Escape Room & Cake Cafe with 혜린언니 and Katie (04/04/19) NSLI-Y Korea AY

04/04/19 Thursday

The school day was a blurrrr (If I tried to figure out the most commonly written phrases from my blog, I bet one of them would be calling school or Korean class a “blur.” Along with things like “it was so delicious” and “I had so much fun.”) so I believe that I just tried to pay attention during the lectures at first and then when I got too bored, I took out my own Korean stuff and worked on those things. (I definitely remember trying to memorize my Korean class speech during 한국사.)

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Me and one of the Japanese exchange students!

At one point during class, my 한국사 teacher told me that after meeting the Japanese exchange students, he realized how good I was at Korean because they all literally came with no knowledge (not really even basic knowledge) of the Korean language because they did not take it in school nor did they self study it–like me. He laughed about this, finding his thoughts amusing, and then asked the class if there were any Japanese students present right then and there to hear what he had to say. When he found relief in the fact that there were none, he then made another joke about the fact that even if they were there, they would not have understood what he said. I felt happy that the teacher could see that I am putting in effort to speak Korean but then I felt bad for the Japanese students. They were not here to learn the language, but to just participate in an exchange and that exchange was mostly for culture. It made me think about the other NSLI-Y students who came with a very low level of Korean abilities and if teachers treated them like that at first… I would have been very disappointed.

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One of my classmates in 한국사 gave me this Japanese jelly snack ❤

Anyway, Katie and I left school early before lunch (I needed to memorize my presentation which did not give me time to have lunch at school today) and went to Korean class. Once again, class was a blur. I did present about my favorite Korean expressions which included an expression for laughing (that should ONLY be used between friends) 실실 쪼개다 and 답답하다 which is an expression to use when you feel suffocated and frustrated. 

After class, Katie and I met up with our supporter 혜린 언니 to have a fun night together in 홍대! Since classes on Thursdays end at 6 making it pretty late already (and we had our escape room time reserved for 7 pm) we ended up going to 7-11 for dinner instead of having a full meal…. And by dinner I meant that Katie and I ate ice cream!

We did an escape room at Mystery Room Escape that was themed after this novelist who committed suicide because he failed his book and the point of the escape room was that you were supposed to be trapped with him in his novel. The escape room was all in Korean and if we did not have our supporter with us, I am not confident that we would have even been able to make it past the first room. But besides the added difficulty because of the language barrier, we were all able to work together quite well to solve the puzzles. It was really rewarding to see how we were all able to figure out our own small things that contributed to helping us get farther and farther through the room.

Even though I think we did really well at first, we did get stumped at the last puzzle of the first room which involved placing these phrases in a certain order on the wall according to what was written in a note left by the author. We kept messing up the order and even just started putting random things in order because we could not figure out how to solve the puzzle. This wasted a lot of our time. Eventually, we did actually make it through the door but then we got stuck on the second to last puzzle of the escape room! We were supposed to place one of the items we got out of the drawer in this whole which would show us something that we desperately needed to solve the puzzle but we were just holding the item the entire time, twirling it around without even thinking that we needed to do something with it. When the clock’s time ran out and we heard the deafening alarm that might as well been a voice recorder saying “loser” over and over again to rub in the fact that we could not succeed in our faces. 

When the employee came in and shoved the item in the hole, I wanted to scream. The room lit up, a video started being displayed, and the major KEY for the solving of the puzzle appeared! We all wanted to scream! The guy gave us a chance to solve the puzzle again and when we did, we felt even worse for having messed up doing it ourselves. We left the room and proceeded to get our stuff from our lockers (walking past the group that came in before us while they took their celebratory escape photo was almost torturous) and the other employee came up to us and asked if we succeeded in escaping. I sadly told him no and his eyes immediately widened, you could tell that he was shocked. Yup, you heard it here folks, we could not even escape from the easiest room!! (I may seem very salty but… okay, I am. But we just laugh about it now. Our wounds have healed…)

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We were actually the only ones in the cafe which was really nice! We had the whole place to ourselves! It was cozy and peaceful~ Come here at low-peak time!

