Korean School Performance? School Dance? School Festival? {11/21/18} NSLI-Y Korean AY

11/21/18 Wednesday

NO SCHOOL! CAN I GET AN AHHH YEAH?!? Was that cringey? I’m sorry… I’m just really excited about the prospect of missing school. On this day, in particular, the first and second-year students were taking a mock exam for the 수능 and because we obviously didn’t have to take the exam, Katie and I didn’t go!

We still ended up meeting and going to the Twosome Cafe near the school at 1 pm, however. {We originally thought we had club meetings to attend at 3 pm…} We hung out at the cafe for a bit— enjoying some drinks and studying. I had a quiz the following day, so I was a bit more panicked than normal about the immense amount of vocab I hadn’t memorized yet. I was falling behind…

We returned to the school to attend our club meetings but were surprised to see that no one texted us letting us know there were meetings today or to check in with us on the meeting location. Katie and I went to both of the rooms are clubs met at two weeks ago, but the rooms had weird vibes? And there seemed to be a formal looking person inside. We decided to leave and try to hide somewhere but we began to both feel anxious. We were panicky not knowing what we should be doing… as we went down the stairs, I could feel my leg shaking because of my nerves. Eventually, we decided to see if the foreign teachers would let us hide out in their office but even though we saw Jason walking in the hallway, we had no courage to ask him. We waited outside their office for several minutes trying to muster up the courage to knock.

Jason eventually came back and told us Corey was in there and that it would be fine if we came in. We sat on these chairs against the wall and literally stayed talking with Corey and the other teachers for more than an hour. It was honestly a lot of fun and it felt good getting certain things out. Because they are also foreigners in Korea, they understood our struggles. They were also adult figures that were concerned for us but would not get too worked up over our hardships. I love our RD 민정쌤 and the Better World Staff… but sometimes you want to hear “Oh man, that’s really terrible.” Instead of “How are you going to fix this? Are you sure it will get better?” or something along the lines of that.

After talking with them, we left to meet our friends Jacquelyn, Jack, Josh, and Liam at 연신내역 as we invited them to attend the event at 하나고 with us because it was open to the public. We met them there around 5:30 so that we could grab some dinner before the performance. Katie and I walked around the street surrounding the station looking for some 분식집 because we didn’t want to spend too much because the weekend was approaching. We found this 만두 place and decided that it would be best.


We all shared two platters of 만두 {소고기 & 김치} and one set of 보쌈. It was all very delicious~ But… not very filling for how much we had to pay per person. After goofing around during dinner, we were on our way to 하나고 with our NSLI-Y guests.


We got there about 20 minutes before the event was scheduled to start and Katie and I were already shook. We looked at the normal building for the gymnasium and was shocked to see that there were purple lights flashing. It looked kind of like a school dance in America! {from the outside} Upon arriving, everyone was staring at the large group of foreigners walking in— the girls, in particular, were freaking out over Liam and the other guys. We found 서린, 혜지, and 지연 after looking like lost little sheep for a bit, huddled near the entrance. They showed us where to put our bags and we went and found a place to sit. Though the lights and the music playing were strongly reminiscent of a school dance back at my high school, the atmosphere was completely different. No one was dancing. Everyone was either standing still in small groups or huddled together on the floor.


The first performance of the night was a DJ. These 5 students {including my friend 윤세} player some dance songs… as well as some other questionable choices. And, at first, it was so awkward. All the students were just standing in their long padded coats not even moving to the beat— no side steps or claps to be seen anywhere.

The other girls, including Katie, were really hesitant to dance so, in the beginning, it was simply Jacquelyn and me trying to get people moving as we jumped along to the music. {The boys were also quite stiff with their dance moves.} While we were dancing, as we were pretty much the only ones in the whole gym, so many of the students {and teachers even} were staring. There were also plenty of photos of us taken! Eventually, people got more comfortable and that’s when things really got fun. Everyone was clapping and jumping and trying to actually dance. At this point, I was having so much fun and didn’t want to leave {which was very upsetting seeing that today was a Wednesday and we still had to abide by a weekday curfew}.


After the DJ opener, song and dance performances followed. Many of them were by students that were so very talented! The songs chosen were mostly ballads which are exactly up my alley! One duet sang Lee Hi’s Breathe! I was dead! I couldn’t help but sing along as if I was in emotional pain too. Between many of the musical acts, there were little performances of the group of 하나고 students that were doing a “re-enactment” if you will of the Reply 1988 Korean drama. Our good friend 도윤 was playing an old lady which was hilarious! She was so good~ We all really enjoyed how she got so into character.


Also, the teacher in charge of the cooking club came and brought jars of 고추장 for Katie, me, and our friends! We even got 하나고 gift bags! It was too cute~ I cannot wait till Katie and I get to attend our first cooking club meeting! (*cough cough editing this three months later… that first meeting never came…yikes.)



Josh, Jack, and Liam left early to make it home in time for curfew while Katie, Jacquelyn, and I waited till the last possible minute to leave because we were enjoying ourselves too much {plus I live closer than most of the others}. We ended up having to run to the bus stop, though. It was definitely a rushed ending to a fun night that I’ll never forget.



