Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Rob Smith

Good day Gwangju! I hope you are all enjoying your Friday, and are staying warm! This week we have another member of the community to meet. This community member has been here for almost 13 years and is one of the champions for Gwangju’s Animal Shelter. For those of you that are looking for a place to donate your time or money, (or maybe looking for a new furry family member) I’d like you to meet this weeks person you should know in Gwangju.

Dog Shelter

Dog Shelter

Name…Rob Smith

Occupation…English Instructor at Chosun University

Hometown…Rodney, Ontario

Length of time in Korea…Just under 13 years, I came to Korea in March, 2004.

My hometown is famous for…having the smallest, oldest jail in North America. Many years ago the town renovated it and tried to market it as a tourist attraction. It didn’t work.

I wish I could…find a home for every shelter dog in Gwangju.

If I could have any superpower it would be…teleportation. I love traveling but hate paying for plane tickets 😉

My nickname is…Smitty

Nieces in Canada

With my nieces in Canada

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…Breaking Bad

My favorite sport to play is…baseball.

The food I am best known for is…barbecued meat cooked on my grill on my patio.

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is…my apartment where I currently live.

On my days off I like to…volunteer at the Gwangju Animal Shelter

My favorite movie is…Good Will Hunting, Back to the Future, and many many more

How did you end up in Gwangju? I was a business major in university and worked at 2 different accounting firms after graduating university. I was unhappy and unsatisfied in that line of work, and after I left my second firm I was very lost and confused about my career path. I was on the job website “Monster” looking for ideas and inspiration when I stumbled across a post by a recruiter looking for teachers in Korea. I had always wanted to travel again (my only other big trip was a backpacking trip in Europe during university), so I decided to submit my resume. The recruiter placed me in Gwangju, and 3 weeks later I was on a plane to Korea.  

What is your best tip for living in Korea? Get involved in the community. Ask yourself, “what is my passion?”, and search for others that share that same passion. Chances are there is already a club or group that does that thing, but if not, start it yourself. Also, learn to read Korean. It makes your life so much easier, especially at restaurants.  

Dinner with friends

Dinner with friends

What is your surefire way to beat the blues when you are feeling homesick? Easy – hop on Skype and video chat with family or a close friend.

What is the oddest job you have ever had? Two come to mind – The first was in high school when I was the lobby cleaner at McDonald’s. I spent a lot of time cleaning public bathrooms and changing garbages. It was pretty gross at times. The second was my summer job between first and second year of university. I worked at the local wood factory manufacturing house and truck flooring. I unloaded raw materials, piled wood on carts, trimmed wood with a saw, and was even the forklift driver’s assistant. It was a hard job, a 10 hour afternoon shift 4 nights a week, and it definitely motivated me to study harder in university.

What is your favorite game to play? Euchre (the greatest card game EVER)

Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you. When I was in middle school our house was struck by lightning on a Saturday afternoon in February. There was a huge explosion when the bolt came down our TV antenna, through the basement window and hit our electric power box. 20 minutes before the explosion I was in the same room playing Nintendo. The only reason I stopped playing was because my mom told me to go upstairs and do my homework.  

Describe your dream day in Gwangju. It would be sometime in mid May on a Sunday – I sleep in late, enjoy brunch at the First Alleyway, spend the afternoon walking dogs at the Gwangju Animal Shelter, come home and shower, head to Champions Field and watch a KIA Tigers game, eat dinner at Thai Holic with friends after the game, and watch a movie on my couch with my 2 dogs to wrap up the day.  

Kia Tigers game

Kia Tigers game

Are there any places/services/experiences in Gwangju you can recommend that a lot of people may not know about? I think you can pretty much find anything you need or want by just asking on the Gwangju page on Facebook nowadays.  

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju? I volunteer at the Gwangju Animal Shelter, and this year I was the treasurer for the Adopt-A-Child for Christmas initiative.

What are some future plans that you have for your organization? Fundraising events (including one this Saturday), weekly visits to the shelter, and hopefully a lot more rescuing and finding homes for dogs.  

For more information about the shelter or their upcoming events please follow the links. This Saturday’s Fundraiser is being brought to you by: 

GACHI (Gwangju Animal Care Humane Institute), a logachical animal welfare non profit is hosting a fundraiser at a local doggie kindergarten. You can come between 6-9 to enjoy music and buy some baked goods and other items for pets. There is a 3,000 won entrance fee which will be donated. The profits will go towards buying dog food for the Gwangju Animal Shelter and to help dogs currently in rescue who need medical assistance. You may bring pets but they must stay on a leash. Hope to see you there 🙂 Please see the event poster for more details.