synopsis: a very frustated reader is failing her korean class while an equally flustered seungcheol is struggling in english o(^▽^)o
word count: 4,088 ٩(•́⌄•́๑)
It was not easy being an exchange student in Korea; you never claimed it was. Whatever possessed you to move from your home country to the world’s peak nation of academic competitiveness you couldn’t remember, but it was too late to turn back. You were the only non-Korean you knew of in the entire school– perhaps every other foreigner had given up– so the standards were never lowered. You were to march to the same drum as all the Korean students, and at times, that drum was far too harsh.
Take Calculus for example. Back home, the finding and properties of derivatives and integrals of functions wasn’t exactly easy, but it was possible. Your teacher was always willing to help individual students and, most importantly, everyone spoke English. But as you sat in the back of your Korean Calculus class (yes, the very back: you showed up to class your first day and the only open desk was a lonely slab of wood beneath a cruel air vent), you might as well have been asleep. The teacher stood behind his podium like an imposing statue, lecturing nonstop, and only said “Any questions?” just before the bell rang each day. Fearful of your next teacher, you scurried out despite being dazed and horribly confused. Each afternoon of yours was spent in that same classroom in tutoring, which arguably still didn’t help.
You promised your calculus teacher you would come, as he was so concerned about your grades that he had made it a requirement or else you would be pulled from the class. “I promise I can do it, I’m just a little behind everyone else, the Korean students, I mean… as you already know,” you sputtered. He chuckled every time.
But what was much more interesting than the droning of your teacher was his student aide: Choi Seungcheol. He sat in the very front during third period each day and paced the aisles between the desks during afternoon tutoring sessions. The faint scent of cotton and traces of cologne followed him past you, and you noticed yourself gripping your pencil a little tighter. “Ms. Y/N, are you still with us?” Your teacher would call, not stopping his chalk or tearing his vision from the board.
“Of course, sir,” you would stutter. Not once did you notice Seungcheol’s amused smirk behind you.