Enjoy this photo! 😛

I made it home right at curfew and patiently waited for a curfew check {that unfortunately never came}. I spent the rest of the night hardcore studying for a quiz in Korean class the following day.

That’s all for this blog post! I hope you enjoyed~ I know I did! Thanks for reading!

  • Emma 엠마


한글날: King Sejong Museum, Calligraphy, and Trying Hanbok at Gwanghwamun Square (10/09/18) NSLI-Y Korean AY

10/09/18 Tuesday

October 9th in South Korea is Hangul Day (한글날) which celebrates the creation of the Korean Alphabet by King Sejong or Sejong the Great (세종대왕). I also learned this day that his real name is not actually 세종; it is 이도! (Learned that at his museum!) He is famous because the Korean alphabet changed the Korean people’s lives as it made it easier for the common people to learn how to read and write (Since Chinese characters proved to be too difficult).

To celebrate this day (we had no school today too), my host family and I visited 광화문 (Gwanghwamun) Square because there would be a festival and lots of activities and performances to see in honor of 한글날.

When we arrived at the square, we ended up going down to the museum first because there was a very loud protest going on in the streets. I couldn’t really understand any of what was being shouted, but I do believe that some people were protesting about THAAD.

My host mom told me that people often protest around 광화문 because of the wide-open space and how there are always lots of police officers, which couldn’t have been truer. While we were walking from the parking garage to the square, there were these huge police buses lined up alongside the streets. It seemed that the officers were all getting out of the buses while we were passing by the protest. I have never seen that many uniformed men in one place. The bus was huge so it wasn’t exactly a clown car situation, but I still didn’t expect to see that many all in one place.

At the museum, my host mom and brother stayed at the little children’s library while I walked around with my host sisters and host dad as they tried to complete a special scavenger hunt. I couldn’t really participate {except when they were doing the word search, I helped with the answer of one question!} so I read the information cards under the artifacts/drawings by myself to learn more about this part of Korean history.

After the museum, we went back out to the square to see that the protesting had stopped. We walked around a bit to find a place to eat but there were so many crowds and lines. We ended up eating at a Japanese restaurant. I had Udon noodles which were pretty good~ But I thoroughly enjoyed the yellow radish side dish. {단무지! I finally learned the name!}

hangul nal 6

Our bellies were stuffed and content, so we left the restaurant to do our next activity: calligraphy. Or really we wouldn’t be doing it so much as waiting in line for it. At the square, there were these booths set up for free calligraphy of proverbs and mottos. My host family has two in their home under the glass top of their kitchen table right now. I got to look through a big book of phrases and I immediately felt intimidated because I couldn’t understand the vast majority of statements in the book. Eventually, I picked out 꿈은 이루어진다 because I had just learned that phrase the other day from working on my presentation.

While waiting in line, something happened to me that some foreigners can be “lucky” (note the sarcasm) enough to experience: cult recruitment or swindlers. In Korean, {I later learned from my 하나고 friends} they call these religious cults or groups 사이비. Naver translates this word to pseudo. I assume that these groups are called pseudo because of the religions that they hide behind? I am not too sure; however, I would love to do more research on this topic because the stories I have heard have never been anything short of interesting.

These three female college students (?)  approached me and started asking me all these questions about what I am doing in Korea (both in Korean and English). They had their phones out and were trying to fill out this form of sorts. They kept asking for my name and I refused to give it to them so they stood there for like a minute pointing at the name question confused as to why I was not sharing that detail with them. They tried to make it seem that they were hosting a language exchange meet up at a church and wanted to invite me. They kept saying that the important meeting would be Saturday and I had to come if I wanted to join. Eventually, my host mom saw what was going on and she grabbed my arm and pulled me back from the girls. She started scolding them in Korean asking them what they were doing. This part was a bit scary as my host mom seemed very angry. My host mom tried to explain to me that those girls are part of a dangerous and bad group and that I should not talk to any people on the street like that. She said they try to trick foreigners. I realized then and there that I had just experienced what I have seen on Youtube– a cult trying to recruit foreigners in order to (usually) take their money.

After getting our calligraphy scrolls, I took some photos in 한복 with my host sisters at this booth set up for free pictures. We continued to walk around the square for a bit after taking photos in 한복. There were several booths set up behind the 세종 대왕 statue about the 세월 ferry disaster. Back in April of 2014, a ferry carrying mostly high school students sank on its way to 제주도 (Jeju Island) killing more than 300 people. It was a very tragic thing to happen to the Korean people and to this day it still leaves a mark on society. At the booths, there were pictures of every single person that passed away and a place where you could take off your shoes and kneel in respect. There was also a something you could sign (which I am not sure exactly what it was for…), which I did (along with the rest of my host family). If you are in Korea and you see a yellow ribbon emblem anywhere, it is most likely for the 세월 ferry disaster (and not cancer as some of my friends thought at first).

hangul nal 1

We got back home around 5 pm and I basically spent the rest of the night writing blog posts as I was a couple days behind. I also made a new Quizlet but did not practice it because my brain was not in the mood. (Yeah, I know– not very studious of me but we all have those days. Even NSLI-Y students. Actually, ESPECIALLY NSLI-Y students. For dinner, we ate fried chicken and fries. I came into the dinner expecting my family to eat the chicken with their chopsticks (because I have seen it before), but I never thought that I would witness people eating french fries with chopsticks… I just did not understand. I tried eating the fries with them too but it felt wrong in so many ways… I was going to go to bed early so that I could have a good night’s rest for school the following day but as soon as I got into bed, I started diving into my Youtube subscriptions: always a bad idea.

