼ö´É Á¡¼ö ¸î Á¡À̾úÁö?'There are a number of reasons why. Firstly, because Korean teachers can focus too much upon English grammar, rather than speaking and writing, so that their students can perform well on tests. I recently read this article on Korea Times, which states that 7 out of 10 middle/high school students are unsatisfied with their English lessons because they’re too ‘test-orientated.’ Of course it’s important for students to score well, but it’s also essential that they can hold a good conversation and write well in English. As such, lessons with foreign teachers, held entirely in English, can greatly help to improve conversational skills.
Secondly, there are some mistakes which Korean teachers make, or don’t pick up on when their students make them. The Korea Times article mentions that some Korean teachers don’t have the English ability to teach well enough; they aren’t re-trained and don’t have their English skills evaluated properly. And while I’m not implying that Korean-English teachers are incompetent, there are errors made, even if they’re tiny ones. Errors that perhaps only native English speakers pick up on and correct. Here are some example of mistakes I hear daily from students (and teachers):

  • The use of stressed/ stressful/ stress: “I feel very stressful” “Homework is very stressed”
  • The word ‘funny’ instead of ‘fun’: “Skiing is very funny” “My vacation was very funny”
  • The word ‘comfortable’ instead of ‘convenient’: “My smart phone is very comfortable”
  • Pronunciation to add ‘ee’ sound on the end of words: “Finishee” “Changee”
  • The word ‘until’ being used instead of ‘at’: “Until 3 pm, you can go home”

Mistakes like these may not stop someone understanding the speaker (apart from the use of the word ‘until’, which has confused me numerous times), but they prevent even the smartest students from speaking perfectly. And for this reason, having a foreign teacher to correct mistakes is extremely beneficial.

south_korea_10_26_01_english_teachersUnderstanding different accents is also important; American/ Canadian teachers are the most popular in Korea, because their accents are easier to understand. As I’m English, the problem with my accent came up when I was interviewed for jobs, and I didn’t think it would be a problem at all when teaching, but I was wrong. Time and time again, students and Korean friends have found my accent difficult to understand. Similarly South African accents, Australian, New Zealand, Irish, Scottish, or Welsh. But it’s important that Koreans can understand English speakers with different accents; what’s the point in speaking English fluently if you travel to Britain but can’t understand anyone? Or if you only understand the Korean-English accent of a Korean teacher.

There are numerous positives of having foreign teachers in public schools. However, there are ways in which I’d agree things can be improved. Mainly, the fact that English lessons taught by foreigners can be seen by students as somewhat of a ‘novelty’ and aren’t taken as seriously as other classes. In my case, foreign teachers aren’t involved in English exams, we give no homework and as for discipline, we don’t have much authority: we can’t speak to parents ourselves, and we don’t have the same respect as the Korean teachers, so any stern-words aren’t taken too seriously.

Moreover, despite the fact that parents pay a lot of money for us to teach their children, we’re constantly told to ‘play games’ and ‘keep the children happy’ rather than have a strict academic lesson. Of course it’s important to have fun, but if foreign teachers taught in the same way as Korean teachers, having tests, giving out homework, and keeping the focus on structured learning, students could learn more.

A number of South Korea students go abroad to study English.
A number of South Korea students go abroad to study English.

Given the benefits, it would be detrimental to students to further decrease the number of foreign teachers. There may still be native English speakers working in hagwons, but not all students attend hagwons, and so some will miss out on valuable teaching. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the most fluent students are those who have travelled to English-speaking countries to learn the language: this alone proves how useful time spent with native-English speakers can help English ability.

No matter how good a Korean-English teacher may be, it’s a bonus for students to interact with, and be taught by, foreigners, and I hope that ten years from now, there’ll still be foreign teachers in Korean public schools.

The Madness That Is Winter Camp


Last Friday was a very good day for me: it was the last day of Winter Camp at school, and the start of a 5 week holiday. So it’s not surprising that I was in a pretty good mood. But, distracting me from my happiness was the horrible feeling of an entirely achey body, eyes which would barely stay open, and a general ill-feeling. Why? Because after 10 days of Winter Camp, I was exhausted.

