NSLI-Y Academic Year Packing List (South Korea Edition) // 9 Months in South Korea

안녕하세요 여러분!~

I posted a blog about my packing list for my NSLI-Y summer program (You can read that post here) because I figured it may help a few people. I know that when I was first traveling for NSLI-Y (and even now to be honest…), I watched countless Youtube videos and read numerous blog posts on the topic of how to pack for about a month-long trip. When I was an alumni leader at last year’s NSLI-Y Seoul Summer PDO, I had a quite a few students tell me that they read my blog– and that they appreciated being able to look at my packing list. So I figured I would make another one! A list that was a bit more daunting to make because of the length and characteristics of this trip. (For example, seasons! I won’t just be packing for summer weather, but every possible season.)

Well, I hope someone finds this helpful! I will be bringing a personal item (backpack/purse), a carry-on, and two large-sized pieces of luggage (which will be checked bags).

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What I Will Wear on the Plane:

  • Sweatshirt
  • T-shirt
  • Leggings
  • Sneakers

Carry On

(No weight restriction but the bag must fit in the overhead compartment of the airplane.)

Note: In the interest of ease, I am packing all my heavy winter clothes in my checked bags while my lighter summer/spring items will be in my carry on. I will be wearing these clothes at PDO, the hostel, and during the first couple of weeks in Korea, so it is more convenient to have everything in a smaller bag then buried in my checked bag.

  • 5 T-shirts
  • 7 Blouses (more like nice/dressy summer tops)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 4 skirts
  • 2 summer/spring dresses
  • 2 pajama shirts
  • 2 pajama bottoms (one thin, long pant bottom and one pair of shorts)
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 workout/comfy T-shirts
  • One pair of nice winter boots
  • One week’s worth of undergarments
  • Laundry Bag
  • Tote Bag
  • Travel Scale

Toiletries Bag

  • Travel Size Conditioner (x2)
  • Travel Size Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hair Brush
  • Hair Ties
  • Travel Size Body Spray
  • Mascara
  • Concealer
  •  Travel Size Face Wash
  • Tooth Brush
  • Toothpaste
  • One Razor
  • One Bar of Soap
  • Travel Size Shaving Cream
  • 4 Sheet Masks

First Checked Bag

(International Weight Limit: 50 pounds)

Note: I will be bringing two checked bags. Most of the stuff I am bringing in my second bag will be taken out/used up by the end of the program: toiletries, snacks, host family gifts, etc. My first checked bag will mostly just have my fall/winter clothes and essentials.

  • 1 Sweat Shirt
  • 1 Jean Jacket
  • 1 Zip-Up Jacket
  • 4 Sweaters
  • 1 Dressy Collared Blouse
  • 4 long-sleeved shirts
  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 pair of sweatpants
  • 1 pair of yoga pants
  • 5 pairs of leggings
  • 4 pairs of thick wool stockings (black)
  • 2 pairs of sheer black tights
  • 3 pairs of sheer nude tights
  • 3 pairs of jeans
  • 1 winter dress
  • 3 camisoles/undershirts
  • More undergarments
  • 2 knee braces*
  • Winter Scarf
  • Winter Gloves
  • Winter Hat
  • One pair of nice sneakers
  • One pair of Dressy Flats
  • Deodorant (x8)**
  • Shower Cap

(I packed a lot of tights, leggings, stockings, etc because assumed that was what I would be wearing under my uniform skirt during the cold winter months. The sheer tights came in handy and I did wear those on a daily basis but I never wore stockings/leggings (except for finals week) because none of the other girls did. Mock me if you will but I suffered through the winter with my bare legs exposed for the sake of fitting in–I did have a long padding jacket, though. Another thing I bought because it was trendy…)

Miscellaneous

  • 3 notebooks
  • 3 packs of highlighters
  • Laundry bag for delicates (x3)
  • Pencil Case (with highlighters, pens, pencils)
  • Brownie Mix
  • Retractable Bag
  • Candy Goodie Bags (for host siblings)