My host sisters and I also spent some time drawing each other. Here are two portraits of me done by two host sisters. It was cute to see how they chose to portray me (including the Pokemon Eevee in both for example) However, they also fought about my eye color (whether it was green or brown) To end the fighting, I told them that they are in fact green!~

That is all for this blog post~ I hope you enjoyed! Have any recommendations for what I should do in Korea? Let me know! Next week is Midterms at my school, so Katie and I are not obligated to attend (as we will not be taking the exams). We need things to do! Thank you! (Authors Note: Posting this more than two months later~ Funny how time flies! Yesterday marked 100 days in Korea!)

  • Emma 엠마

Namdaemun Market (남대문 시장) July 13th, 2016

Wednesdays (July 13th, 2016) are always fun since we don’t have any schedules after school. This leaves us with all of wednesday to explore Seoul and all that it has to offer. So I spent this Wednesday with Sura, Cynthia, Abigail, Ashley, and Sofia. For lunch we went to Mom’s Touch (my second time) and I shared a family pack of fried chicken with Sura and Ashley. (we had so many leftovers!)

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After lunch, Sura and Ashley went to the Sookmyung library to pick up Cynthia and Abigail while Sofia and I went to Gongcha and bought bubble tea. (Once again I bought taro bubble tea- definitely my favorite flavor.) We actually ran into our resident director Madeline and fellow Nsliyian Peter at Gongcha. We talked to them while our drinks were being made and then we went on our way to meet up with the rest of the girls at the subway station.

We all made our way to Namdaemun Market (남대문 시장). Namdaemun translates to Great South Gate (남 is south, 대 is big or great, and 문 is door or gate). Basically it is this huge outdoor market filled with street vendors selling clothes (mostly for ahjummas), hats, shoes, souvenirs, and food! We actually came across this shop where everything in the store was only $5 which was a great price for the quality of the clothes inside. One of the funny things that happened today was that Sura went into this shoe store to buy these replica birkenstock shoes. The guy that worked there kept complimenting us on our Korean but kept making fun of Sura saying that she must not study hard. The teasing was really funny but he wasn’t being mean at all. He actually gave her a huge discount on her shoes.


The coolest part of the Market

After we hung out around the market, we said goodbye to Sofia who was going home early and the rest of us decided to head to Hongdae. (Definitely one of my favorite places in Seoul.) We walked around everywhere and visited certain parts of the area that I had not previously been to. I even went into some real stores (instead of just shopping on the streets) like Forever 21 and Bershka. Luckily, I didn’t buy anything – got to budget more wisely 😉


More snaps of the streets of Hongdae


We even came across some street performers (bad quality screenshot from a Snapchat video I took).

Cynthia and Abigail went on to do their own thing while Sura, Ashley, and I went and ate some bingsu at Sulbing! We ordered Mango Cheese Bingsu (만고치즈빙수) and it was very delicious. And since we sat by the window, we decorated our receipt and hung it up.


The receipt streamers on the wall


Our Bingsoo


Let us ignore the fact that I spelled Thank You wrong on the receipt…


Ashley being all cute


Our finished receipt! Maybe I will find it again one day? XD

That was my Wednesday! I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post. 감사합니다 (I know how to spell Thank You! XD haha I do not know what happened at the time!). 안녕

And remember! If you want to stay updated on my posts, do not forget to subscribe. All you have to do is plug in your email to the right of this blog post. (If you are on mobile, scroll all the way down to the bottom.) You will receive emails every time I upload.

  • 엠마 (Emma)



Hongdae Dog Cafe & Best Fried Chicken in Korea! (July 11th, 2016)

Monday (July 11th, 2016) was very fun and I was able to stay out later than usual because I recieved no Korean homework from my teachers (고마워요 선생님들!). Korean class was fun as usual. We reviewed the past grammar points we learned and also were taught a couple new ones. Before school Ariel and I stopped at Gongcha to pick up some bubble tea (She ordered mango and I ordered strawberry bubble tea). So during class we had bubble tea to accompany us which made staying awake and alert that much easier.

Monday was also our Korean resident director JT‘s Birthday, so my Korean Class (나무 반) prepared to sing for him when he came in for attendance and his everyday morning routine of “How is everyone feeling today?” I drew Happy Birthday for JT in Korean on the whiteboard and when he walked in, we all sang Happy Birthday.


The entire Nsliy8 family also sang to him at the Monday Meeting After School.


For lunch, Maris, Abbey, Sofia, Rhea, Mckenzie, Teresa, Angie, Jodi, and I headed over to Kimbap Heaven (김밥천국). We pushed some tables together and basically filled up the entire tiny shop. Everyone that came, ate the Cheese Donkatsu (치즈 돈까스) except for Jodi and Angie who both ordered bowls of Mandu Ramen (만두 라면). The lady at the register couldn’t stop laughing because every foreigner that went up to order wanted Donkatsu.


