In November I started working at an after-school children’s center (Kkumnamu Kiumi Care Center), which provides care for first through eight graders from low-income families. When the children arrive at the center, they do their homework. Then they practice reading in Korean and I share English words and pronunciations. It is a symbiotic relationship; but I believe I am learning more from the kids than they are from me! They already know a lot of English but need some confidence in speaking. When I stumble through Korean and butcher their language, they relax and try conversing in my language. If nothing else, I can help with their English phobia. Learning a new language is exhausting and I need to keep my sense of humor because my progress is slow! We also have fun eating snack, playing games, and talking about things like K-pop and BTS. Before the kids go home for the evening day, I help serve them dinner.
One week, the teachers and I took the kids on a field trip to one of the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty and to see the fall leaves at a public park. This Park was unique because it is a UNESCO world heritage site since one of Koreas’ kings is buried there. It was great to be outside before the weather got too cold and beautiful leaves. I learned that all kids like to jump in a big pile of leaves.