Second Checked Bag

Toiletries Bag

  • 1 Bottle of Shampoo
  • 2 Bottles of Conditioner***
  • Face Wash
  • Bar of Soap
  • One Package of Razors
  • Feminine Products (x6)****
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Cold Medicine (Day & Night)
  • A&D Ointment
  • Nasal Spray (for a stuffy nose)
  • Toothpaste (x2)
  • Ibruprofen (x2)
  • Travel Stain Remover
  • Acne Treatment

Miscellaneous

  • Heavy Winter Coat
  • Large-sized Towel
  • 2 washcloths
  • School Backpack
  • One Jar of Peanut Butter
  • Bag of Breakfast Bars
  • Tuna Packages
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Host Family Gifts*****

Personal Item

(Backpack/Purse)

Note: I would have used my school backpack as a personal item but I will be flying JetBlue to NY before flying Delta to Korea. JetBlue, being a budget airline, has stricter baggage restrictions. I used this backpack for three travels this summer (to NY, Florida, and Seattle), but it does not abide by JetBlue’s restrictions. So I am opting to use a backpack purse instead.

  • Important Documents
  • Passport
  • Headphones
  • Travel Snacks
  • Wallet
  • Water Bottle
  • (new) charging cable and cube
  • Portable Charger
  • (new) headphones

*I have knee issues (They just love to pop out of their sockets during the worst times…); therefore, I have to bring braces in case I do any strenuous physical activities like hiking, taekwondo, etc.

**If you listen to one thing from my list, let it be my tip on deodorant: PACK PLENTY. Pack enough for your whole time in Korea if you can. Korean deodorant formula is not the same as American brands and so it tends to not be strong enough–Plus, if you do find the American stuff, it is really really expensive. Just bring it!

***I have curly hair (a hair type that isn’t too represented in the Korean population (besides the 아줌마s and their perms), so I am bringing plenty of my favorite hair conditioner. I know I will run out while I am over there… so I will just survive off Korean brands.

****Period products in Korea are quite different than what is used widely in America. Tampons are quite difficult to find and so if you use those, bring plenty. Pads are available but a lot of them are on the lighter side so feel free to bring them if you need pads for a heavier flow. I brought enough pads to cover my entire time in Korea just because it was easier for me and they are cheaper in the states.

*****I am bringing host family gifts for my first host family and my host family from my summer NSLI-Y program. I think that a blog post about host family gifts would be a really great idea, so I plan on writing that in the future (probably after I get back– it can be an inspiration for the next batch of NSLI-Y summer and AY students). When I finish that, I will link it here.

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Thank you for reading this post! I hope this helps future NSLI-Y AY students while they are figuring out what to bring and how much.

Update: Both my checked bags were around 42-43 pounds… so I did it! 😉

  • Emma 엠마

Final Week of the First Semester of Korean High School (12/10-12/13/18) NSLI-Y Korean AY

This week was quite busy and pretty stressful and because of that, my blog posts have definitely suffered. I have not been editing any of them nor have I been writing either. My usual routine of writing them on the subway ride turned into me just listening to ballads and thinking about life (yes angsty I know). I also did not take many photos because this week was not too eventful… and I do not have much to write as I have forgotten a lot… but oh well. Here is a quick update on this past week!

12/10/18 Monday

Katie and I were not feeling school this morning (a combination of it being Monday and the fact that we were done with high school 4 years ago and here we are again…) so when we got to school, we slouched onto some tables in the hallway and complained before homeroom started. (Sorry, we cannot always be positive!) While we were basically lying on the table, this alarm starts ringing throughout the school and we both looked at each other but were not too worried. It literally could have been a big deal but there we were just trying to relax before our day at school–not fazed.