Donkatsu may not be Korean, but it is delicious nonetheless!~


Are you hungry yet? XD

Once we finished eating, our huge group split up and went on our separate ways. Maris, Abbey, Mckenzie, Sofia, and I went to Hongdae for some shopping. We found this one street that was full of clothes, bags, baseball hats, and shoes that were all overall pretty cheap. The shops were very tiny but then they had racks of clothes outside the shop. Most of the shops only accept cash so make sure you ask before if you are planning on using a debit card. (I experienced this first hand! haha) We walked down the entire street and then went back to start at the beginning (to make sure we wouldn’t make any rash shopping decisions XD) The overall favorite shop of our group is this one called “Princess” because it has insanely cute Korean style clothes and is still cheap enough for us Nsliyians on a travel budget.


Hongdae Street


Racks and racks of clothes


SHINee cutout at The Saem location in Hongdae


After shopping around for a bit, we all decided we wanted to go to a dog cafe. Sofia looked one up on her phone and we spent 20 minutes trying to find it. After we realized we were probably walking in the wrong direction, we went to the Hongdae Tourist Information center and asked the workers there. They showed us on the map where the cafe was and once we got that map, we were on our way. The dog cafe was actually really fun! Since all the Nsliyians we were with were beginners (except for Sofia), I was the one who had to speak Korean to the employees running the cafe. The employee at the door explained the whole paying system to us and how we needed to wear slippers to come inside.

It was $3 for admission and you have to buy a drink (the drinks are all $5). I ordered a lemonade but I couldnt even drink it because it was carbonated. Just throwing out a tip, anything on a drinks menu that ends in ade (Lemonade, Orangeade, pomegranateade) will most likely be carbonated.


The dogs at the cafe were so cute and sweet. They were really active so at times it was hard to pet them for any longer than a minute or two. All of the dogs were small which was great because I am afraid of really big dogs.


Maris and Woman’s Best Friend


The beagles were my favorite


Sofia and I with a puppy

After the dog cafe, we all were very hungry for some dinner. We ended up going to this place called Kyochon Chicken which Sofia said was the best Fried chicken place in Hongdae. (She said she read an article about it.) After eating there, I would have to agree. The chicken there was delicious and I have to say compared to all the fried chicken I have eaten on this trip, it was the best one.


The restaurant was very very dark. We ordered a Honey Chicken Box for $15 (For 5 people)

The funniest part of the night was that the employees of the restaurant kept watching us. I guess it was granted seeing that once we finished ordering our food. We pulled out our Korean textbooks and turned our table into a portable Korean Language class (Well, Sofia and I had no homework so we just helped the other girls with their work.)

After dinner, Sofia and I dropped the other girls off at the subway station and we continued to walk around Hongdae (we lived closer to Hongdae then they did so we could stay out later and still make it home before curfew). I got home around 8pm which is an hour before curfew. I still made it home before dinner. (since my host family usually eats around 8:30 to 9:00 but I passed on food since I ate so much chicken that night!)

What I Bought Today

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Baseball Hat ($5)







Thanks for Reading and I hope you enjoyed this blog post!~ And remember the 2017-2018 Nsli-y program applications are due today at 4pm (Eastern Time). If you want a chance to learn a language and experience a foreign country over your summer break, make sure yo submit your application before the deadline. To everyone applying, Good Luck!

  • 엠마 (Emma)


Sinchon Water Gun Festival (물총축제) July 10th, 2016

The plan for Sunday (July 10th, 2016) was originally to go to this really cool board game cafe in Sinchon (신촌) with Sofia. However, the place must have been shut down because we walked around forever trying to find it. Eventually we gave up and ended up finding a bubble tea place called Bubble King. Sofia doesn’t like tapioca pearls so she ordered her drink without them. I ordered a taro bubble tea with tapioca pearls once again. (My favorite flavor.) I think Bubble King is one of the best places to get Bubble tea in Seoul. (Gongcha will always be number one though!)


Our Bubble Tea

While walking around Sinchon we ran into something pretty exciting- The Sinchon Water Gun Festival (also known as just the Sinchon Water Festival). We didn’t actually participate in the festival since we brought our backpacks and had nowhere to store them and they couldn’t get wet. However, just watching a dance performance by pirates was pretty cool (yes, you read that correctly.) Basically there was a fire truck and this huge pirate ship that was blasting water into the crowd. (All this was happening on the streets. You could still walk around on the sidewalks without getting wet.) Everyone was running around the streets with water guns squirting each other with water. (There were refill stations on every corner that people could use to fill up their water guns.)



The pirate ship in the middle of the street

After that, Sofia and I got really hungry so we walked around until we saw something that looked good. We decided to get Korean Barbeque because Sofia hadn’t eaten it yet.


Our rib (?) meat

We had no clue what we were doing. However, the employees were super nice and showed us how to eat everything correctly. (after staring at us doing it wrong for 10 minutes.) The meal was $10 for the both of us and we were stuffed by the end of it. It was very worth it.


