Travel Report: Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village, Daegu.
April 2019. The whole point of coming to the Korean city of Daegu was for a catch up with my old friend Wonderboy. Following our travel adventures in Cambodia, China, Japan and Spain, I was excited to be adding a corner of South Korea to our explored list. Moreover, I was able to save on hotel costs when Wonderboy revealed I could crash at his studio apartment in the grounds of DGEV, Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village.
DGEV offers English language training to Korean students of all ages through a partnership with The University of Wisconsin River Falls and Daegu’s own Yeungjin University. The classrooms, offices and residential blocks sit in an immaculately landscaped garden complex framed by temperate hills and light woodland.
Wonderboy’s little studio lies right in the heart of the site, with a balcony that overlooks the prettiest section of the main garden. On the mornings my friend had to teach, I would sit on the balcony to drink coffee and write. As views go, I’ve certainly had worse! Yes, that’s a giant plane in the middle of the garden. More on that later.
Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village.
A team of gardeners keeps the complex in beautiful shape. Taking a stroll one afternoon, I came across a giant pond, manicured hedges and a clutch of cherry blossom trees. The whole place stood in stark contrast to the smoggy, grey polluted river outside my apartment in the Chinese city of Ruian. Yup, it felt like Wonderboy had really landed on his feet with this school.
For the most part, Wonderboy teaches teenagers. Although, every now and then, he might find himself giving a British culture class to a group of adults. This could involve anything from ‘What British People Say & What British People Mean’, to the importance of tea in English culture. And crucially, how to actually make a cup!
According to the official blurb, Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village gives students an “experiential learning environment”. They’re not kidding on this one, as the school boasts a range of hugely creative themed classrooms. One of these is the giant airplane that dominates the main garden!
This is where students get to grips with airport related English, including asking for directions, how to check in and going through security. The kids even get little Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village passports! From time to time the place also serves as a venue for cabin crew training.
Teach English in Daegu, South Korea.
There are loads of amazing classrooms throughout the school. One evening, Wonderboy gave me the full tour. Fast Food, for example, helps kids get to grips with ordering in restaurants and cafes. Yup, this classroom has a bit of a Subway vibe to it.
Students can brush up on their animal vocabulary in the cute and cuddly Zoo class. Yes, Wonderboy concedes it can be challenging keeping kids focused when surrounded by piles of soft toys.
At the Pikes Peak Hotel you can learn how to check in, check out, make complaints and throw in a general enquiry or two. There’s also a very cool classroom called Broadcast, where you sit behind a giant desk and play the role of a news anchor. Elsewhere, a geography centre packed with maps and flags helps students memorise countries, nationalities and continents. Oh, and there’s a supermarket, a gift shop and a life-size New York Taxi model in a classroom called Transport.
Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village.
I found myself really impressed by the creativity that went into these rooms and Wonderboy admitted it’s lot of fun giving the classes. A friend of mine, stuck in a somewhat meh Korean language school, couldn’t help but surmise: “F***, they get their own TV studio and I’m still fighting for crayons”.
Sixteen months on from my Daegu adventure and Wonderboy is still teaching for DGEV. This is no surprise, especially when you consider his studio comes with the job, free of charge. The school also provides breakfast, lunch and dinner for their employees. Not too shabby at all.
For more info on Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village, check out their website here.
For my guide on what to see and do in this hugely underrated city, check out my travel reports from Daegu.
Like this? Take a look at more of my pieces from around South Korea.
I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001. So why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.