After our failed attempt at doing an escape room, we left to chill at a cafe together and just update each other on our lives. We have not seen each other for more than a month! We went from seeing each other multiple times a week for two months and then no in-person contact for a solid month! Katie and I really grew to miss our supporter! I took the girls to this cafe called Caffe Yam which I found from a Youtube video and was hoping that I remembered enough of the way so that we could stumble upon it again. I really hoped that we would be able to order some really adorable sugary drinks (I really wanted to go for the pictures… was not expecting much from the taste).

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We ended up staying at the cafe for only a little bit more than an hour–just chatting and enjoying our unicorn drinks and rainbow cake (literally the cutest things ever!). 혜린언니 was literally our big sister and proceeded to scold us and be happy for us all at the same time as we told her what we had been up to recently. Chatting with her reminds me of how lucky we were to be placed in a group project with her~ And I know wherever we end up in the future, we will always have 언니 to talk to and support us through all of our endeavors.

Well, that is all for this blog post, I hope you enjoyed! Have you ever done an escape room in a foreign country? How was your experience? I actually still have not done one back home in America… but the ones in Korea were just so much fun (and cheaper too…) Until Next time! Thanks for reading~

  • Emma 엠마

Winter Break Research Project Orientation & First Meeting {01/07-08/19} NSLI-Y Korean AY

01/07/19 Monday

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The walk to the train station (in the morning~)

Monday morning, before our orientation for the Cultural Explorers Project {the name of our winter break project}, Katie and I went to a cafe near Better World to work on our Winter Break work. We went to a cafe called 별빛 (or something or other) which I’ve been to on several occasions with Josh during break times in between Korean class sections. I wanted to go there because it’s adorable, the atmosphere is cute, and they have rainbow cake! Something I’ve been wanting to try~ So with my usual order of a green tea latte, Katie and I shared a slice of rainbow cake.

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At the cafe, I started the longer 쓰기 that made up the writing portion of my practice Topik test. It was about the importance of communication and finding a good method for maintaining relationships, etc. I got more than halfway through it so it was a productive cafe date.

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Eventually, lunchtime rolled around but we stayed there and ended up not really eating lunch so throughout the orientation, we snacked on the prepared crackers and treats from Better World. Arriving at the presentation room was quite awkward at first, we all stared at the Korean college students and were scared to interact with them so the room was divided in half: one side of the room being NSLI-Y students and the other side was made up of the supporters. This awkward tension was definitely predicted by the Better World Staff as we started the orientation off with some bonding activities. The first thing we did was walk around the room with pieces of paper and gave them to others in order for them to draw our face; however, the catch was that they could only draw one part. For example, Shada drew my hair and then Jack did a whack job drawing my eyes! Luckily, June saved the day and fixed my eyes which was highly appreciated– my drawing actually kinda turned out nice.

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아프로디테 같다 (like Aphrodite) my favorite comment

The next thing we did was walk around and write our first impressions on each others paper. I tried my best to get to talk to the supporters because I wanted to meet them as well as practice my Korean by writing their impressions in Korean. We shared some of them in front of the whole group and 주연쌤 started making fun of something one of the male supporters had on their paper which was what I wrote! I wrote that he seemed to like to travel and she was like How would you know that? I was like his aura!!! Apparently, she did not get the same vibe as me.

We did a few more bonding activities like tongue twisters and getting into groups to copy pictures of people using their bodies to create certain shapes? Hard to explain…. Eventually, we found out which supporter was in our group through a very cheesy introduction center and lots of drum rolls. Katie and I were paired with a female college student named 혜린. She seems so kind and is very adorable! At first, we were all pretty shy together and since Katie and I are so close (and we show it too…) she must have felt a bit awkward. However, as the orientation continued, we seemed to get more comfortable with each other (By the end of this project, I hope we can stay close! Which means… periodically hang out until we go back to America!) Our supporter is an English major so her English is really good. She started speaking to us only in English because she assumed we knew no Korean and since the topic is pretty difficult to communicate in my limited Korean skills, Katie and I responded to her mostly in English. Hopefully, (more hoping) we can use our time together to practice Korean more, too!