While walking around Sinchon, we also found some cute wall art. I asked a random couple if they would take a picture of us and they gladly agreed! It was a pretty funny encounter because I asked them in Korean but then when the guy showed us the pictures, he asked us if we liked them in English. What a language exchange XD haha



After the excursion in Sinchon, we headed back down to the subway station in search of the KakaoTalk Store (KakaoTalk is a free Korean messaging app that all Nsliyians use).


Spotting Jonghyun in the subway was a highlight of my day haha


Apeach is my favorite KakaoTalk Character. (In second place is Ryan.)

The KakaoTalk store has really cute merchandise of all the characters. You can find notebooks, folders, stickers, dolls, mugs, toothbrushes, and even shoes.

What I Bought at The KakaoTalk Store


Muji Notebook ($4)


Tube Stickers ($2)


Frodo T-money (subway) card ($3)

Thank you for reading my blog post and I hope you enjoyed!

Reminder!!! Nsli-y Applications are due very soon! On October 27th, 2016 at 4pm Eastern time to be exact! So if you guys would like to learn another language and experience life in a foreign country, then apply to Nsli-y. I would love to help anyone who has any questions or anyone who wants me to read their essays! 안녕!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)


Going to a Korean Soccer Game at The Seoul World Cup Stadium (서울월드컵경기장) July 9th, 2016

On Saturday (July 9th 2016) I went to my youngest host brothers soccer practice for The Future of Seoul once again. I am used to going to soccer games/practices because I actually have a twin brother who plays soccer back home. However, I still found the practice very boring and it was super super hot outside! I almost fell asleep too! Luckily, I was able to talk to my host mom throughout the duration of the Soccer practice which made it more fun and definitely more memorable.


After his practice, I was introduced to friends of the family. They were all very sweet when talking to me even though they underestimated my Korean skills {I soon proved them wrong 🙂 }. It was a nice meeting and I got even happier when my host mom introduced me to them as her daughter. It really made me feel like part of the family. We went out to eat together at this really fancy Italian restaurant in this shopping center like structure underneath/next to the stadium (It is VERY confusing to explain… You might just have to check it out for yourself ^^). I ordered this olive oil pasta and even though it was Italian, it was probably the spiciest pasta I had ever eaten. You would have thought I ordered Kimchi noodles. I refilled my water cup so many times! haha

After dinner I went with my youngest host brother, his two friends, and the husbands of my host mom’s friends to the World Cup Stadium to watch a soccer game! When my host mom started talking about going to the game that was happening tonight, I got super excited. She told me that I could stay and hang out with the mothers at a cafe if I didn’t want to go. I reassured her that I really wanted to watch the game. It was a great opportunity!


Outside the Stadium



Seoul VS Ulsan (서울 VS 울산)


The soccer game started promptly at 7pm and the whole experience was very interesting. This was my first time being at a professional soccer game so I can’t really compare it to anything else in my past but I did make a lot of observations. And Korean soccer games are definitely different than professional baseball or hockey games that I have been to.



Look at how small the Ulsan section is compared to the Seoul side XD


PC: Host mom’s family friends high quality camera

One thing about Korean soccer games that I thought was very interesting was that they all seem to have memorized these fan chants. There are like 3 different ones and they shout them during certain times throughout the game. There were also songs that everyone would sing and clap along to.

There were also these annoying, loud horn type things. I believe they are called “Vuvuzelas” and they are said to have originated in South Africa and that is where their name comes from (the original creator, according to my research, is hard to pinpoint). Koreans LOVE to use them and they were constantly being blown at the game. The tv screens actually show images of the horns when they want the audience to use them.


Picture of a Vuvuzela from Google

There was also a part of the game where everyone held up their phone with the flashlight on and sang this song that was playing through the speakers. Luckily for me, the lyrics were flashing across the screen so I was able to participate with my phone and sing too!

The game was overall really fun and I am very fortunate to have been granted the opportunity to do something like that. It was also really fun to experience the game with my host brother as sometimes I find it hard to get close to him as our interests are very different. But we bonded a lot that day, especially sharing snacks! XD haha

The only downside was that no one won! The game was very action packed but it still ended in a tie 0 – 0 !!!


After the game was over, my host mom, my youngest host brother, and I visited HomePlus (the supermarket underneath/next to the stadium. I went there last weekend too!) We shopped around for the upcoming weeks groceries (I helped my host brother out and convinced my host mom to buy chocolate milk for him and I but in reality, it was all for him. I don’t like chocolate milk). My host brother and I also both ate some waffles for dessert! He ordered a waffle filled with strawberry cream while mine was vanilla cream.


It was VERY delicious!~


My host brother enjoying his waffle

We got home around midnight (past curfew omg! haha). It was all okay because I was with my host family 😉 During the car ride back home, my brother and I bonded over kpop groups. His favorite is CNBLUE. I was offended he didn’t know SHINee!