The entire school day was spent self-studying. Since finals start next week, classes are pretty much done going over class material and instead of reviewing (like my American high school classes), the students are given the opportunity to just study whatever they need to.

weekly 1

Korean class was okay~ I do not remember much, to be honest. I started feeling sick around this time so I know my participation was not the best. After class, Katie came with me to the post office so I could send a package home to my family. I was sending Christmas gifts and lots and lots of snacks for my brothers and my friends! When Katie and I first got there, I was so nervous, you could say I was freaking out–having no idea what to do. (I have not even mailed a package in America!) I needed a confidence boost so I squeezed Katie’s hand and then I went up to the counter and asked the male worker there what I should do as I was not familiar with the process. He explained everything to me and so after understanding (some of) the instructions, I went back to Katie and we packed my box and filled out the packing label. We got everything sorted out and another employee helped me tie together the final few loose threads. The package ended up being about 185 grams (I do not know how heavy that is…sorry!) and it was a couple dollars short of $40 but I was fine with spending that!~

Katie and I went to a bookstore before heading home to buy the final few gifts for our 마니또 as well as our friends at school (that we will really miss during the break!)

12/11/18 Tuesday

First CEREAL IN KOREA! I have not had cereal since the summertime~ When my host mom asked me at dinner last night if I wanted to have cereal for breakfast, I was all for it. I had missed an American type breakfast, to be honest, and the thought of having milk at a meal (a first unless you count when I have purchased banana milk at the 편의점) really made me excited!

Tuesday at school was more self-study and Korean class was normal as usual. I struggled a lot in class as I could not quite understand the grammar concepts too well. They were not in our grammar book, so I could not even look in there for help when I did not understand. I also got really sick all of a sudden (from one day to the next) and in class, my symptoms only worsened. I kept sneezing like crazy and needed to blow my nose quite often if I wanted to be able to somewhat breathe. Also, because the lights in the classroom were so bright, my eyes kept watering and tears were falling left and right. When my teacher first turned around and noticed a tear, she started to freak out and asked me what was wrong. I assured her that I was fine and that I just had sensitive eyes.

weekly 3

After class, I met up with Jessica and we went to this cafe called Cafe Monobloc. We just spent a couple hours chatting–catching up–and studying for our respective subjects. I had a green tea latte and we both ate pancakes for our dinner. (They were delicious too might I add! I love pancakes! Definitely, my favorite food when done right!) It was really fun getting to hang out with her~ Though being sick at the cafe was kind of awkward (especially every time I had to blow my nose when the cafe was so quiet). Jessica updated me on fun college/life stories while I was able to rant to her and talk a bit about everything I had been going through. It was nice to hear a new perspective.

weekly 7

12/12/18 Wednesday

Honestly, school was just self-study so nothing really memorable sticks out to me except for lunch! Today was another 다 먹는 날 which occurs every so often on Wednesdays. Basically, if you finish all your food, you get a prize! Today they were giving out chocolate cookies~ unfortunately though… they also served this gross sweet potato casserole looking thing and no one was feeling it. Katie took one for the team this time and we piled all the food onto her plate. {Don’t worry! We shared our cookies with her!}

weekly 9

After school that day, Katie and I went to the bakery that my Korean teacher took me to. We planned on eating dinner with our friends back at 하나고 so we stayed at the cafe for more than three hours until it was time to go to school for dinner. We enjoyed our delicious pastries and the cafe environment as we studied and did our Korean homework. I worked on my presentation on 제주 사투리 and luckily finished at the cafe! I also prepared 윤세’s last 마니또 gift which I bought the previous day. It was a sheet of bear stickers and some bear post-it notes. I wanted to write a little note for 윤세 but I figured my foreigner like handwriting would stick out to her so I literally paced around the second floor of the cafe for a bit until I mustered up the courage to ask this random couple on the third floor to rewrite this message onto my pink post-it note. They were confused at first but laughed along with me as I tried explaining to them what I was doing. I think they were confused to see me asking them for such a weird request and the fact that I was wearing a school uniform {yes the literal 교복 (school uniform), not our school’s 생활복} probably didn’t help me appear in the least bit normal. But, I did it and was proud of myself for putting myself out there!

