Your Challenges: A List

After much anticipation, here is a list of your challenges for this semester:

Challenge #1: Embassy Inquiry

In this challenge, you must contact the embassy for an English speaking country of your choice, and make an inquiry regarding some specific information. For example, you might inquire how you could start the process of immigration to that country, or inquire as to whether, if you married a citizen of that country, your child would automatically be able to have citizenship in that other country, or how to apply for a Working Holiday Visa for that country, how to get a job at the embassy: make your inquiry realistic and sensible — the kind of thing people really normally call embassies about. The possibilities are endless.

Option: You may make this inquiry by phone, or, if you prefer, you can go to the embassy and ask for an interview in person.


  • Choose the embassy from a country where it is native English.
  • Use English (even if a Korean is on the phone and tries to get you to speak Korean, keep speaking English).
  • Prepare specific questions (and prepare the facts of a scenario) before you call, so that you can answer the embassy worker’s questions easily.


  • Don’t use Korean during your call… not at all!
  • Don’t waste the embassy worker’s time. Whether you visit or call, don’t take too much time, since you’re not really making an inquiry.  (However, if you would like to really truly make an inquiry — and that is a good idea, if you have to do this challenge anyway — then take as long as you want!)
  • Don’t forget to research your question online — usually, the answers to easy questions are posted on the embassy website. Remember you should go and looks, like a sensible person making a real inquiry would do, before calling or visiting.


  • You will hand in a writeup that includes the following:
    • The questions you made inquiries about,
    • The answers you received,
    • Weblinks or phone numbers you were given as part of the answer,
    • Any official forms you are given or can download,
    • A recording of the conversation (if you called) or a photograph of yourself in front of the Embassy (if you visited). If you have trouble figuring out how to record a phone call, search online: I found some links for recording phone calls on my iPhone, and I’m pretty sure the same exists for Android phones. If your phone isn’t capable, you can either use a friend’s phone, or try using a phone application like Skype (which can be recorded).
    • You will hand in your writeup in paper form, along with photographs if you have any, official documents, and so on. If you have a recording to submit, you can email it to me with the following in the subject (제목) line of your email:  CHALLENGE#1-EMBASSYQUIRY-MP3-YOURNAME (where YOURNAME is, well, your name.

Challenge #2: This _____ Life (This Chinese Life, This Korean Life)

For this challenge, you will listen to three full episodes of the American National Public Radio program “This American Life.” You can download podcasts, and listen to streaming episodes from the archive, on the program’s webpage. The program features Americans telling personal stories from their lives — often funny, surprising, or unusual stories. Your job is to provide a “segment” like one of the segments on the show.


  • Listen to the episodes you’ve chosen very carefully, multiple times, until you feel you understand them and why they are interesting to the original audience.
  • Do choose an interesting experience or story from your own experiences, or the experiences of a friend. (You can tell the story of a friend, if it is especially interesting or unusual. You can even interview that friend, as long as it is in English!) Your segment must be at least 15 minutes long, so think about different ways of exploring it. (Some episodes have lots of great ways of doing this — using recorded phone conversations, sound effects, and so on.)
  • Use the MP3 format to record your own segment of the program. Other file formats will be disqualified.


  • Don’t submit a poor recording. Listening to your segment should be easy and enjoyable.
  • Don’t limit yourself to inoffensive topics. If you want to talk about politics — like about the politics of China and Taiwan — that’s fine.

Proof: The proof that you have completed this challenge will be the MP3 you email me, titled “This Korean Life” or “This Chinese Life.” In fact, use your name in the file name as well. When you email it to me, put this in the subject line of your email: Listening & Speaking CHALLENGE#2-THIS____LIFE-MP3-YOURNAME (where YOURNAME is, well, your name)

Challenge #3: It’s Free… Sort of!

For this challenge, you will offer a free service to other students at CUK. Examples of your free service could includea manucure:

  • a manicure
  • a shoulder massage
  • hair styling
  • a mini-makeover (say, eye makeup session)
  • fortune telling, Tarot card reading, etc.

The one condition is that your customers must speak to you in English if they want the service for free.


  • Do offer the service for free, as long as your customer speaks English.
  • Do offer a minor service, not a big one.
  • Do require your customers to speak in English with you for a minimum of 5 minutes.
  • Do set up a small table or booth, and advertise with a sign as well as by attracting customers.
  • Do service a minimum of 5 people.