I know that Winter Camp will be different for all teachers, depending on where you teach, the camp’s programme, and what age group you’re teaching. For the teachers at my school, it’s quite a tough schedule: 5 classes back-to-back, teaching hyperactive and eager students who have just finished their final year at elementary school and are going to join the middle school in March. And the lessons are active: cooking, sports, arts and crafts, games. So despite teaching the same amount of hours in one week as we would during the regular school year, camp is decidedly more hectic and tiring. Oh, and there’s the fact that it’s a huge deal at the school, with an exceedingly long build-up and sole focus on the foreign teachers. No pressure then.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun. I love seeing the fresh, excited new faces. There’s the awkward silence on the first day when none of the students know each other and are too shy to speak. Us foreign teachers are greeted with the same cautious, shy glances that we experienced during the first week of the semester way back in March, as if the students have never seen a Westerner before. But this timidness doesn’t last long, and by the end of the second week (or the second day, in some cases) it has gradually descended into noisy chaos. Which is actually better than the silence, in my opinion.

Winter Camp Nachos
Winter Camp Nachos

Last year, I underestimated how demanding the camp schedule was, despite being warned by my Korean co-teachers. So stupidly, I chose to teach cooking. On the bright side, it was a success: delicious food (well, by the students standards, in which cheese/sugar = heaven), no accidents or fire alarms being set off, and happy students. But it was also messy, stressful, and pure chaos. Students love food, and it was great that they consequently loved my class. However, food brings out the spoilt, whiny side of children like I’ve never seen. “Teacher, my turn.” “Teacher, more cheese.” “Teacher, drink.” “Teacher, now.” Seriously. My classroom was amass with rubbish, dirty plates and cutlery, and leftover food, and I never had time to clean as there was never a break. Needless to say by the end of camp I wanted to go to bed and stay there for the whole winter break.

So this year, cooking was off the cards. Instead, I chose art and crafts. Never mind the fact that I’m hopeless at art myself; it would be fun, but hopefully (slightly) less rigorous than cooking. And luckily, it was. There were days when the desks in my classroom were dirty with glue smears, sweeping became an hourly requirement, and I went home everyday with stained clothes. But it was largely successful: nice works of art to display at the end of camp, no-one ate the pasta meant for pasta art (although they did attempt to), and best of all, no-one stabbed themselves during my sewing class (apart from me, actually). Most importantly, the students had fun.

The thing which made me most happy? The fact that my students seemed to love being creative. It’s a well-known fact that Korean students are often taught with the purpose of passing exams, rather than encouraging independent thinking. So it was nice to see them use their imaginations for once. And wow, were they painstakingly careful and considerate when making their art, so much so that my lessons almost always ran late because they hadn’t finished. Plus, something I didn’t know before: Korean children are pretty amazing at art. Sure, there were a few whose work was pretty dreadful (one student was upset when his Pop Art picture of Harry Potter came out looking like Gandhi), but the majority of students were way more talented than I expected.

All in all, it was a good two weeks, but I have to admit that I’m glad it’s over now. It’s something which we teachers don’t exactly look forward to, but feel proud at the end of. When we have the closing ceremony, and watch the obligatory photo-diary of camp, it makes you see the whole experience through rose-tinted spectacles: you forget about the naughty kid who irritated you the entire time, the hours spent organising your lessons, the stress of buying all your materials, and the general effort of being so overly positive and energetic all the time (because ‘camp isn’t proper school, so we can’t be as strict or expect the kids to be as well behaved as they would be in school’).

I even find myself feeling a little nostalgic about the fact I won’t see the students again for a while; they were so sweet when saying ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ that it fills you with warmth, and almost makes you sad that camp is over. Almost…

A Cheltenham Wishlist

So I learned recently that my home town Cheltenham is getting a Carluccio’s Italian restaurant, and I couldn’t have been more excited because it’s one of my favourite places to eat. And I realised that over the past couple of years there have been so many great additions to Cheltenham. After literally years of wishing for an H&M, one finally opened in 2013; Yo Sushi appeared to bring good sushi into the town (it was sad to say goodbye to Pizza Hut, but you can’t have everything); and Patisserie Valerie provided everyone with temptation to spend too much money on delicious pastries. There’s even a new Caribbean restaurant opening soon, which is very exotic and exciting.

