Teaching at KMU

As a former lecturer in the General Education Dept at Kookmin University, I taught conversational English, which in my courses included speech writing, presentation skills and public speaking, as well as an out-of-class real-life assignment interviewing foreigners. Over the course of my 6 years at KMU, I collected hundreds of life stories from my students.

When I first started asking students to write about a turning point in their lives, I knew I was on to something important. Listening to them recount their challenges and subsequent victories, I knew these stories should be heard by a wider audience, and the Life Story Project started taking shape.

1)An anthology of short stories about the lives of university students in Korea;
2)A textbook for teachers, including guided lesson plans, sample speeches, and comments from students;
3)An interactive website for university students, both in Korea and abroad, where they can submit written stories in English, ask for and receive help with topic ideas, basic writing skills, grammar corrections, and proofreading, ending up with a polished work published in an anthology.

There is a recent interest in many countries to know more about Koreans, and a fascination with the culture of what used to be called the ‘hermit kingdom’ but now has a woman president for the first time, and all kinds of artists and performers like PSY taking the world by storm.

If you are interested in supporting or contributing to this project, contact me at, or here on my website. For more information about how to submit your own Life Story, see for guidelines and a sample story.

Thank you,
Robin Debacker
Liege, Belgium

THE JOY OF WRITING, IN THEIR OWN WORDS: An Anthology of Speeches, PLUS Writing Tips, Teaching Guidelines, and Feedback from Students~ Compiled and edited by Robin Debacker at Kookmin University, Seoul, Korea, 2007-2012


  1. Best wishes Robin for this great project! Such a project would be a great bridge of understanding and communication between Korea and the rest of the world. I hope those you wrote to in Korea will understand how valuable your study, the resources you offer and publishing all are.

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