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe by adding your email to the right side of this post (or all the way at the bottom of my posts if you are on mobile). 안녕!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)



First Korean Language Test, Korean Cooking Class, and Myungdong!! (07/08/16)

Friday (July 8th, 2016) was a really fun day. I finally got a taste of the late curfew (on weekends our curfew was 11pm and on week days it was 9pm). I mean I got home around 9:30pm so it wasn’t too late but I felt very independent controlling what time I would get home. Friday was also my first Korean class that involved taking my first set of tests/quizzes. From now on I would have a grammar/writing test and a dialogue test every Friday.

Author’s note: Korean class was 3 hours and 30 minutes every day. The class was split into two different sections (with separate teachers teaching each class). We had a Grammar and Speaking class with one teacher, and a Listening and Speaking class with another teacher. This will help add to my test explanation. I will make a separate post solely about Korean language class in the future.

First we had our written test for the Grammar and Speaking Class. The test just went over all the different grammar points we had learned in the last week and we had to apply them to different sentences. There was also a section where we had to write full sentences using the given vocab words or grammar point. I did very well on the test actually (it was due to all of that studying). I only got 2 wrong out of 20 or so questions. The ones I got wrong were the two questions I doubted myself on (they were irregular). Either way, I was proud of myself!

Then we did a speaking test for our listening and Speaking Class. In order to pass our speaking test, we had to memorize three Korean dialogues from our textbook. We had to memorize the lines of both characters (the teacher would pick one conversation to test us for our grade). I was never told my exact grade but I do know I passed so that is good!

After our tests, our Listening and Speaking Korean Teacher showed us this video on youtube that was a song about 팥빙수 (Patbingsu – Red Bean Bingsu). It was a lot of fun! It was like a mini karaoke jam session because the lyrics were on the screen. Everyone else in the other classes came into ours during the break time because we wanted to keep on singing through break. Everyone said they were jealous of our cool teacher 😉 We also got no homework for the weekend so that was pretty awesome!~

Take a listen! Patbingsu Song by Yoon Jong-shin (윤종신)

After class, I went to this egg bread place with Sofia, Maris, and Grace. The English translation of the shop was “Older Brothers Egg Bread”. I ordered one with ketchup inside and for only $2, it was very tasty!


The Storefront

Then we headed off to Starbucks to grab something to drink with our egg bread. We couldn’t eat too much because we had cultural activities soon (and I had cooking class so I would be eating whatever I made!).


My chocolate banana smoothie and my egg bread

After lunch, I had a 30 minute subway ride to the cooking classes that were being held at the Food & Culture Academy (the president and lots of famous Korean actors/actresses have visited there!). When I arrived at the correct exit, I was the first one. I was afraid that I simply got the meeting place mixed up so I went back down underground but while I was doing that, I ran into this Korean guy. Right after we collided I immediately apologized in Korean and he immediately apologized in English. We both laughed after it happened and went our separate ways (I just thought I would mention it because I find it funny). I went back up to the exit and I ran into Joy who assured me that we were at the right exit. Eventually JT showed up with Vinzent. We ended up waiting a long time at the exit because Arjun and Ava were both late.


View From the Walk to the Academy

The cooking class was a lot of fun!~ The main chef in charge was super nice and she explained everything really well. She also would tell us the Korean name for every ingredient we used in our recipe. This class we made 해물파전 (Haemul Pajeon- Korean seafood pancake). Mine didn’t end up looking too good but it was still very delicious.


제 해물파전 (My Seafood Pancake)

After cooking class ended, Sofia and I went to MyungDong (명동) for the first time on the trip. At the Myungdong station there is a lot of underground shopping. The clothes are a pretty good price and there are kpop stores selling albums and merchandise cheaper than I could ever find on a website (and there is no shipping- SCORE!). At the subway store, I bought Jonghyun’s latest solo album as well as Taemin’s latest album. Lastly, I bought the newest BTS album for a friend back home. When I said thank you and bye to the guys running the store, they were very surprised. It was funny seeing the looks on their faces.


Fingerprints courtesy of my little brother

Looking for socks for $1? Check Myungdong station. It is the jackpot!

Right when we got to the most popular street in Myungdong, Sofia spotted a street vendor selling Carp Bread filled with Red Bean! (Something I have been wanting to try for forever). We each bought our own and they were $3 each.


Our Carp Bread!

Myungdong is mostly known for all the roadshop Korean makeup and skincare stores (two things I really don’t know much about since I usually never wear makeup). And you can’t go to Korea without buying something from the most famous stores. While Sofia and I were walking around, I spotted The Saem which is the Korean cosmetics store SHINee endorses (If this wasn’t known already, SHINee is my favorite Korean pop group).


This Sign was Truly Glorious


yes I made Sofia stand in a crowded doorway so I could take a selfie with Key! He is my favorite kpop idol!~

I ended up buying a face wash for under $4 dollars  which resulted in me getting a free SHINee face mask. I went back to The Saem (still in Myungdong, but a different location from the first one) and bought some blush thing for a friend (hoping I would get another face mask) but unfortunately, I didn’t get another one 😦

When Sofia and I were walking by this makeup store called Holika Holika, this lady standing outside shouting the deals at us literally grabbed us by our wrists and forcefully pulled us in. I was very shocked when it happened and after I was inside the store, I was too busy laughing to really care about the intrusion of my personal bubble. I ended up buying a product so I guess their sale tactic worked.


