Mid-way Project Meeting, Mint Cafe, & Practice Topik Test {01/20-21/19} NSLI-Y Korea AY

01/20/19 Sunday

I definitely value the chill relaxing days sprinkled in between a tedious routine or busy, hectic days; however, I hate staying home all day when I’m trying to be productive. If I have no plans to study, then it’s great! But if I actually really need to get some work done, after a while I feel suffocated and cramped at home which leads me to start getting distracted over the smallest of things. Due to this lovely trait of mine, I think that going out to a cafe to study is always a good decision. Luckily for me, Josh was free on Sunday and so we met up at a nearby station of ours—풍산역—to go on a study grind! Instead of walking towards cafe village {think farmland!}, we went through the other exit and walked down streets that reminded me a lot of the Bronx. At first, we thought we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere to go but after walking a few blocks, we saw a bunch of cute, quirky cafes. They all looked pretty cool especially because they were not chain cafes {those are good but sometimes you want a unique experience!} 

We decided to go to this place called “Beans High Coffee” that had a lot of large table seating {4 seater tables} so it had the perfect environment for studying. The decorations seemed to focus on travels and lots of books. There was also a strange display of crocheted dolls? Maybe a hobby of the owners? Anyways, I ordered my usual green tea latte and the barista seemed nicer than the ones at other places. {He seemed genuine if that makes sense. Maybe cause it was obvious that this wasn’t his part-time job or anything} He told me that they closed at 6:30 today before I ordered which I thought was considerate and since I understood it, it put me in a good mood not gonna lie. Josh, the coffee snob that he is, ordered some Columbian bean roasted coffee or something of that nature. Something fancy!

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We studied there for about two and a half hours and I got a good amount of work done. There are some people that say they will come to a cafe to study with you but don’t actually end up wanting to study. Instead, they want to talk or goof off. Josh is the type that will take breaks every now and then to talk but knows when to just work. AKA He is a really good study buddy! At the cafe, I finished my writing assignment about a person I respect {I chose my mom!} and I was able to start on memorizing vocab words on Quizlet. 

When I was just about to separate from Josh, I got a text from my host mom telling me that everyone had plans tonight so I would need to grab dinner for myself; she left money in my room to do so. I ended up going to the 편의점 to buy 김밥 and snacks and then went to Olive Young to buy makeup wipes {a dinner unrelated errand}. I felt kind of free after finishing my writing assignment so I relaxed and ate my dinner for a bit before finishing memorizing my Quizlet words. 

01/21/19 Monday 

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View from my room in the morning ❤

Usually, we don’t have any schedules before Korean classes on Mondays but today was a little different: we would be having a mid-way meeting at Better World for our research project. When making my way to Better World, I exited the station from exit 3 since it was a closer walk and ended up running into Shada and Jenna. I saw them across the street and yelled their names; however, the non-green crosswalk signs kept us from meeting so that is what brought about these photos: 

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The meeting ended up starting a bit behind schedule because a couple people were late which put some people (cough cough the teachers) in a bad mood—understandable honestly. The meeting just consisted of the 쌤s checking up with us and making sure we realize that the project should already be halfway done by now. This was also an opportunity for each of the groups to present about their projects so far and get feedback for what they are doing. 

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I was so nervous to present about our project but it didn’t seem that we received too much criticism from the 쌤s. They thought that we should include that we were specifically doing a presentation on Korean single mothers {in case it wasn’t obvious to others…} but other than that, they just wanted us to finalize interview questions and such. It was easier than I thought it would be! 

After everyone presented about their topics, we went through a schedule of things to do for the upcoming meetings and then we ended for lunch. My supporter 혜린언니, Katie, and I went out for lunch at Flapjack Pantry… honestly, when are we not there? I feel like either we are eating 편의점 김밥 or you can find us eating pancakes at Flapjack Pantry. Lunch was a lot of fun~~ We didn’t have to worry about our project at this time; we were just able to relax! 

After we stuffed ourselves with carbs, we separated to go off to Korean class. While walking with 혜린언니 back to the subway station {well me to the center where my classes our held}, I talked to her all about life at 하나고. We had an especially long conversation about school uniforms as I complained about the stares and whispers I get. She told me that she also has gotten mad at her boyfriend for whispering about a foreigner before because you never know if they will understand. Though, I feel that it’s not wrong just when the foreigner can understand Korean.. it is kinda rude in general. 

Anyway, class today was really fast-paced. We ended up learning a full chapter of grammar points in one day which honestly made my head spin. They were not exactly too difficult but I felt like I needed more time to practice them so that I could use them naturally because I was still somewhat struggling when our teacher would ask me to make example sentences. In particular, there was one grammar point that we only gave like 10 or 15 minutes to. We had to rush to cover it at the end of class but … wow, I could not understand it very well. 

Another part of class was spent getting back and looking over our Topik tests. I was really pleasantly surprised… I mean technically I got like a C in both reading and listening but hey that’s honestly not that bad if you consider the fact that there are also questions on there for level 6 speakers who are considered fluent. My short writing score was not too good but the longer one was 40/50 points which made me really proud! My teacher said that I need to work on diversifying my grammar and using more advanced vocabulary, but she also did mention that my writing was the most understandable? Or like the content itself was? And I was able to convey my thoughts more coherently? Or something like that? Honestly, I was glad she could still throw in a compliment to me. 

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Though I do know I need to take more practice tests because for this one, I didn’t time myself while taking it. So it cannot really be an accurate representation of what I would have done. However, after adding up all the points, I was at level 4!!! When I was first adding up the numbers, I missed one of the tests and thought I just got 120 something points which was lower than a level 3 which made me want to cry for a quick second but then I saw that I was actually like 40 ish points above level 4 {but like 200 away from level 5…I will need to study more!} 

It would be a dream to be able to improve enough by April to get to level 5… would that ever be possible? But I am happy with level 4 I will say~ 

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After class, I met up again with Katie and we decided to go to this cafe called Mint Heim. Earlier in the program, Liam and Jacquelyn went together and since then, I’ve been wanting to go. Recently, I watched a YouTube video that showed where it was and I realized that it was so easy to get there! 

Everything at this cafe is mint themed: the drinks, the desserts, the decor, and even the building! We hung out there for a couple hours studying and just chilling—enjoying our drinks that HIGHLY resembled toothpaste. 

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Well, that is all for this blog post~ I hope you enjoyed~ Till next time!!! 

  • Emma 엠마

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