Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Alex Holland

Hello Gwangju! I hope all are enjoying this last full February week, and are getting ready for the new school year beginning next week. This week we have a community member that has been here for over four and a half years, and in that time has managed to scope out some great places to visit near and far. Here is this weeks person you should know, in his own words.


Hiking in Autumn

Hiking in Autumn

Name…Alex Holland

Occupation…English Teacher

Hometown…Shebbear, Devon, UK

At Halmi Bawi with the Bongseong climbing gym community(1)

At Halmi Bawi with the Bongseong climbing gym community

Length of time in Korea…about 4 years 6 months

My hometown is famous for…The Devil’s stone. The villagers have to turn it over every November or the devil comes out and destroys the world.

I wish I could…Cook!

If I could have any superpower it would be…The ability to make things grow and flourish at a thought.

A book I read once a year is…Any book I can get my hands on. I read a lot but I don’t often reread books. Right now I’m reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

My nickname is…Sloth

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…The Walking Dead

My favorite sport to play is…Rock climbing! I love climbing.

The food I am best known for is…Pumpkin pie! I can almost cook it right.

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is…All of the peaceful hiking routes away from Mudeungsan and the little villages tucked up next to them.


Under the Student Independence Memorial, Ssangcheondong

Under the Student Independence Memorial, Ssangcheondong

On my days off I like to…Play board games, miniature games or go climbing.


My favorite movie is…If I had to pick only one then maybe City Of God. I love how energetic it is.

How did you end up in Gwangju? Good question. I’m glad I did though.

What is your best tip for living in Korea? Try learning Korean. It takes a while but it’s worth it.

What is your surefire way to beat the blues when you are feeling homesick? Fried egg sandwich. Works every time.

What is the oddest job you have ever had? I was an extra in a trot video. Me and a couple of other foreigners had to pretend to be friends with the singer. It was pretty fun and we got lots of free food.

What is your favorite game to play? Right now either Magic: The Gathering (although I’m really bad at it) or Frostgrave, a miniature wargame in which you control a wizard looking for treasure.

Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you. I used to DJ in Chile.

Describe your dream day in Gwangju. The sun is shining but it’s not hot. There is a breeze and I’m outside. Work has been cancelled!

Playing with toys - a game of Frostgrave in progress

Playing with toys – a game of Frostgrave in progress

Are there any places/services/experiences in Gwangju you can recommend that a lot of people may not know about? I’d really like to encourage people to get out and about! Cycle to Mokpo, Naju or Damyang. Go hiking away from the main routes on Mudeung, such as the southerly ridge to Anyangsan, Manyeonsan above Hwasun, or Odeungsan which overlooks the women’s university. Getting out and about really gives you a sense of the land. Sometimes your adventures might fail but sometimes you’ll find somewhere totally new.

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju? I’m part of a group of tabletop wargamers, and I’m a pretty active climber at the gyms downtown.

What are some future plans that you have for your organization? Uh….climb more? Also I’d like to encourage more people to climb, and also join our little tabletop wargaming community!

Small temple entrance on Mudeung mountain

Small temple entrance on Mudeung mountain