I can. Can I?

On Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

I went up the hill where I can see the “old-part” of Seoul. There are traditional Korean houses in tightly packed neighborhoods, the small vintage cafes from the 70s, and the restaurants since 1960s. This part of Seoul is called Kangbuk (강북), the northern part of Seoul. This region harbors both old and new culture and creates such a tight-knit community unlike the southern part of Seoul, Kangnam (강남) with skyscrapers. I indeed enjoyed the “old” atmosphere as I made my way to the oldest foreign school in Korea, Seoul Foreign School.

Seoul Foreign School (SFS) was founded in 1912. Its buildings show a combined arrangement between the traditional Korean and the modern architecture. I did not have any appointments with any faculty member at SFS until that morning. Initially, I couldn’t get in touch with any of them via phone or email to inquire about their participation in this research. Of course, I did not forgo the opportunity to work with SFS community so that is why I made a reckless visit to the school to stop by every classroom and meet with teachers in person in order to raise their interests in supporting my research. Luckily, before I carry out my careless, unconvincing action, my mom’s friend’s daughter (Y.M. Lee) who attends SFS recommended me to visit her English teacher, Mrs.Wilcox. I entered the room, and Mrs.Wilcox enthusiastically welcomed me in a stylish British accent.

After provided with my project in details, she suggested me to begin working with her students as soon as possible. Mrs. Wilcox was also worried about the similar problem as Mr. Park from Apgujeong High School mentioned as well. The problem was that the students might not feel comfortable participating in research survey or interview when there are school events along with the final exams and projects before the school ends. As a student who strictly lives on planned schedules, I started to panic about the fact that I won’t be able to get enough participants before the school finals start—perhaps not even half of whom I needed for this study.

I strongly desired to act as professional as possible so I knew I had to make decision quickly before the advisor notice my shaking reaction. ‘I am ready to conduct this research so don’t panic. Do not panic, Hee. Do not.’ It was true—all the research materials such as questions and the incentives were prepared to be given right away. All I needed to do was to set a decision and walk toward the finish line without looking back. So I told Mrs. Wilcox, “I can start tomorrow!” and she smiled and nodded.

*more pictures available in Gallery.