|Hi, can you tell me about studying in Korea? Specifically, I'm reallllllly interested in directly enrolling into Yonsei, but my concern is that because I cannot speak Korean well enough to hold a conversation I won't be able to make Korean (and other international) friends...Has this been your experience? How did language/cultural barriers affect your ability to form friendships with local students? My worst fear is that I'll go to Korea and get stuck in an american bubble. Thank you so much!|
I didn’t directly enroll in Yonsei - I went through a study abroad program - but I did live on campus. They have two international dorms that they can house students in, and sometimes they assign you a Korean roommate. If you directly enroll through Yonsei you might be able to live in their other dorms. Maybe? I’m not sure about that. Unfortunately if you live in the international dorms you will likely end up in an English-speaking bubble - but on the plus side, only about half of the residents are American! \o/
There are classes in English that will have people from all over the world in them that are meant for international students. There are also classes taught in English that are meant for Korean students - I know multiple people who were the only foreign student in some of their classes.
I wish I could say it was really easy making friends with local students, but it wasn’t. :/ It’s much easier if you join a club though! The hard part with that is that some are in such high demand they have to interview everyone, and if you don’t speak Korean then you usually don’t make the cut. I had friends in the rowing team and in the art club and they met a lot of local students who liked to practice English with them. They made a lot of friends! I was in something called Mentor’s Club, which is a pretty popular option. A group of foreign students gets assigned 2 or 3 “mentors,” aka Korean students, and then you hang out a lot together as a group. I loved my group, we did a lot of exciting stuff together.
I was extremely lucky because the program I went through (CIEE) had Korean student volunteers who ended up being great friends with all of us in the program.
I hope this helped a bit, even if it wasn’t exactly what you wanted to hear. Feel free to send me more questions if you’d like! ^^
|Posted 1 week ago|
I miss Korean food. A lot.
Here’s some North Korean soldiers getting a look at me at the DMZ. I’ve returned home from Korea (sadfaces ;_____;) but I still have plenty of things to say and picture to post! More DMZ shots coming soon.
|Posted 5 months ago|
My last dolsot bibimbap dinner from the best dolsot bibimbap restaurant ever. :( Look at it in all it’s beauty. This was before I stirred it up, of course.
|Posted 5 months ago||3 notes|
I leave Korea tomorrow. It’s incredibly hard to take in. I had so many expectations coming into this semester, and my experience far exceeded any of them. Goodbyes are awful and hard, though. Especially when you know you’ll likely never see a lot of people ever again. I’ll keep updating this blog though, since I still have pictures and memories to share! SO MANY PICTURES.
Some of my pictures from this past week. From top to bottom: Mountain view in Myeongdong; the view outside a Tom n Toms cafe in Sinchon; the main road in traditional Insadong; view down a road in Sinchon very early in the morning; the walk up to the dorm just as dawn comes.
|Posted 5 months ago||8 notes|
These are from the tour I took of the beautiful Changdeokgung Palace’s Secret Gardens. This is the only official guided tour I took in Korea (besides the DMZ). This place was by far one of the most beautiful I’d been to. It has a fascinating history, including being burned to the ground and rebuilt multiple times. Today, only about 30% of the original structures remain due to the Japanese occupation of Korea. This was a favorite site of Joseon Dynasty kings and princes. It was kind of cool being in pavilions that princes used to relax inside of. The last Emperor of Korea spent his days at this palace, deemed one of 5 Grand Palaces.
|Posted 5 months ago||10 notes|
Here I am in my natural environment—paying attention to my camera and not what’s going on around me.
I took this picture - she’s one of CIEE’s gorgeous resident photographers!
I leave this place in less than a week. I’m busy studying for finals, spending time with friends who I might never see again, visiting places I’ll miss and places I’ve never been before, and trying to reconcile the fact that I can’t wait to go home but I also never want to leave.
|Posted 5 months ago||2 notes|
Korea is all about themes. Princess cafes, cat or dog cafes, Hello Kitty restaurants, giant theme rooms, etc etc. Japan has this trend as well (maid cafes, anyone? yeah.). This is the Totoro restaurant in the Edae neighborhood. It was super cute, and the food was in my college kid budget lol.
|Posted 5 months ago||10 notes|
I figured since the last time I talked about what I was hearing in stores and cafes was at the beginning of the semester, it was about time to do it again!
First, for boy bands and girl groups. Currently SHINHWA’s new song is getting a lot of airtime - which is good, since I love them and the song. :3 I don’t hear 2PM around too much, but I’m always happy when I hear 하.니.뿐. on, because that’s probably my favorite 2PM song ever, and also a song I got to see performed live at Music Core! Occasionally I hear Smoky Girl from MBLAQ too, which I saw them pre-record at Music Core as well. Secret’s new single gets a fair bit of air time as well. I’m still hearing SHINee around too!
There was a store in Myeongdong the other day playing Mirotic (trying to appeal to Japanese tourists? lol) which made me so happy and nostalgic and ;aslkdjfalsd. :(((
But basically, Akdong Musican. Akdong Musician gets played CONSTANTLY. They are everywhere. There’s no escaping them. Korea also really likes Lee Hi.
BoA and Kyuhyun’s new OST tracks are getting a fair bit of play time as well!
Also….Gentleman just came on in this cafe. :| Korea isn’t done with this song yet.
And that’s what I’ve been hearing around Korea in the past few weeks! ^^
|Posted 5 months ago||3 notes|