Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know…in Gwangju: Arlo Matisz

Photo Courtesy of Arlo Matiz

Photo Courtesy of Arlo Matisz

 This week we’re looking at a few hosts from GFN.  We’re going to start off with the host of “City of Light.”  A long-time member of the community, you’ll generally find him helping out with just about any cause that comes up.  He’s intelligent, generous, and a good friend.  Here, in his own words, is Arlo Matisz…a person you should know in Gwangju.
How long have you been in Gwangju?
I first came here in 2005. Over the years I’ve been in and out of Korea, I’m now in my fifth year of living in this wonderful country.
What do you do here in Gwangju?
I teach English and economics at Chosun University, and I am the host of ‘City of Light’ on GFN, the local public radio station.
What did you do before you took up your current job?
I had gone back to school in Canada to become overeducated, Before that, I was teaching middle school in Gwangju.
What has been your most rewarding achievement?
Completing my masters in economics, a goal which took 5 years from conception to execution. It was the first time I took education seriously, and the first time that I enjoyed it.
What do you do for fun?

Photo Courtesy of Arlo Matiz

Photo Courtesy of Arlo Matisz

I like to read, make jewellery, and spend time with those near and dear, preferably near some trees and water.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?
I left my country for the first time to live in a foreign land where I didn’t know the language, the culture, or any people.
Any Family/pets?
I’m lucky to have some friends here that I consider family, and family at home that I consider friends.
What’s something you wish you could do?
I wish I could help people be happy.
Any embarrassing stories for public consumption?
My kindergarten teacher tried to hold me back a grade. I didn’t play well with others. During my first degree, I was asked to withdraw from my university on two separate non-consecutive occasions for poor grades.
Is there any person you admire?
 There are quite a few people I admire personally, and I’ve chosen to be friends with those people, or been lucky enough to count them as family. For someone I’ve never met, Richard          Feynman has had a great influence on my thinking.
Any personal code you live by?
‘We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.’ It’s from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Mother Night. I pretend to be a teacher and a student, and both have worked out pretty well.
What’s your perfect day in Gwangju?
A day off, spent outdoors, with someone I care about.
Is there any place in Gwangju you recommend?
Go down by the river and watch the birds and the fish. They seem happy, and they don’t own anything,
Photo Courtesy of Arlo Matiz

Photo Courtesy of Arlo Matisz

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?
Move to a city where you know no one.
Any advice you want to give the people of Gwangju?
Think about the ways that what you do affects those around you; the natives of this country that have allowed you to be here, and the reputation and lives of the members of your own community.