weekly 12

Dinner at 하나고 was definitely not the best. I honestly played with my food more than I actually ate it because I really wasn’t feeling the spread—especially the weird patty. Why is this meat following us everywhere? It was fun though being able to joke around with the girls and feel more included being that we were there with them at night—a time when we are NEVER at school. It was a nice change~ And I definitely think it would be nice to eat dinner with them every once in a while {especially while we are on break!}

During dinner, we talked a little bit about 마니또 and 서린 told me that some of the girls already knew that we didn’t have them because they received their gifts at the dorm {this list included 서린, 혜지, and 윤세}. I couldn’t help but smile at this… my sneaky plan was working !!!

12/13/18 Thursday

In class today we had a quiz over two chapters and a presentation. The quiz was a bit tough for me when I first looked at it and I was iffy about a lot of answers. Luckily, I only got 1.5 points off for using the wrong grammar point for one and choosing the right vocab word but conjugating it wrong on another question. I followed my gut on some of the other questions when it came to spelling and whether a word was an adjective or verb so I’m happy that my intuition was right. I did really well on this quiz compared to the other students too which was nice~ At times I like to be reminded that I’m not totally horrible!!!

Giving my presentation was fun because I prepared a fun Kahoot game to test everyone’s knowledge on 제주 사투리. My game consisted of 5 questions that asked the quiz takers to guess the meaning of these random words. The answers of the questions were mostly words that were similar to the one in the question and I obviously included plenty of words to throw off the guesses. Jacquelyn ended up winning followed closely behind by our teacher and then Josh placed last.

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After class, I ended up going out to dinner with Josh, Kaitlyn, and Liam. This whole week all the NSLI-Y Students {except for Katie and I} have had no school due to finals at their respective schools and so they’ve been out having fun together and I have felt like I’m missing out on it big time! So I was really excited to go and have dinner with them~ We first went to Blanc Bakery so that I could buy macaroons for my 하나고 friends and then it seemed as if we walked around the 홍대 area for years!

We could not decide what we wanted to eat! Josh and Liam kept joking around about wanting to eat intestines and such but Kaitlyn and I were not having that. We ended up, eventually, going to a pizza joint and ordering Mac & Cheese Pizza which was delicious! I’ve never ordered it {or wanted to order it} back in America but they were all in for it so that’s what we did.

weekly 18

Unlike what was expected, this pizza was soooo good! It was thick enough, they used tomato sauce, and there was even caramelized onions on top too—a great choice. The menu had a couple of spelling errors that stood out to us. One was that their quarter pizza (split up four ways) was called quater. We had a fun little argument on how to pronounce the word (한국어로는 콰터 아님 쾌터). There was also the fun little addition of garlic deeping sauce. We promised to come back again and try those two menu items! (And thus, the Quater Squad was born!)

I was feeling like I was up in the clouds after dinner because our conversations were so fun and the food was delicious. I was also looking forward to Friday as it was our last day at 하나고 for this semester~ I was so ready to start winter break!

But, later at my subway station, my mood worsened as I had a transportation card malfunction. I was minding my own business—going through the turnstile like I’ve done what seems like a million times by now—when the turnstile angrily beeped at me when I placed my card down onto the scanner. I tried my card again because I was confused. I literally put ten dollars on it at 홍익역 so I knew that this error had nothing to do with me. I tried putting more money on my card hoping that that would fix it but the refill machine on this side of the turnstiles was out of order. The mouse was going crazy on the screen and everything was stuck in Chinese. I watched as everyone else passed by me getting through the machines no problem and so I started freaking out—feeling like I was trapped. I connected to the WiFi and quickly sent texts to both Katie and my host mom freaking out about the situation. My host mom called me but I wasn’t understanding what she was telling me to do—go through the back? What? I was too panicked to properly focus on her words as I was near tears. Eventually, I called Katie and told her to stay on the line as I tried something out. There was this emergency gate on the other side of the turnstiles and I figured if I pressed the button, I could possibly get out. I was worried that someone would come out or that someone would pick up but I just went for it and luckily was able to get through. I screamed through the phone at Katie and told her that I survived. After hanging up on her, I texted my host mom and went home after buying some letters for my 하나고 friends.

