In July 2017, I had the opportunity to go to Korea for work! I work for a great creative writing program for kids in Vancouver, called the Creative Writing for Children Society. I am one of their writer mentors, teaching an after-school creative writing program for kids. It’s a wonderful program; kids who love to write come and hang out for a few hours a week. We read good books, write stories, hone writing skills and do fun crafts and games to be inspired for writing that week. One of the perks of working with the CWC is that they have strong ties to Korea, and run a creative writing camp for Korean students, and invited me to join their team of three mentors. Not only that, but this year was extra special, because I was a judge for a children’s creative writing contest hosted by the Canadian Embassy in Seoul.
What an incredible place to visit! Our time at the embassy in Seoul was inspiring, getting the chance to speak with a group of talented young writers. From there, we were whisked away to the countryside, where we taught for a week in what felt a little like the Korean summer version of The Shining hotel (in a good way?). The kids were great, and I loved the opportunity to work with two different groups all week. It wasn’t even that hot, which was the thing that worried me the most going in mid-July! On my breaks, I made sure to explore the river walks and mountain views surrounding us. I didn’t get much writing done, but it was great fun to look around, and be inspired as a teacher to create new programs and classes to bring back to my classes in Vancouver.
The trip finished with three days in Seoul, where the other mentors and I explored all things Korean, including a palace, a theatre, so much shopping, the meerkat cafe, a spa, and my favourite part, the food!