Sofia and I Minutes Before Being Pulled into Holika Holika by our Wrists

The rest of the night was spent walking around the many streets and taking note of all the different street food that was up for grabs. Eventually we caved in once again and shared a cup of spicy chicken with rice cakes (we ended up not finishing it because our tastebuds had still not adapted to the Korean Spice). We also ended up stopping at a cafe for a little bit so Sofia could charge her phone.


I made sure that we stopped in a Cafe that served bubble tea. This time I ordered Taro bubble tea!


Our Chicken and The Streets of Myungdong

I ended up going to bed really late that night since I stayed up eating watermelon with my host mom after she got back from Hagwon (Korean Tutoring Academy – AKA her job). Late that night I also got a text from my supporter!


From hearing lots of fun stories from previous years alumni about supporters, I was so excited to meet mine the following week!

And that was my night! My first time in Myungdong. My first Korean language test. My first Korean cooking class. My first text from my supporter. And Finally, my first experience with the weekend curfew. It was a very fun day and it definitely set the bar high for the rest of the summer 😉 Thanks for Reading! Please subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already! 안녕!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

What I Bought That Day


I will never use my SHINee Face Mask


More Socks!~ XD

Lunch Around 숙대 With Friends & Meeting My Host Grandparents (07/07/16)

Thursday (July 7th, 2016) was another day at school where we played some fun games and discussed a lot of words that I did not know. haha After class, we had an hour and 40 minutes to have lunch around 숙대 (SookDae – Combination of Sookmyung and the word for university 대학교. It is the slang all the young people use! XD). After lunch we had to go back to school for a meeting with Better World to discuss how we were adjusting with our host families and let them know if we had any issues with the family.

So, I went with Yves, Anna-Kate, Ariel (All 나무 반 classmates) to find a cool lunch place to eat. We had no idea what we wanted to eat so we just walked around until we stumbled upon a place that had pictures of really delicious looking food plastered on the windows. The funniest part about our pick was that 10 minutes later, another group of nsliyians showed up at the exact restaurant. An example that great minds think alike. haha


I had a lovely Cream Ramen with Shrimp and Vegetables

After lunch we stopped by this cafe near Sookmyung for some bubble tea. Bubble tea is an Asian specialty drink containing flavored tea and tapioca balls usually called pearls. I love bubble tea so much. Back in the states, there are no shops near me! Since I am in Korea, I am taking advantage of all the opportunities to drink, eat, and sleep bubble tea. haha 🙂


I ordered a caramel bubble tea and Yves ordered a taro bubble tea



Group Selfie! (Ariel, Yves, Anna-Kate, and Me)


The cafe was very small but cutely decorated

I ended up leaving my new umbrella at the cafe (I just bought it the day before for $4). However, the employee was super nice and he actually stuck his head out the door and yelled “우산!” (우산 is umbrella). Luckily, I knew what the word was since it was one of the first Korean words I learned (Thank you Integrated Korean Beginner 1 Textbook). I obviously rushed back and thanked him.

After a little bubble tea break, we had to go to the meeting at the school. It wasn’t all too interesting. We looked over the Nsli-y terms and conditions (the things we signed when applying) as well as solving some host family cases from previous years.

After the meeting, I went to the convenience store with Yves and we each bought two different types of pepero to share during Korean class breaks the next day. I purchased cookies and cream pepero and blueberry pocky. Korean convenience stores are literally the greatest things ever! (A separate post about that soon).


Stock Photo


Stock Photo

Dinner was one of the best dinners I have had so far. I had dinner with my entire host family (My host mom, host dad, both host siblings, and my host grandparents from my host mother’s side). We had Korean pizza and Korean fried chicken. The food tasted great (even though my pizza had a cream sauce rather than a tomato sauce) but the best part of the dinner was the conversation that I had with my host parents and host grandparents. That dinner was what I really needed to feel fully invested in the family. I had so much fun laughing with them all. Even though my host grandmother didn’t speak a lick of English, the jokes transcended the language barrier and we both shared a couple of laughs. I learned that the family has quite a few family members that live in America and English speaking countries (Australia and New Zealand). I also learned that my host dad really liked Western cowboy movies. Luckily, I had watched his favorite in my cinema class Freshman year. I was able to talk to him about it (He was a wee bit drunk which made him talk to me a lot more since he was not afraid of making mistakes in English. He talked to me more when he was drunk than any other time). The most memorable part of the night  was when my host grandmother was trying to tell me about the American actresses she knew of. She kept telling me “Marina Mondue” (I was so confused and kept looking at everyone with such a puzzled look). Finally, I got the hint that she was talking about Marilyn Monroe and when I said her name out loud, my host parents erupted in laughter. They kept telling me to repeat her name (in an American accent of course) and wouldn’t stop laughing because of the difference. It was really funny.


The pizza we ate. It was actually pretty normal according to standard Korean pizzas

Hope you enjoyed reading about my day in Korea!~ Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to come back soon for another update (it would be easier if you simply subscribed ^^).