Despite the great, and increasing, variety in Cheltenham, there are still a few eateries and shops which I’d love to see come to Cheltenham. Here’s my wishlist:

1) Pret


Yes, it would cause us to spend ridiculous amounts of extra money, but it would be worth it. Toasties, hot wraps, super-food salads, and don’t forget super-trendy kale crisps.

2) Eat


Another perfect lunch spot if you’re looking for a treat after a bad morning at work.

3) Krispy Kreme


I know you can get them from Tesco, but it’s not the same as having a whole Krispy Kreme cafe, with a complete selection of delicious doughnuts to choose from.

4) Zara


A high street fashion shop with such a good range of clothes, it would be amazing to have a Zara in Cheltenham. Please…

5) Fro Yo


Frankly I don’t care what type of Frozen Yoghurt place it is, as long as it’s good.

6) Ed’s Diner

Firstly we need an Ed’s because it’s a cool retro-style diner which does the most amazing milkshakes ever (and it’s not too expensive either). But secondly because there’s one in Gloucester, which just makes me jealous that they have one, and we don’t.

7) Gourmet Burger Kitchen

It would be good to have a good burger restaurant, especially after last year when burgers seemed to increase in popularity, with new restaurants and types popping up everywhere and giving  me serious burger-envy.

8) Ikea


The first ever Korean Ikea opened recently and caused such traffic jams on the surrounding roads that it faced a business suspension. Now I’m not saying that I want that to happen in Cheltenham, but I definitely wouldn’t mind a store opening locally at all…

9) Wagamama

After the success of Yo Sushi, I think another Japanese restaurant would go down well in Cheltenham. Especially as at Wagamamas you would be less likely to end up going bankrupt after spending too much money without knowing how (damn the revolving sushi belt at Yo Sushi).

10) Toys R Us


The place where both adults and kids to enjoy shopping and have fun. Perfect.

That’s my Top Ten Wishlist for Cheltenham. Don’t get me wrong, I love the independent shops, cafes, and restaurants that Cheltenham has to offer, but if any of these places was opened in Cheltenham, I’d be extra happy. Fingers crossed for 2015…

Deez Nuts: On Privilege, Apologies, and Cho Hyun-ah

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Well said! Some thoughts on ‘Nutgate’, the scandal which has dominated the headlines in Korea for weeks.


by Chris Tharp

I have to admit to reveling in the ongoing drama of “Nutgate,” in which then Korean Airlines vice president for cabin service Cho Hyun-ah threw a weapons grade conniption when, on a flight from New York to Seoul, an attendant in first class had the audacity to serve her macadamia nuts in the packet instead of upon a pristine plate. Not content just to dress the offending stewardess down, she unleashed a torrent of abuse upon the whole staff and ordered the taxiing plane back to the gate, where she had the chief purser ejected for dereliction of duty. Almost as puzzling as Ms. Cho’s seemingly cruel and petty outburst is the fact that pilot went along with her demand, breaking aviation safety law in a pathetic attempt to save his own ass. He knew better than to defy HER will. After all, her father, Cho Yang-ho…

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Negativity, Sensitivity, And Defending Your Country

I read an article recently discussing Korean sensitivity and explaining why Koreans are ‘hyper sensitive to criticisms from non-Koreans’. Before I even started reading, I felt that the answer was pretty obvious: surely Koreans don’t like it because the people complaining aren’t Korean themselves. In my eyes, it’s understandable why, as a native, you’d get annoyed by foreigners coming into your country, only to moan about the way the country is run.

Let’s be honest, every country has faults and things to complain about. Whether it be hating the entire Government, the ‘youths of today’, or simply the weather, you can always find things to moan about. And this is fine- in fact, it’s human nature. In England, I hate losing the majority of a pay cheque on taxes, bills, and my student loan. In Korea, I hate feeling unsafe whenever I’m on the roads. Yet while I would feel comfortable grumbling about England to English people, I wouldn’t be as comfortable doing the same about Korea to Koreans. Why? Because I’m a foreigner in Korea. It’s my choice to live here, to be in a different culture which I might not always understand or enjoy.

Sure, some things in Korea seem illogical, and there are flaws to the system (as you’d find in any country). And while I might moan to my nearest and dearest about these things, I’d never assume that it’s my place to criticise the country openly and publicly to Koreans. Firstly because it’s disrespectful. And secondly, because I know I’d get defensive if a foreigner berated England in front of me (and yes, even if I agreed with what they were saying).

