Two weekends ago, I organized and held my final event as the Chicago- Great Lakes NSLI-Y Alumni Representative! I cannot believe that this role of mine is over. I have served as an Alumni Representative for NSLI-Y through American Councils for 2 years now, it is pretty bittersweet to know that my term is coming to an end. Technically, I am still the Chicago Alumni Representative until the end of December… but because I will be in Korea with NSLI-Y… I will not be able to have any more events in Chicago. (But maybe I can participate in a virtual event? We will see~ Last fall, I participated in an iEarn webinar, so maybe something like that ^^)
But luckily for me, this event turned out great! Attendance was amazing and I loved being able to end my role as an alum representative with such a successful event.
Before the event began, I met up with some of my really good friends: Katie & Alice! (Katie – Seoul Summer ’17 alum & Korea AY ’18-19 // Alice – Seoul Summer ’18) We planned to have lunch before the event with Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn is the another Korea AY ’18-19 participant that lives in Chicago! (That means 3 of us are in IL! Reunions are going to be great~) Katie and I have been so excited to finally meet up with her.
Us four went out to have Korean food (I know… ironic choice. We will have plenty of Korean food during the next 9 months but… we had a craving we needed to satisfy. I say this even though I had Korean twice the week prior when I was in NYC XD ). We ordered 비빔밥 (Bibimbap – Korean mixed rice with assorted vegetables & beef) and 삼겹살 (Samgyeopsal – Grilled Pork Belly AKA Korean Barbeque)
The idea of this event was basically to welcome back the returning participants from all the NSLI-Y Summer programs (of course all alumni were invited, though). The event was held at a bubble tea shop in Chicago’s China Town. I wanted us to all just sit together in a casual environment and just discuss a variety of topics.
At first, I was nervous that the event attendees would mostly be alumni from past programs (not necessarily this summer’s); however, I was pleasantly surprised! We had quite a few new alumni! (Mostly from China, Taiwan, and Korea programs)
The 2 hours went by very quickly as we all sat around a long wooden table talking about our experiences abroad, funny moments, culture shock, reverse culture shock, future goals, how to continue language learning post-program, and the vast amount of opportunities available for exchange alumni. It was a blast! The day was filled with lots of laughs!
Let me tell you about a hilarious moment from the event that occurred before many of the attendees arrived (only Alice, Kaitlyn, Katie and I were seated), we started playing this game with our bubble tea drinks to pass the time. This involved someone closing their eyes and holding the bubble tea straw in one hand. Another person swirls the bubble tea drink and places it randomly on the table. Then, they tap the top of the drink. Finally, the person who has their eyes closed proceeds to stab their straw through the drink (They have to guess where it is). It is funny because people usually fail haha, Unfortunately, this time, Katie stabbed the cup weirdly and it collapsed in on itself causing the cup to break and spill its contents out onto the table. It was hilarious! (And I got it on video– check out the link at the bottom of this blog post)
After two hours, the event ended but we all still hung out afterward for a little bit to chat more, take some photos, and say our goodbyes~ It was such a nice afternoon, and I was really happy to have met so many amazing alumni! I hope I can meet up with some of them again eventually (Should I organize an informal unofficial alumni meetup? haha)
I snapchatted the entire event on NSLIY’s official Snapchat (nsliforyouth).
Here is the link to where you can watch the story! Enjoy~
Thanks for reading! I plan to upload my AY packing list as my next post? Or… maybe I will finally get my host family information!! A girl can dream! ❤
- Emma (엠마)