Saturday, April 12, 2008


The English Village is within walking distance from the Hyeri Art Valley. It wouldn't have make sense if I did not make it a part of my itinerary in Paju. When I first heard about the EV, I was like asking why would anyone build a full-scale English town for the sake of learning English. But the fact that it exists, shows that English language education is indeed a huge and lucrative business in Korea. It is no myth that an English teacher, teaching in a language school in Korea, earns much more than many company employees walking in the street of Seoul. But there is catch. The Korean Immigration will only issue the E2 work visa (solely for the purpose of teaching English) to passport holders of the following 6 countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, UK & Ireland and USA.

Back to EV before I get too carried away. This is how I would describe the EV after my visit: It is a fully-equipped English language school cum a theme park. Since it is a theme park, I need to buy myself an entrance ticket which cost 6,000won. The ticket came with a EV passport and a guide. The guide is written in Korean but the ticketing staff was kind enough to point out those events which I could participate for free and their start-time and venue. After that, I was instructed to show the EV passport to the officer at the "immigration checkpoint" and have a simple English conversation with him. It was a simple dialogue alright. The officer only asked "where are you from?" and "why do you come to English Village?". Piece of cake, of course. After that, he stamped on the passport and off I went to the main gate of the EV which looks like a castle gate. By the way, the opening hours for EV are between 9:30 and 22:00 and it is closed on Monday.

At the main entrance of EV. EV looks like a theme park alright.

Immediately after entering the main gate, I was greeted by the Market Street. Residing on both sides of this street are bakery, bookstore, cafe, eatery, restaurant, gift shop, museum and convenience store. Visitors are required to use English in these facilities and they are real and not mock-ups. Through the public address system, visitors were reminded repeatedly that only English is allowed to be spoken in the EV and speaking in Korean is prohibited. English language programmes which are available in the EV were also broadcasted from time to time. When there is no announcement, English children songs and stories were played through the system. Perhaps this is what is called "immersion".

I was actually going downhill as I walked along the Market Street . There was tram rail on the street but I guess it was there merely for aesthetic purpose since I didn't see any tram or trolley moving about in the village. It wasn't too long before I arrived at the central of EV where the grand City Hall building is seated. Beside sightseeing, there were outdoor activities for the kids like line-dancing and word game. EV Kids characters would also be around at the central area for photo taking.

Bakery Sobriquet. One of the many shops along Market Street.

Double Decker Pub. I think it is a English Pub History museum.

An English tram.

The grand City Hall building seated right at the end of the Main Street.

The City Hall building fronted by a water fountain

This is Hippokey. Now you know why I describe EV as a theme park.

This is Teero, a lion cub, entertaining the kids along the Main Street.

A EV dance instructress teaching the kids and their parents line-dancing.

Other freebie that came with the ticket was a 30 mins long musical play at the Concert Hall. Watching the performance was the last activity I did in the EV. Frankly, I didn't find it entertaining but then again the play is meant for the kids. Though it was an English play, the performers were apparently quite in tune with the Korean pop culture. Things like Wonder Girls and their signature dance moves in "Tell Me" came out during the play to keep the audience amused.

The Concert Hall where musical play is staged.

Children playing at the fountain in front of the Concert Hall.

A view that looks out to Hyeri Art Valley from the Concert Hall.

A view of the Artis Avenue which terminates at the Concert Hall.

A view of the Oxford Avenue.

The Outdoor Theatre. A nice place for family picnic.

Domitory for students on short-term English language programme.

The Unicef building. It was the last building I saw before exiting EV.

The English Village is actually much bigger than what I can show here. There are many more buildings in the EV which my photos do not show. Without entering any of the buildings, it took me about an hour plus to cover most part of the village. All in all, I spent about 2 hours at the place but there are probably many more things which I do not get to see. Then again, I probably need not to, since the kids are the EV's targeted audience. I left EV feeling in awe, not so much by the size of the place or the buildings but by the fact that a place like this was even built in the first place. But it is incredibly true in Korea and I guess you have to see it to believe it.

A view of the Market Street just after entering the EV.


  1. Hi Equinox. How long were you in Korea this time? Are you back home? I look forward to reading more about his trip. Keep the posts coming...

  2. I am still in Korea... at least my heart still is ㅋㅋㅋ
    Ok, more posts coming up.