  • Emma (엠마)

First Day of Korean Class & Visiting the National Museum of Korea and The Hangul Museum (07/05/16)

Tuesday (July 5th, 2016) was the first day of classes at Sookmyung. I was super excited to attend a real Korean class (I have only self-studied it in the past) and see where I was placed regarding my skill level. However, getting to school wasn’t exactly easy since it was raining super super hard in the morning and when I was riding the subway to school (at 용산역) the lights of the train turned off and it stopped moving for around 5 minutes. I called JT and told him that I would be late getting to school (this phone call was really awkward as the train was silent and the only one talking was me and the fact that it was in English made me stand out even more). When I finally arrived to the station, I met up with Saha and Sarah who were also late getting to school. We went out exit #10 and began to walk up the huge hill to get to school. We literally had to walk up a river. There was so much rain that the sidewalks were flooded. When we finally got up the stairs of the university, the drainage on the tiles were stopped up and so there was a huge pool of water. Of course I didn’t see it so I put both my feet into the pool of water. My sandals got so soaked! (I later took my shoes off in the classroom and set them on the air vents to air dry).

When I got to the right floor, there was a long list hanging up next to the stairwell with the four different Korean classes and all the names of who was in which class. For this years program, we were split up into 4 different classes. The first two classes were beginner classes. The only difference between the classes was that one class learned the alphabet on the first day while the other class simply reviewed it and then started learning other things. The third class was called the intermediate class (it wasn’t intermediate level but from the kids in our program, it was considered the intermediate class) and finally, the last class was the advanced class (again the students in the class weren’t advanced speakers of Korean. I would classify them as intermediate at the beginning of the summer. They were just the advanced students in comparison to everyone on the program).


우리 나무 반 (Our Tree Class)

I was pleased to find out that I was placed in the intermediate class. Our class’ name was 나무 반 which translates to tree class (it was a great fit since my classmate Yves’ Korean name is 나무). The only bad thing about my placement was that a majority of the students in my class were way more advanced than me. They could easily conjugate verbs and I still hadn’t learned future tense yet. The problem must have been that I couldn’t be placed in beginner (because I was passed that) but I wasn’t exactly at the same level everyone else in my class had been at in the beginning of the summer. The first class was spent receiving our textbooks (we had a textbook and a workbook) and of course introducing ourselves to our two teachers. It was a lot of fun and it was nowhere near being the same as my Spanish language classes back at home. For three big reasons;

(1. Everyone WANTED to be there

(2. They wanted to actually Learn and Study Korean

(3. Everyone gave their best effort


My classmates Jesse, Cynthia, and Yves (Not pictured: Sofia, Peter, Tucker, Nicole, Jodi, Casey, Ariel, Anna-Kate, and Me)

After class ended at 1pm, we only had 30 minutes for lunch because we had to be at 이촌역 (Ichon Station) at 1:40pm. For lunch I went to 김밥천국 (Kimbap Heaven) with a lot of the Nsliyians but I sat at a table with Yves and Ariel (two of my 나무 반 classmates). We ordered three rolls of Kimbap and they were around $2 each (such a good deal). We ordered 소고기 김밥 (Beef Kimbap) , 계란 김밥 (Egg Kimbap), and 누드 김밥 (Nude Kimbap. Normal Kimbap but with no seaweed wrapped around the rice).


My Egg Kimbap (We shared all the rolls though)

We took a little too long eating lunch so we ended up showing up late to the meeting spot which made our resident directors pretty mad but we apologized profusely and at least we weren’t the last ones to show up (they were over 10 minutes late. We were only a couple minutes late).

First, we went to the Hangul Museum.


It was raining as usual


Hangul Museum

We watched a few videos on King Sejong and how he was able to create Hangul, an alphabet easy enough for the common people to learn. We also watched clips of indigenous cultures from Africa and parts of Asia that adopted Hangul as their writing system in order to preserve their languages (this was very interesting to me as I had never heard of anything like that before).


Then we learned all about Korean holidays such as New Years. We learned about Hanbok (Korean Traditional Clothing) and 세배 (Korean New Year Bow).



Nyslians Tucker, Nicole, Margo, and Kyle demonstrated the 세배

세배 (romanized as sebae) is a deep formal bow that younger members of the family perform to the older members of the family to show respect. On New Years, a well-performed Sebae will result in the older family members giving gifts or money to the younger members of the family.

Then we watched a video on the King Seongdeok Bell (and how it is the best bell in the world) and a video about modern advancements Korea has made since the Korean War.

Our little presentation ended with some traditional Korean treats/desserts. We were given slices of Korean Pear, Korean rice cakes, and some fruity tea/juice.


Selfie w/ Sofia (ft Grace)

Then we headed on over to the National Museum of Korea where we were split up into two groups and had a tour guide take us around the museum and give us talks on the things that we saw. My favorite room was the ones with all the buddhist statues. I just find them very beautiful.



The details on everything were very beautiful.



After the museum, I went home on the subway right away. Some people went out but I was tired and I had to study really hard that night if I didn’t want to be behind (because my classmates were so good). I stopped at the convenience store on my way home, picked up some banana milk and I got home just in time to have dinner with my host mother and siblings. And that was my Tuesday in Korea!~


When the rain seemed to stop just so I could take this photo 🙂

Thanks for Reading! I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to subscribe~ 안녕!!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)