Story time: Gangnam Style Clubbing

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It’s time for round two of story-telling. Let’s get this throwback Thursday rolling. For this story, I want to take it back to fall 2014, when I went clubbing for the first and last time. It started with a persuasive conversation with people who loved clubbing and knew me too well at the time.

“We’re going clubbing – you have to come.”

“No thanks.”

“Look, Taeyang is going to perform there tonight – you know Taeyang, right? Isn’t he in that boy band you listen to?”  Continue reading

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Story time: getting lost on Namsan

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I’m starting a new section for my blog – story time! I hope you’re as excited as I am. I plan to share my personal experiences in Korea through sweet and silly vignettes, with a new post coming out every Thursday. Basically, it’s the blog version of #tbt (throwback Thursday). 재미있겠죠? 그럼 지금부터 해보겠스니다.

I will open with asking you this: which mountain is the best mountain for eating Continue reading

Taking out the trash in Seoul

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During my third time in Korea, one of the things I struggled with the most was one of the simplest household tasks – taking out the trash. It may be second nature to Seoulites who are accustomed to buying the correct regulated trash bags in the right size, sorting out what goes in which bag, and then figuring out where and when they’re allowed to actually put the filled bags outside their homes…but it wasn’t so easy for me. Continue reading

Charlestel: At Home in Hongdae

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This piece is part of Seoul Guide, a series of posts for foreigners trying to navigate living in Seoul, South Korea

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This is a follow-up post for Finding Housing for Study Abroad in Seoul filled with specifics about where I lived for the two months I spent studying Korean and doing research for a human rights course at Sungkyunkwan University this past summer. Since I am no longer in Seoul, I’m comfortable sharing my housing details! Woohoo!  Continue reading

Finding Housing for Study Abroad in Seoul

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This piece is part of Seoul Guide, a series of posts for foreigners trying to navigate living in Seoul, South Korea

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Out of all the time I spent on preparing for my two month adventure in Seoul this past summer, I spent about 95% of it solely on housing. Like when I applied for a visa back in 2014, I felt like I was going to lose my mind – this time with the stress of securing safe, affordable, decent living conditions. On the bright side…I (re)learned quite a bit of housing-related vocabulary that I had been so sure I would never need back when I still took Korean classes.

There are several different housing options available for foreigners going to South Korea for study abroad Continue reading

Guide: Getting to/from Incheon International Airport

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If you’re traveling to South Korea via a plane, you’re probably trying to figure out how to get from the airport in Incheon to Seoul. Even though almost everything is in English, if you don’t speak Korean, getting out of the airport might be intimidating (and even if you do speak Korean, it still may feel a bit overwhelming). Here are your options.  Continue reading

Finding Funding: Seoul Adventures

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Apparently this is my hundred-and-one-diest post! Should have done a giveaway or something…but I have no money to give away, so here’s my gift to you: how to get money (from people other than me).

No one knows better than I the challenge of finding, applying for, and receiving scholarships and awards to enable a study abroad trip. There are a hundred requirements to qualify, and even if you do, you have to write countless essays and wait in increasing panic and desperation for an email that says “OK, here’s your $$$.”

The stages of desperation…

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The desperation gets real when you’re looking at fees and tuition totaling thousands and thousands of dollars. And they’re due in a week. And you have to provide a bank statement proving you have those funds to apply for a visa. And you own only two potatoes. 

But then the money comes and you could not be more incredibly grateful and want to write letters of gratitude to the providers and suddenly you dream of becoming rich so that you can donate massive amounts of money to help all the other people who want to study abroad be able to do it, too.

 

……but finding the funding in the first place can be the hardest part, which is why I’m going to share tips and some specific funding resources that enabled my study abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul last semester. Continue reading

Seoul Sounds: Music is food for the soul

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Warning: this is rambling, a bit introspective, and entirely related to my experience of sounds in Seoul (If you want to read some points about concerts, albums and music stores, just scroll down to where it says Let’s talk about music).

How can NELL's CDs be so pretty?

How can NELL’s CDs be so pretty?

It took an unacceptable amount of time to rephrase the title for this post, so I hope you appreciate it in all its glorious simplicity and soul/seoul-iness. I am sitting here with three brand new albums (well, I was when I wrote this on October 16th) and feeling moderately victorious over surviving three of my four classes’ finals (let’s not talk about how they went, just acknowledge the fact that they’re over). I have multiple Korean exams and tests left of course, but I’ve studied enough today and I need to catch up on some blog posts!

Music is life for me. I listen to music almost constantly, although I have a deep appreciation for silence – both the kind where I am silent and I listen to the noises that the world around me creates, and the kind where everything is so silent that you can hear your own heartbeat pushing blood through your head. Silence is a beautiful thing, and in Seoul, it is rarely so silent that the latter is possible. The former, however, is a glorious thing to experience. I love sitting outside at night as the weather gets colder and listening to the wind twist through the trees and sends leaves scattering across the pavement for adorable ahjussis to sweep up in the morning. The night is crisp and alive in its own beautiful way. I don’t sit in the bustling downtown – no, I mean sitting outside near trees and buildings where people are sleeping or simply not there.

Continue reading

Dissecting Korean Quotes

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Recently, I’ve been particularly interested in dissecting famous sayings/quotes in Korean. Or not so famous ones. Any quotes in Korean, in general, are super interesting. I’ve always loved ‘collecting’ sayings in English – I absolutely adore Quotables and I even buy the cards just for myself. When I said collecting…I mean it. I do actually collect quotes.

20131026_225235 Continue reading

my 왜 of language learning

Do you ever pause and wonder why you’re doing something? What’s the point of continuing something? Maintaining focus and motivation while also keeping momentum is extremely difficult, and inability to do so can kill a passion if the passion isn’t strong enough to actually be called a passion. Continue reading