Friday, May 21, 2004

Ehwa interview

This morning (Friday, Seoul time) I went to a brief and informal interview for a teaching position at Ehwa Women's University. Many thanks to the KimcheeGI for sending me the advert for the job.

They're all business at Ehwa. It was made very clear to me that Ehwa expects a lot from its teachers, and that the students "are easily disappointed" when teachers aren't up to snuff. My interviewer was very polite; she and her husband have lived in the northern Virginia area, so she knows all the same spots I know in DC and the DC-Metro region. Her son wants to go to Georgetown, so maybe I scored some free Hoya points there.

My interviewer asked me whether I'd be interested in summer work, and I said yes. It doesn't look as though Ehwa will be offering housing-- not unless they're going to offer me a permanent position, which is very much in doubt at this point.

As it turns out, I was the first person to interview for this position. I hope I set the bar high, but it was disconcerting to hear my interviewer say, "It's really amazing, the number of scholars who've answered this ad!" The Department of Interpretation and Translation is looking for scholars-- people who can teach advanced levels of English, teach writing, and speak on issues like politics and culture. I may have shot myself in the foot by being too honest re: my own lack of political astuteness (I don't remember exactly how I phrased it to her), but I gave my interviewer a research paper as a writing sample, and that seems to be just what the doctor ordered: she prefers samples of academic writing.

I think my students (assuming I get the job) will be graduate students. I was told that many of them speak English as their first language, and are brushing up on their Korean. I was also told that the DIT accepts only about 20-25% of Ehwa students into this program; the rest come from other Korean universities, as well as from countries like China and the US. "We're not that loyal to Ehwa here," my interviewer said with a smile.

I don't know how well the interview went. I heard a lot of rhetoric about "our high standards," which I'm assuming to be true, since Ehwa is the #1 women's university in Korea. I take that rhetoric as a warning: no slouches allowed. I think I'm up to the challenge, but I'm curious to know who the competition is, and whether I can track them down and kneecap them. At this point, I'm in limbo, and hopeful that the DIT will give me a call back for a second-- and probably longer-- grilling session, perhaps leading to full-time employment and a decent place of residence. BigHominid... assistant professor?

More on this as it develops.


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