  • Don’t ask questions about your customer’s major.
  • Don’t reveal that you are doing the service as homework for a course.
  • Don’t give bad service.


  • You will hand in photographs, taken by a friend sitting at the table or booth with you, of your work, as well as a photograph of yourself at the table or booth from a distance. You will also write 300-500 words about the experience, and print your write-up with the photos and hand them in.

Challenge #4: The More You Know…

For this challenge, you will make an interesting informative video introducing some useful information or service for foreign students, either at CUK or in Korea generally.


  • You will interview foreign students, asking about problems they’ve had at CUK, and looking for services or administrators who might be able to solve those problems. For example, if a foreign student who needs to contact the police — who can they call for help?
  • You will interview one or two services in your video, but explore them somewhat deeply, explaining the service in some detail, along with location information and hours and so on.
  • You will make the video completely in English, with English subtitles for those students who cannot follow quickly-spoken English.
  • Your video should be at least 14.5 minutes long.


  • Don’t introduce information that every foreign student already knows about.
  • Don’t just recite information boringly, like an announcer.
  • Don’t be shy to mention services that don’t exist but are needed: the only way the administration will realize it is if we tell them.


You will upload the video to Youtube using a username and password I will provide in class.

Challenge #5. Selling Something on the Street in Ansan


  • Sell three items to strangers on the street in the Ansan district.
  • If something that we will see is the one which can attract people’s eyes, it would be effective to sell.
  • Choose a place where you will have a chance to meet many passersby.
  • All sales interaction must be conducted in English, including haggling.
  • You must sell the items for their real approximate value. (No selling things too cheap to hurry up the process.)
  • You must accept cash for the items.
  • Do not annoy people while carrying out this challenge.
  • Do not sell a very expensive item.
  • Do not attempt to sell items inside private businesses. (Don’t walk into restaurants, and so on.)


  • You need photographic evidence of your sales work. You can have a friend come along and film or photograph you trying to sell, photos of you setting up your sales table, and photos of you making the deal. The photos should be from a distance, that is, not intrusive enough to upset possible customers. Alternately, at the end of the deal, you could tell the customer that selling the item was homework, and ask for a photo together.
  • After you make your sale, you will document the experience in a 500 word write-up. (Just a short essay about what the experience was like, what you learned, and so on.)

General rules for challenges:

You may work at challenges at your own pace. There are no due dates for challenges. There is a deadline after which you cannot submit more challenges, however. That deadline is the last day of class in Week 15. No challenges will be accepted after this date.

However, once you have submitted a challenge, you cannot submit your next (whether it is a new challenge or a do-over) for 2 weeks. The exception is this: if your last challenge was submitted in Week 14, I will accept a new challenge or resubmission in Week 15, up to and including our last day of class (which is on Thursday, 8 December 2011, as far as I know).

For any work that is submitted electronically, the email must be clearly marked. It is not my responsibility if you do not clearly mark your email. You should make sure the following text is in the Subject (제목) line of your email:

  • Your name
  • The name and number of the Challenge (as written above)
  • The words “Listening & Speaking Challenge”

For example, here is a good subject line:

SUBJECT: Listening & Speaking CHALLENGE#2-THIS____LIFE-MP3-KimSunJung

Note that for this list of Challenges, only the proof for Challenge #2 will be accepted by email. Challenges 1, 2, and 5 will be submitted in hard copy, and Challenge #4 will be uploaded to (If you have video instead of still photos for other challenges, you will similarly upload them to Youtube. Just ask me for the username and password in class!)

Starting now, we have about 10 or 11 weeks of classtime in which you can complete your challenges. It is therefore a good idea to start submitting your challenges as soon as possible! If you start now, you might complete them all… if you wait, that will soon become impossible. So get to work!

One more thing:

NEVER, EVER send me an .HWP file ever again, people. Some of you did, and it slowed down the process of making this list. Most of the planet does not use .HWP format files. See here for some useful advice on the subject. Next time I receive an HWP file, I will simply ignore it. (No, I won’t tell you I’m not accepting it, I will simply mark the work as not completed.) This is what most people outside Korea who are sent HWP files by email will do, after all… also, some of you should review the formatting guidelines for written work, which are here.

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