After getting in a group with our supporters, we did a few more bonding activities like playing charades (Our theme was sports and we actually won! We answered the most questions correctly… unfortunately, we did not win a prize, though.) as well as making shapes with ribbon while being blindfolded. Yeah, it was as confusing as it sounds. Once the fun icebreakers were finished, we got to work. We all split off into our groups and created a group contract or 약속 that we need to follow during these two months. Our group included going to pretty cafes every meeting, having fun, and putting in our best effort. We also presented to the other groups the topic we are planning on focusing on for this research project which is the quality of life of single mothers in South Korea (especially due to the surrounding stigma). We came up with the group name 독닙여성 which translates to independent women because that is what we are!

Eventually, we all finished up with the mandatory activities and it was time to all have lunch together. We ended up eating 만두전골 at the same restaurant we ate at during the beginning of the program which was really nice. I recognized the food and the area we sat in which brought back the good memories. However, it also reminded me of how much time has passed which brought up some bittersweet emotions to the table. I sat with Katie, 혜린언니, Addie, Jenna, Josh, and Addie & Jenna’s supporter. We just chatted during dinner in a mixture of Korean and English about our majors, our Korean class, favorite foods, etc. It was a nice dinner with delicious food and good company~

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Rather than going home right away, I decided to stay out with a couple more people to enjoy the rest of the night (as well as take advantage of the late curfew). I ended up going to 설빙 and shared a 망고 and 인절미 빙수 with 유빈, June, Kaitlyn, and Josh. Mckenzie and Katie also tagged along to hang out with everyone too. Our little hangout was fun and I got to meet Alix & Jacks supporter 유빈 who was really nice! Kaitlyn, 유빈, and I took photo booth pictures at the machine in the 설빙 and although the pictures were low key not cute, I will forever treasure them! Especially the first picture because josh tried fitting into the booth which did not turn out well but half of his face in the photo really makes it perfect.

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1/08/19 Tuesday

Tuesday was not a super exciting day. Katie and I would be having our first CEP meeting at Blanc Bakery (honestly my favorite place in 홍대 it seems) with our supporter 혜린. I was excited to finally get to start our project because we have only been talking about it for so long, but then again, I was nervous because I knew it was going to be a lot of work and with everything else going on… it would be a struggle!

During this meeting, we munched on pastries while filling out our project proposal which outlines our topic and what we wanted to do for our project and the presentation the next month. 민정쌤 came to hear our ideas but let me just say… that the consultation did not go well. I think it was a mix of us still not having finished our project proposal and knowing the exact details of what we wanted to do and the fact that this topic is both difficult and sensitive to others which caused us to have a pretty tense discussion with 민정쌤. We were feeling anxious and stressed because things did not seem to be going well and after 민정쌤 left our group, we felt a bit dejected about all that we had done. We did our best to finish up for the day and make plans for the next meeting. 혜린언니 and I left Katie at the cafe because she wanted to keep doing homework while we left to go get lunch separately. I ended up grabbing 김밥 from the 편의점 and just ate at CYC while waiting for Korean class to start.

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However, as class time was approaching, I was all confused as to why my teacher hadn’t shown up yet. Then, Kaitlyn informs us that our teacher was going to be an hour late so would be having class from 3-6 pm rather than 2-5pm like normal. We were all really confused because both our teacher and Better World said absolutely NOTHING to us! We were a bit salty because we could all have gone and had a nice lunch together if we had known earlier. We called 소야쌤 and she seemed to have simply forgotten to tell us.

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Grilled Cheese Selfie! #cheesy

In order to pass the newfound time, I went with Josh and Jacquelyn to this tiny little grilled cheese shop owned by a Russian Expat living here in Korea. The prices were very low! Only $2 for a normal grilled cheese! I already had 김밥, so I didn’t get anything… but I know I will be back!

That is all for this blog post~ I hope you enjoyed. Sorry for the abrupt end to the second day but I ran out of photos from then to jog my memory and since I am writing this post almost two weeks after it happened (because I just have not had the chance to keep up to date with my writing) I have forgotten what I did the rest of the day–including the happenings in Korean class. I cannot remember anything from it… I am going to try really hard from now one to be good about writing! Keeping these logs of my days are really important to me so you heard it here first, keep me accountable? Thanks for reading!

  • Emma 엠마

All About Supporter Groups (Korean Summer NSLI-Y Program)

Though everything from my summer in Seoul, South Korea with NSLI-Y was amazing, the friendships I fostered within my supporter group and the memories we made with each other were nothing short of being on the top of the list of my favorite things from the program.