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My freak-out-face in the subway station!

When I came home, I explained the whole ordeal to my host family {though, to be honest, I still do not know for sure why my card could not be processed}. And I went to bed laughing it off after telling all my friends about my misfortune. Would it be an Emma NSLI-Y experience without these fun {note the unclear sarcasm} travel stories?

That is the end of this blog post. I wanted to include Friday on this blog post {because it was supposed to be a quick and easy weekly post…} but this has gotten to be too long! So I will end it here and start my next one off with Friday. Thanks for reading!! I hope you enjoyed!

  • Emma 엠마

 

Passport {Forgetting}, Pancakes, and Pizza in Korea {10/18/18} NSLI-Y Korea AY

10/18/18 Thursday

Today was a very interesting day. The plan was to head over to 고양시’s Immigration Office (which happens to be very close to 화정역) with 민정쌤 in order to process the application for my Alien Registration Card; however, that plan was sorta delayed at first because my lovely RD left my passport at the Better World Office!!!

We had gotten to the Immigration Office just fine and on time (early even). I used the photo booth to take a cover picture for my application and 민정쌤 helped me get all the documents together. A couple days before today, my homeroom teacher gave me my (and Katie’s) 재학 증명서 (Certificate of Student Registration/enrollment) and I was supposed to bring it to Better World on Tuesday but I forgot. 민정쌤 scolded me during break time and warned me to make sure I bring it. The night before our scheduled meetup, she assaulted me with texts about not forgetting it and asking me if I had put it in my bag yet. But she goes and forgets my passport! Though, to be honest, I did not really mind. I understood that it was just a mistake. But when the employee at the window asked for my passport and I could visibly see the change of emotions on 민정쌤’s face, I could not help but laugh. I tried to cover my mouth to muffle the sounds of laughter but I couldn’t help it.

I ended up waiting for her on the first floor while she went back to Better World for the passport. There was this cafe on the first floor with some seating (that I think was a part of the cafe) and free wifi! This cafe was honestly the best because there were so many drink options on the menu and the drinks were so cheap! I ended up ordering a green tea latte and it was only 2,000 won (about two dollars). Most big-name chain stores sell lattes for around 5-6,000 won (about 5 to 6 dollars). Additionally, they had fruit smoothies and milkshakes for cheap, too. I wonder if it is open to the public? Or if it is just for the workers in the building (as the immigration office took up one of the floors of the building–it was not its own building).

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View from my seat at the cafe. Like I said, it is definitely not a traditional cafe. There are not even any walls!

By the time 민정쌤 came back (about 1 hour later), I had practiced my presentation more and studied some vocab that would be on my test later. We rushed back up to the office, waited a bit more, and were able to finish getting everything in order. At one point, the employee that was helping me asked if I could speak Korean and I responded with “Not really” and 민정쌤 playfully slapped me on the arm and said “Liessss.”

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Working on my powerpoint and looking over my workbook (이화 2-2 워크북)

After we successfully filed everything and paid for it to be delivered to my host family’s home, we left to go back to 홍대. We decided to get some American food for lunch because we figured we would get something usually expensive/something I’ve been missing. We ended up going to this place called Travel maker that serves up American style breakfasts {for reasonable prices too like pricy diners/brunch places back home would have cost a bit more.} It’s also the place that all the NSLI-Y kids went to get brunch at when they were off of school on Friday {while Katie and I were at 하나고}.