What are some things which expats complain about in Korea? Xenophobia and driving. What do expats mock Koreans for loving? K Pop and Kimchi. I’m not going to lie and say that I never get angry about things in Korea, and I also don’t think Kimchi is the best food in the world, nor K Pop the best music. But that doesn’t mean I spend my time bitching to Koreans about their country, or laughing at their taste in food/music.

Imagine if someone came into your country, and slated something your nation is proud of. What if a foreigner came into the UK and ranted about how stupid British people are for loving tea, or how the BBC is a load of rubbish. I know it would get my back up. Or what if they complained about all the stupid drivers who are way over the speed limit, or the drunken violence and debauchery that takes place every weekend. I’d feel like it wasn’t their place to say. In fact, the most common phrase I hear people in England saying when they hear foreigners complaining is: ‘If you don’t like it, go back to your own country.’

I am aware that I’ve spoken negatively about the Korean education system before, but my feelings towards that come from sympathy towards my students, who I see suffering and stressed every day. And at the same time, I did acknowledge the merits of the system, which produces continually high grades. I wouldn’t voice my opinions so loudly about the other things in Korea which I am not so positive about.

So I feel the reason why Koreans don’t respond well to criticism from non-Koreans is quite straightforward: 99% of people feel loyalty for their country. Why would they enjoy seeing expats laughing at them and ridiculing them, hating on everything and everyone. While they might also dislike things about Korea, it is still their country and they will defend it to outsiders. And I know that I would defend my country in the same way.

Moving To Korea: Top Tips I Wish I’d Known…

Coming to Korea was a huge, daunting move, and needless to say I did a lot of research beforehand; finding out about the culture and customs (bowing your head and removing your shoes inside), weather (yes, there definitely are 4 distinct seasons), and shopping (being told that buying clothes/shoes/underwear was pretty much impossible). 

The information I found was helpful, but ultimately it’s living here which gives you the best knowledge. So here, in hindsight, is what advice I’d give myself, and anyone else about to move to Korea.

  • Learn Hangul before you arrive

I had a quick look at some ‘learn to read Hangul’ guides before coming, but not in much detail, and I wish that I had. Once you’ve arrived, there’s so much else to sort out and distract you that you might not have the time to focus on learning to read in Korean- this happened to me, and in the end it was a while before I properly taught myself Hangul.

Don’t be put off by thinking it’s too difficult, because it’s much simpler than you’d imagine (everyone else I know agrees that it’s surprisingly easy to get a grip of). Being able to read it upon your arrival makes things much less daunting, even being able to read the city names and find your correct destination when you arrive at the airport.

I used the infamous Ryan Estrada method which can be found here, which I found pleasantly straightforward, and would definitely recommend.

  • Phones are generally on contracts

I imagined that I’d be able to get a simple pay-as-you-go phone in Korea and that I wouldn’t use it too often, but that’s a pretty difficult thing to do. I was told by co-workers to set up a contract, as it would be hard to find somewhere to find a pay-as-you-go option.

Everyone I know has ended up setting a phone contract and getting a Korean phone as part of that contract- so if you’re coming out with your own phone, it could be that you’ll end up getting a new one instead.

  •  Deodorant does exist-for women

I was pretty worried when I read that deodorant isn’t really used by Koreans, and came out with about 10 sprays in my luggage. Luckily for women, you can find deodorant now in most marts, even if it is the roll-on kind and more expensive than you’d expect.

But for men it’s more difficult. My male friends tell me it’s pretty much impossible to find stuff in a standard supermarket. So for them, they fill their cases with extra deodorant… or resort to buying the female version if they run out.

  • Underwear is expensive

On the whole, the cost of living is so much cheaper in Korea, apart from where underwear is concerned. The price of underwear is pretty similar to the price of proper clothes, which I found pretty shocking. Plus, the selection isn’t the best to say the least… If I were packing to move out here, I’d cram my suitcase with extra items.

Oh, apart from socks, which are sold everywhere, are extremely cheap, and also amazing. In fact, I wouldn’t bother to pack any socks and buy them all when you arrive!

  • Cosmetics are good

I didn’t have a clue what to expect from Korean cosmetics, so packed double the amount I needed: two makeup bags, extra face creams and wipes, just so many products. But luckily, there was no need as there are so many options in Korea, ranging from the very-cheap to the luxury, expensive items.

