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…
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 →
Believe it or not, but I’m headed back to Seoul this summer – back to Yonsei University, in fact. I seem to be blessed with endless doors opening for me over the past two years and so I’m planning on charging full speed ahead (hoping that I won’t charge headfirst into a closed door anytime soon).
Yonsei University runs a summer program called YISS, or Yonsei International Summer School. It’s a relatively short program of about a month and a half that is geared towards international exchange students who come and take a Korean language course alongside one or two regular academic courses.
But beyond the classroom! Wherein lie the true lessons of life! And Korean. Because studying at KLI/YISS is all very well and good but speaking Korean with the convenience store clerk, or navigating the subways and bus routes, or asking for directions to a performing arts center to attend a musical – this is the stuff that truly challenges. That proves whether the classroom has provided the foundation and whether I trust myself to stand on that base of knowledge – and most importantly, whether I can lead myself and others through moments of challenge both great and small.
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?
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.
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 →
So, you’ve been accepted to that awesome study abroad program. You’re looking at plane tickets (nothing new, probably) that you might actually buy (that’s very new, actually). You’re googling the best places to visit in Seoul, the best way to travel to Busan, the top tasty spots in Myeongdong. You’re reviewing your vocab lists. You’re wondering if you can work in a trip to Jeju Island during Chuseok. What’s happening? You’re going to Korea!
But first, you have to apply for a visa. And the process is a maddening, confusing, difficult process.
But it’s a necessary evil. That’s why I’m going to explain how I did it, what went wrong, and how I survived the process.