I ordered strawberry and banana pancakes and the pancakes themselves were so delicious~ but the strawberries were not very fresh and they drenched the stacks with this sugary strawberry sauce that I was not a fan of. I still enjoyed them though~ 민정쌤 got blueberry waffles which were very good, too!! Over lunch, we talked about so many things. 민정쌤’s past work experience, how I’m doing in Korean class, our favorite seasons, and my dog Biscotti back home. It was really nice to sit and chat with her and I’m so thankful to have such a great RD like her~ Although she forgot my passport, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about that morning/afternoon with her.

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우리 사랑하는 RD

After our brunch {I guess it was Brunch!}, we walked along the park pathway to school which was super nice because some trees were already changing colors so the scenery was just beautiful!

During Korean class, I struggled a lot as per usual. This one grammar point wasn’t coming easily to me and I was really confused on how to correctly utilize it. There were also parts of the class where I was having trouble following along but it wasn’t just not understanding vocabulary but the fact that I keep my attention and focus on the teacher. I have to concentrate more on listening in Korean than English {as I would assume is the same way for many people learning another language} and for some reason, that day, I was having trouble concentrating. Additionally, I just got frustrated so many times. My teacher asked me to explain a one-way trip and while I was looking at the image and creating a sentence in my head, she then asks Jacquelyn to define it—which she did perfectly fine. I was just a bit discouraged because I knew I could have done it but I needed some time to just create the sentence in my mind. But I understand with the pace of this class… I need to keep up…

Our presentations went really well—all of my classmates included {if that wasn’t clear by the usage of the word “our”}. I think my actual presentation wasn’t too bad though I wish I practiced it more. I was proud of all that I wrote, though. I wrote 4 minutes of content rather than 3 minutes and I think I did a good job at comparing my home town to 고양시 using interesting aspects and things we learned in class {like public transportation}.

After class, I waited for 민정쌤 to help me complete my new daily goal for this month. While we were riding the subway and at breakfast, we discussed my goals for this month; I ended up making two goals. My first one was to have a conversation with my host siblings {just one or all three it didn’t matter} every night. I could ask them questions about themselves or simply talk about their day—anything to get a conversation flowing.

My second goal was about language learning and more specifically retention of vocabulary studied. I told her that after a day of class, I could have up to 80 words that we talked about in class that aren’t in our textbook in my notes. (AN: this number has DEFINITELY decreased as the class has gone on– and as I have improved.)

I explained that it’s honestly impossible for me to study 30+ textbook vocabulary and 80 other words after every class. I could not retain it all. Especially, when certain words we use are very unusual in normal conversation and I probably won’t use them for a while like to cremate or carbon dioxide. {Don’t ask what we talk about in class! XD} So from now, I will be going to 민정쌤 after class for her to choose the words she thinks I should focus on learning. We agreed to do 10 on the goal sheet… but after this class, she marked 22! While this was going on, my teacher was waiting by the door. I assumed it was to talk to 민정쌤 but it turned out she was waiting for me; therefore, I made the 15 min walk from Better World to the subway station with my Korean teacher—and we spoke all in Korean. It was difficult and extremely awkward but rewarding nonetheless. I got to practice speaking to a person who would be patient with me and not resort to English when I didn’t understand. I also got to ask her a question about the new grammar point which cleared up much of my confusion. I enjoyed our conversation thoroughly~ One funny part about the convo was that she asked me what I was doing after class and I told her I was eating dinner and going to a 노래방 with a friend. I felt like I might have been judged for not going home right away so I explained that my host sister has piano lessons on Thursdays and since it’s loud, I like to stay out later than normal. And then she asked me with what friend and before I was able to finish saying Kaitlyn, she assumed I was about to say Katie and goes “Katie, of course.” We laughed for a bit before I explained that I do indeed have other friends! And that Katie is probably sick of me after spending an entire week together literally (Thursday was the first day of the week where I did not see her.)