I’d guess there are even more options than you’d have back home. You only have to walk into a cosmetic shop to be faced with so many face creams, lotions, cleaners, toners, and goodness-knows what else, that you’ll be in the shop for hours, confused over what to buy.

  •  G Market is the new Amazon

Amazon ships some stuff to Korea, but not everything. And so the other option is G Market. There’s an English website which is convenient, and you can find most things you’d need on there.

  • Buy your winter gear in Korea

Winter is hideously cold, but it’s alright as long as you have proper winter clothes. I came out with a winter coat, gloves, hat, scarves etc., but when the colder months arrived I realised that they weren’t enough, and that I needed proper winter clothes which are actually designed for the freezing temperatures.

They have everything you could ever need in Korea: thermal vests, leggings, hats, gloves, fluffy socks, pajamas, snoods, the list goes on. And while a lot of the winter coats are insanely expensive, there are cheaper options which are still perfect for facing the cold. My coat is my saviour during winter, it isn’t a huge puffer-jacket, and it cost a fraction of the price of the majority of coats.

  • There are more and more Western food products

Another thing I read online about Korea was the lack of certain foods, cereal being one of the main things which people claimed you couldn’t find. However I think that now, the majority of things can be found in marts. In fact, there is quite a large selection of cereals in all 3 of our local marts, even if it is slightly more expensive than you’d pay back home.

In the past few months I’ve even seen things like quinoa and oats (yay) appear on the shelves, which weren’t here 18 months ago. The only thing I find I miss are confectionery goods and bread (it does exist but the selection isn’t great, and the taste isn’t as good). And for things which you can’t find in the shops, I Herb is amazing.

  • Daiso is amazing

One of the first shops you venture into should be Daiso. It is just the best, selling everything from tableware to shampoo to shower gel to headphones to slippers to towels to decorations for your home. It’s so cheap, but it isn’t rubbish either. Daiso is my go-to shop for most things other than food.

  •  You can find clothes and shoes

I’d read a lot about the lack of clothes/shoes to fit Westerners, but there are options out there, even if they’re limited/in Seoul. It’s true that a lot of the clothes are tiny, but there are larger shops which have a bigger selection, UniQlo being a good example. My boyfriend is much bigger than the average Korean male at over 6 foot, but he has found plenty of things to fit him here, as have I. And as for shoes, ABC Mart sells bigger sizes, and their biggest size was fine for my boyfriend.

If you’re finding it really hard to find clothes, there’s always Seoul which has a lot of Western shops, so you should be able to find something suitable, if you look hard enough!

  • Lastly (and most importantly, the food is good

I obviously had to mention the food in Korea, which I love. But it is something I worried about before coming to Korea, as hating the food would be pretty bad. And there are some strange meals which most Westerners would shy away from (raw seafood and animal innards spring to mind), but there is plenty of normal, delicious food. And it isn’t all spicy, as some people warn you. There’s a list of 20 Korean meals here, to give you an idea of what to expect.

If you really hate the food, there are Western restaurants even in smaller cities. And there’s guaranteed to be some of the Koreans’ favourite: fried-chicken. Although it might not be the healthiest choice to eat this too often.

I could start raving about food here, but that would be a whole new post…



20 Foods That I Wish Would Make a Comeback

I’m feeling very nostalgic (and hungry) today, so I thought I’d share this list: a collection of foods which are no longer available and which I miss dearly. (The original article which I wrote on Buzzfeed can be found here, but I thought I’d recreate it on my blog for all you foodies.)

1. Citrus Polos


These were so sharp they made your tongue hurt and turned your mouth a horrific yellow/green colour (especially if you ate a whole packet in one go like I did). But they were so good.

2. Mint Skittles

The best mints ever. I seem to remember that the blue colours were the best, and the green the worst. Way better than chewing-gum.

3. 3D Doritos

3D crisps just makes things more fun. And they were obviously delicious too- they’re Doritos after all.

4. Mini Hoola-Hoops


I don’t know why mini hoola-hoops were so much better than the regular kind, but they were, and they had so much more flavour. But you couldn’t stick them on your fingers like rings, as you can with the regular kind, which is a negative I suppose…

5. Shakey Jake Milkshake

Shakey Jake milkshakes were delicious, and they came in cute bottles. Double the goodness.

