[Editorial] You can make a difference, too

Published February 2015 in Groove Korea When Daniel Payne came to Korea in 2003, he was conflicted. As a 23-year-old divorcé struggling with balancing his religion and homosexuality, he found no sympathy from the local Christian Church. But years of questioning God led him to realize a higher purpose: to create a home for those in the LGBTQ community who were shunned by the church but still sought comfort in their religion. After many months, he found a home for his congregation, the Open Doors Community Church, and has extended his reach as a counselor and pastor to help establish Rainbow,…

[Editorial] Onward and upward

Published in November 2013 in Groove Korea One of Groove Korea’s most difficult times in recent months involved Matt Lamers telling me to get lost. The editor-in-chief and I were arguing over the editing on a feature I had been writing for tireless months, and that he had spent days revising. We both wanted the perfect story but we didn’t agree on how to get there. There were strong words, bruised egos and, at one point, threats of scrapping the project altogether. After a year of dedication to the magazine, I almost did take his suggestion to get lost. But that…

Expat superstars

Rising foreign performers reveal the world of Korea’s entertainment industry Published March 2014 in Groove Korea Story by Emilee Jennings and Elaine Ramirez Photos by Dylan Goldby Additional reporting by Sophie Boladeras Showbiz is one of the toughest jobs out there. The glamorous celebrity life, the thing the public sees, is the product of hundreds of hours of work. Practice, filming, schmoozing, cultivating a persona — the list goes on. And if it weren’t tough enough, factor in the challenges of finding a job in a foreign country and communicating in a language you’re unfamiliar with. If you can imagine…

Is Korea’s EFL education failing?

Published March 2013 in Groove Korea   Kelly Choi is an 11-year-old entering fourth grade in Seoul’s Gangnam district. She spends some 10 hours studying in seven English classes every week — more than three-fourths the class time of all her other subjects combined, not counting homework. Statistically, Kelly (her English name) is behind her classmates. She began studying English in first grade, but half her Gangnam peers started before kindergarten. And when they get to middle and high school, they will spend more than 15,000 hours studying the language. “I want her to go to university in the U.S.,”…

Foreigners should not expect ‘freebies’

Korea Business Central community fills in gaps on doing business locally, creator says Published Dec. 11, 2012, in The Korea Herald   With the eighth-most business-friendly environment in the world ― so said the World Bank in October ― along with free government-provided services in English, Japanese and Chinese at the Seoul Global Business Center, free economic zones scattered across the country and various foreign direct investment incentives, there’s something to be said about Korea’s initiatives to help foreign businesses. It’s that foreign business owners should not expect any of it, according to Steven Bammel, creator of Korea Business Central, a…

Final days of Kari Bowerman & Cathy Huynh

Published September 2012 in Groove Korea News of two Korea-based English teachers who died while backpacking in Vietnam in late July and early August has shaken the local expat community. Friends Kari Bowerman, 27, of the U.S. and Cathy Huynh, 26, of Canada had just begun their week-long vacation when they suddenly fell ill and passed away due to unknown causes. One month after their deaths, many questions are left unanswered about what happened to them. Groove Korea spoke with several friends of the girls, including one who was in contact with Cathy via Skype and phone in the hours…