Korea 2016: Sungkyunkwan Student

ais oo

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A year and one week ago I announced that I was headed back to Yonsei University and Seoul for the summer. Guess what! I’m going back, and this time it’s to Sungkyunkwan University. That’s right. The location of Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Let that sink in for a bit.

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Same, Tablo, same.

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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

“Please Try” – Temple Stay at Myogaksa

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I wrote a post for my Reach the World classroom this past weekend about my experience at a temple in Seoul (Reach the World is a program that I joined via the Gilman Scholarship which is supporting my studies abroad; it is designed to connect world travelers and exchange students from the United States with K-12th classrooms). While I am constrained by space and writing level for those pieces – because I am assigned 2nd graders – I really wanted to expand on my experience on my seouldream blog. The temple stay indubitably ranks as one of my top three experiences in Korea thus far. I cannot think of a better way to have spent my weekend than to have lived in a Buddhist temple for two days and one night, and I hope that after reading this, you’ll want to experience it too.  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.

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The Cost of Living in Seoul: Student Style

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It’s unbelievable that I’ve already been in Seoul for over a week and a half, and today is my fourth day of classes. The amount and variety of things to do can be a little overwhelming, so I haven’t been very good about writing posts….Yes, yes, dishonor on me, dishonor on my cow….

Living in Seoul for even just a week and a half has given me a good sense of the cost of living – if you take out the cost of a place to stay. I live in a dorm on campus, and compared to my home university’s housing fees, it is very cheap.

There are other things that cost money, however. Food, clothes, transportation, coffee (there are innumerable cafes in every direction), tours, traveling (cross-country, like to Busan, as opposed to within Seoul). And textbooks/printing out class assignments and readings.  Continue reading

First Impressions: Public Transportation in Seoul

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Writing this from Seoul, South Korea! This is my first post from the Land of the Morning Calm.

I arrived in Incheon International Airport last Sunday afternoon, and now it’s another Sunday afternoon and I have a little bit of time before I go to 광화문광장 (Gwanghwamun Plaza) and 동대문 (Dongdaemun). I intend to use the coming week to share some things that I’ve seen or learned this past week. Today I’m going to talk about getting around the city.  Continue reading