|The English Village signage|
Talking to new generation Koreans are now easy with the help of English language. This country is no longer ensnared with their own language because nowadays, they are gradually embracing the English language to connect to the world. Although there are still a lot of young Koreans who cannot speak English, at least some of them are learning the language, thanks to the Hagwons and other English training centers in Korea. One of the most popular language education institutions I guess in South Korea is the English Village. This is an education program that provides an environment for the students to speak English language as a way to communicate with people. Koreans don’t need to go out of the country and learn the language because these English Villages can help them immersed into it through the aid of the activities and programs.
Two of these English Villages are located in Gyeonggi province. One is located in Paju, and the other one is in Yangpyeong. And yes, I’ve visited both villages for a tour. Weird, right? These places are actually an educational institution and not tourist spots, but the thought of bringing a village with English-speaking culture in another country makes it a very interesting place to visit.
|RIGHT: Entrance to Gyeonggi English Village, Yangpyeong Camp|
LEFT: Entrance to Gyeonggi English Village, Paju Camp
So what is this culture I am talking about? Well, if I am going to compare the English camp in Paju and in Yangpyeong, I can see a lot of similarities as well as the differences. I can share some of them so that in case you decide to visit one of the camp, you know what to expect.
1. The red telephone booth
Let’s start with the most obvious, the red telephone booth. Both camps have several telephone booths, and it’s not just a telephone booth, it is a red telephone booth. But it’s not working, it’s just there for display.
|One of the many red telephone booths in the camp|
What about these red telephone booths?
Well, I always associate this with British colonies. In fact, this is a British cultural icon and when you go to UK (not that I’ve been there), this is a common sight, and you can easily spot it because it’s…..red!
2. Statues of the Foot Guards
Have you been to Buckingham Palace?
I haven’t been there. Hahaha
But if there’s something recognizable when you go there, it’s the shouting red color of the foot guards. They usually wear red, black pants and an awkward looking black hat. I am sorry I don’t know how to describe their uniform, but it looks something like this!
|Statue of the foot guard|
And you can see these statues both in the Paju camp and Yangpyeong camp because obviously, they can’t bring foot guards here in South Korea
3. A perfect shooting location
I guess what makes this place an instant star is because both campuses have been the shooting location of different Korean TV shows. For example, the Gyeonggi English Village in Yangpyeong has been the shooting location of “Boys Over Flowers.
|Shooting location of Boys Over Flower|
The English Village in Paju on the other hand has been a shooting location of the TV show, Running Man. If you are a fan of these shows, then I guess it’s enough reason to visit the place
When we say England, we could not help but associate one of its famous cultural property, the STONEHENGE!!! In one of the gates of English village in Paju, there’s a Stonehenge inspired structure. Although it’s not exactly a replica of Stonehenge, it is obviously all about it.
|Stonehenge inspired structure in Paju camp|
In Yangpyeong campus, there is no such thing as this.
5. Statue of Liberty
|A replica of statue of liberty at Yangpyeong camp|
If there’s one thing in Yangpyeong that you cannot see in Paju, it’s the Statue of Liberty which we always associate to New York. This striking structure is undeniably an effective strategy of Yangpyeong campus to remind everyone that this is an English speaking place.
6. The little Prince
|Life size Little Prince at Yangpyeong camp|
Another thing present in Yangpyeong is the homage to the well loved novel of Korea, The Little Prince. There is no such thing in Paju, but in Yangpyeong, you can find a human size Little Prince in the area.
7. Botanical Garden
|Botanical Garden at Paju camp|
Although both campuses are surrounded by mountains and trees, the Paju campus has its own botanical garden inside the building. It’s not that all the floras and faunas in the surrounding mountain is not enough, this place is made in an indoor area.
8. Railbike inside the campus
|Railbike at Paju camp|
An additional fun activity to enjoy your visit in Paju English village is the railbike which is built inside the campus.
In Yangpyeong, there’s also a railbike but it’s already outside the campus.
I guess if I have to sum it up, the Paju campus is an England inspired village while the Yangpyeong campus is a US inspired village. But that’s just me. You be the judge if you visit one or both campuses.
HOW TO GO THERE:
Paju Campus Address: 40 Eoreumsil-ro, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
Via Subway: Get off at Hapjeong Station, go to Exit 2 and take Bus number 2200 and then get off at Paju English Village.
Yangpyeong Campus Address: 209 Yeonsu-ro, Yongmun-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun, Gyeonggi-do
Via Subway: Get off at Yongmun Station, that’s the last station of GyeonguiJungang Line. When you arrived at Yongmun Station, go to Exit 1 and take a Taxi to "Yongeo Maul". It costs around 5,000 won.
If I have to choose between the Yangpyeong camp and Paju camp, my heart goes to the Paju camp.