Living in Seoul: Trash Bags and Social Anxiety

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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

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Finding Housing in Korea: At Home In Hongdae – Charlestel Review

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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

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

seoulguide

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

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

Finding Funding: Studying Abroad in South Korea

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

Books I bought in Korean (and other acts of madness)

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새해 복 많이 받으세요!

It’s already been over a week since I left the Land of the Morning Calm and returned home – and discovered that Seoul has more snow than Michigan, which is terrible. Michigan, I feel betrayed!

In my three heavy suitcases, I lugged back my earthly possessions: clothes, gifts, selfie sticks, and of course, books. Textbooks, biographies, and works by Andrei Lankov, obviously, but more pertinent to my language studies, I brought back books in Korean.

Me in the Kyobo Bookstore inside Gwanghwamun Station

I am a firm believer that the more you read, the wiser you can become, and the better you learn to write and comprehend. It doesn’t matter what language you read in; it will help you. Korean is no exception, which is why I pushed myself to buy two novels that I know I cannot read without laboring over each paragraph. You can’t get better without challenging yourself. I also chose to buy poetry, because poetry is artistic and allows one to learn about the creative soul within a language.  Continue reading

The 4th Chaillot Human Rights Forum 2014 in Seoul

A few weeks ago, I attended the 4th Chaillot Human Rights Forum 2014. My professor for my Politics and Society of North Korea class is a researcher at KINU, or Korea Institute for National Reunification, and he invited his students to attend the forum as guests.

And so it begins. And so it begins. 통일 합시다!

The forum was hosted at the Joseon Westin Hotel in Seoul, South Korea. It was packed with reporters (at least for the first session), ambassadors, researchers, and Continue reading

“Please Try” – Temple Stay at Myogaksa, South Korea

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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 Adventures: The Sunday Struggle

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안녕하세요!

One thing that I had a lot of trouble with when I first arrived in Seoul was finding a church – both finding a church where I could attend on Sundays and literally finding the church on Sunday. I was saved by my best friend’s friend who graduated from Yonsei University and is a Catholic. She gave me directions to the church that she attended and recommended it because the 6PM service was geared towards a younger, college-age type of a crowd.

I went out to find it, leaving with plenty of time (or so I thought) to get there early and tuck myself away into a pew as unobtrusively as possible, but as luck would have it Continue reading

First Impressions: Public Transportation in Seoul

ais oo

안녕하세요!

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

Dissecting Korean Quotes

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안녕하세요!

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.

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