After parting ways with my Korean teacher, I found Kaitlyn, Alix, Liam, and Jacquelyn in front of a cafe and we all went to Morning Glory together and walked around for a bit. I ended up buying a daily planner there so I could keep track of our activities, Korean class homework, tests, etc. We always have so many meeting locations and meeting times to keep in our head so I think my planner will help me keep track of those.

Alix, Kaitlyn, and I originally planned to find this one place selling grilled cheese; however, the place was quite small with no indoor seating (or bathroom which was a necessity for me at the time…) so we kept walking to find something else. We came across this one restaurant that was advertising pizza in the window which looked like normal pizza you would find in America (not sweet or with corn or potatoes as toppings). And that was what we ordered: pizza! And it was so delicious! It was a thin pizza with mostly cheese and no tomato sauce but it felt familiar and the pizza taste I have been searching for! Also, we were served pickles and honey with the pizza (do not knock it till you try it…the pickles were great and the pizza dipped in the honey was weirdly delicious.). My host dad, earlier during the month, asked me if Americans eat pickles with pizza and we really do not (or at least in my area). Though I think Koreans got this part of pizza right. Pickles should be a side dish with pizza!

We were originally planned to go to a 노래방 but it was pretty late so we all decided to just go home and get some rest. Though, while walking to our respective platforms, Kaitlyn and I tried these mini pastries called 서울파이 (Seoul Pie) that we have been eyeing for a while but never bought any to try. We did tonight though! A bougie dessert!

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I came home and hung out with my host sisters for a bit asking them questions and just talking about their day at school. I made my quizlet for the class, adding the words 민정쌤 marked for me. Looking at the words again, I remembered when 민정쌤 circled the verb for to eat a lot/overeat and she looked at the word to drink too much and said, “You do not need to know that.”

That is all for this really long blog post! This has probably been one of the longest blog posts in a while. It was such a busy, hectic day but nonetheless one of the most fun! Thanks for reading~

  • Emma 엠마

NSLI-Y Korea Academic Year: Host Family Information

It is here! The long-awaited information is finally here! I woke up yesterday morning (09/04/18) and was shocked to see a plethora of messages in our AY Kakao group chat. I knew as soon as I saw the notification for 200 plus messages that host family information had arrived. I hurriedly grabbed my laptop and there it was, waiting in my inbox– my host family information.

My host family will consist of 5 individuals: host mother, host father, 2 younger host sisters (10 & 11), and 1 younger host brother (7). My host dad is an office worker while my host mom is a stay at home mother.

I am really excited about this host family because I have always wanted to have a sister! I was really hoping to be paired up with a family that had a girl. And lucky for me, I got the best of both worlds! I got a brother and sisters~

Additionally, I’m overjoyed that my host mom is a housewife. I hope that this could possibly mean that she will have more free time so that I can spend time with her. Maybe she is also more involved with her kids. I would really like to go out and do things together– with the whole family too. I loved my host family during my summer program but because they both worked, we never really went out and did things together besides the occasional dinner or simply taking my host brother to his soccer practices/games. I hope I can spend more time with this family! I will definitely try my best to.

goyang map

My host family lives in an apartment in the city of Goyang (고양시) in Gyeonggi Province (경기도). Which means that my family lives in northern Seoul. This is pretty convenient since my high school is also located in northern Seoul (on the same Subway line too!)

My host family’s home is about an 18-minute subway ride and a 20-minute bus ride to my high school. I don’t think this is bad at all! I am happy that I am not too far. Plus, no transfers so very convenient!


Receiving my host family information has made this year in Korea already feel so much more real. I can finally finish buying host family gifts! (Bless Amazon for fast shipping!!) Less than a week until I leave my home state of IL for NYC, and exactly a week until I am in Seoul, South Korea! Oh, how time flies… it feels like just yesterday that I got the AY notification. Thanks for reading! 다음에 봐요 친구들!~

  • Emma 엠마