The Lotus Flower Bridge and Seven Treasure Bridge in Gyeongju, South Korea. Ian Schwartz will talk about his time in South Korea at the Northeast Harbor Library on Jan. 17.

South Korea is topic of Schwartz travel talk

MOUNT DESERT — Mount Desert Island native Ian Schwartz will talk about his experiences in South Korea at the final Recent Travel Talk at the Northeast Harbor Library on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m.

Schwartz is the son of Anne and Frank Schwartz, who have lived on MDI for more than 20 years. He graduated from MDI High School in 2005 and from Hampshire College in 2009. At that time, the economy was in freefall. Wanting to be a writer and to travel and have new experiences, he left for South Korea to teach English as a foreign language.

The first two years, he taught in a public school in Busan. Then he got a job as instructor at one of the best universities in the country, in Gyeongju, for another six years. He married there, and he and his Korean wife had two children. When the oldest child turned six, he and his wife decided to move to America to raise their children here.

During those eight years abroad, Schwartz was able to travel to other countries, including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Turkey and Georgia. Now that he has returned to America, he will share some of what he has learned from immersion in another culture. He works as a writer and has self-published six novels under the pen name Ian James. Two of these books concern his experiences in South Korea. Another is a historical novel set in the 10th century in Gyeongju, popularly known as “the Florence of South Korea.”

The hourlong presentation, which includes a question-and-answer session, is free and open to the public.

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