6. Campino Sweets

Hard-boiled sweets aren’t usually that exciting, but Campinos were so good. I actually got given something very similar in Korea last week and was beyond excited.

7. Panda Pops

The classic kid’s fizzy drink- I used to buy these everyday from school for about 20 pence. Just amazing flavours, the ‘strawberry jelly’ I remember was particularly good… Probably full of artificial sugars and E numbers, but we didn’t care.

8. Cadbury’s Marble

A mix of white chocolate, milk chocolate, and praline is clearly a match made in heaven- why did Cadbury’s ever stop making these bars?

9. Ben and Jerry’s Fossil Fuel

Fudge swirls, sweet-cream ice cream, cookie pieces and fudge dinosaurs to make it unique- I wish Ben and Jerry’s would bring back Fossil Fuel…please.

10. Ice Cream Flavour Chewits

The best flavour of Chewits out there, hands down.

11. Baked Bean Pizza

It might sound weird, but this pizza was so yummy. I would kill to be able to have one of these again.

12. Starburst Joosters

Similar to Jelly Beans, and so good. Please Starburst, bring back Joosters!

13. Cadbury Snaps

Pretty much chocolate in the shape of Pringles- addictive and delicious. The only downside was accidently eating a whole box in one go…

14. Fruit Allsorts

Allsorts without the liquorice- just amazing.

15. Flake Snow

Anything with white chocolate is always amazing, and this was no exception. It was like a regular Flake, only better.

16. Cadbury’s Dream Egg

White chocolate egg filled with creamy white chocolate. The sweetest, sickliest, and best mini-Easter egg ever. And way better than ordinary Dream bars.

17. Bisc &…

Biscuit topped with your favourite chocolate bar? Yes please.

18. Cadbury’s Fuse Bar

A chocolate bar filled with nuts, fudge, raisins and cereal bits- it’s no surprise that there have been campaigns to bring these bars back to the shelves!

19. Flavoured Coke

Coke and lime… coke and lemon… vanilla coke… Sometimes you can find one of these flavours but they’re so rare. So much better than plain old coke.

20. Lucky Charms

Ok, I know you can find Lucky Charms in some shops these days, but they’re always hugely overpriced- I don’t want to pay £6 for a box of cereal… Please bring them back properly, and for a normal price!

There are many more foods which I miss and wish would make a comeback, but these in particular would go down a treat! If you can think of any more forgotten gems, please leave a comment below…

A Beautifully Festive Display- The Garden Of Morning Calm Lighting Festival



It’s that time of year again- it’s snowy, it’s December and it’s time to feel Christmassy! I’m sure most expats would agree that Christmas isn’t a huge deal in Korea; sure, cafes are decorated prettily, there are Christmas-themed foods and drinks, and there are a few Christmas trees to make you feel festive. But compared to back home where Christmas spirit pretty much dominates the country as soon as Halloween is over and done with, Korea is somewhat lacking proper festivity.

1376382_10152422196109305_1124506496_nAs a result, last year I spent a long time trying to find Christmassy things to do. And when I saw that there was a winter lighting festival at The Garden Of Morning Calm (in Gapyeong), it looked ideal. And luckily, my expectations were met and exceeded; the lighting display was spectacular to say the least, and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.



My photos from the festival don’t do justice to the stunning display; if it looks good in a photo, it looked 10 times better in real life. The view from the top of the garden is pretty breathtaking- a sea of twinkling lights in an array of bright, beautiful colours. As you wander around the gardens there are different sections with different themes. Heart sculptures for couples to pose in, a horse and carriage to sit in, animals, flowers, and light-tunnels. And it’s not only sculptures; the whole park is decorated with lights, covering the trees, plants, and paths. The whole garden looks enchanted.


 I didn’t expect the festival to be so magical, but it’s one of the best things I’ve done in Korea and it’s well worth visiting, especially at this time of the year. It’s not a Christmas market with mulled wine and mince pies, but it’s a unique and brilliant alternative way to make you feel festive.

More information about the festival can be found here or on The Garden Of Morning Calm website. You should be prepared for it to be crowded, and full of people with selfie sticks, but it’s worth it. If you want to go walking in a winter wonderland, this is the place to visit.