The name “supporter” is pretty unique to the NSLI-Y Korea program. From the conversations I have had with other alumni, most programs have peers that help the students with their language learning by tutoring; however, supporters and supporter groups are really only found on the Korea program.

A supporter is a Korean college age student that acts as a tutor, a tour guide, and if you can successfully build a relationship — a lifelong friend. Supporter groups are made up of your Korean supporter and usually one or two other students. (Usually, these students are from your own Korean class since you will have a similar language level to them.) We found out our supporter groups when we received a text from our supporter on our program phone. I found out the other members of my group by comparing texts with my classmates on the following day during Korean class. On the Korean summer program, we had supporter meetings twice a week: Tuesday and Thursday. The meeting was about two hours long and there were two types of meetings.

 

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My Lovely Supporter Group (Left to right: Jodi, Casey, Sujin, and I)

 

The Academic Supporter Meeting

During the average supporter meetings (which I will call an “academic supporter meeting”), our supporters acted like our Korean language tutors. Supporters usually meet at cafes and sometimes restaurants if they have planned to have lunch with their “students” before the actual studying part of the meeting. They are given stipends to use to buy any food, snacks, or drinks from the cafe; therefore, this is a great way to try out many Korean treats and cafes as a matter of fact. My supporter meeting was at the same cafe every time (with one or two exceptions when we, instead, went to 설빙 and Blind Alley) but many supporter groups changed up their meeting locations every meeting. They would have their supporter text them the location/map before every meeting. During this kind of supporter meeting, we would study Korean using this little booklet that went along with what we covered in class. (And a little more vocabulary words for good measure.)

We would go over vocab words as well as grammar points. Our supporter would make sure that we knew how to utilize the new knowledge effectively before asking us questions in which we could practice using them. After everyone had studied the vocab and grammar points, we would record our answers to more questions that our supporter asked us. (This sometimes took awhile due to many BAD mess ups as well as too much laughing in the background of the recordings.)

Cultural Excursion Supporter Meeting

The second type of supporter meetings were cultural excursions. Our supporters acted as tour guides by taking us around Seoul to famous historical sites. My supporter group had two cultural excursions throughout the duration of the program. We had one at Gyeongbokgung (경복궁) and at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (동대문디자인플라자).

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The cultural excursions were a great way to learn more about Korean history (and more modern aspects of the culture) which we did not get much of during class. They were also great for bonding. Through these excursions, I was able to get close with more of my classmates as well as make some Korean friends. We also got to try a lot of delicious Korean desserts during our cultural excursions and actually… they were all bingsu desserts haha

And that is everything I have to say about supporter groups! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and hopefully it is informative to all the future NSLI-Y scholars. Supporter groups can truly make the program that much better! The next informational post I will be writing will be about culture clubs for the Korea summer program in Seoul. Look out for that!~

안녕 친구들~ ❤

  • Emma (엠마)

Last Korean Class and Supporter Meeting (August 11th, 2016)

Thursday was a day of many lasts… :,( I woke up feeling excited about school but I was also feeling sadness due to the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be waking up for Korean class anymore. I also woke up pretty late today because I accidently set my alarm for 6:30 pm rather than 6:30 in the morning. Even though I woke up late, I still had an amazing breakfast made for me by my host mom.

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One important thing to know about Korean breakfasts is that they are pretty much like any other Korean meal in a day. Usually, there is rice, 반찬 (side dishes), maybe a soup of some kind, and a meat dish. I am pretty sure Koreans usually don’t eat Tonkatsu for breakfast but my host mom made it once in awhile (usually on the weekend).

Korean class was a lot of fun today. (I mean, it usually is but today was extra fun!) The first part of the class was our teacher just rushing through the grammar points we couldn’t finish before the final. We didn’t spend too much time on each one but it was still nice to be able to get through the summary of them with our Korean teachers. Also, before class started that day, Sofia and I visited the Morning Glory (a stationary shop) near Sookmyung to buy something to give to our teachers from all of their students. Sofia and I found these really cute apple notebooks and we figured that they would appreciate receiving a little book with letters from all of us. We bought the notebooks and then during every 10-minute break we had, we passed the books to everyone and had them write a short little letter to them in Korean. We eventually finished all the letters at the end of the school day and planned to give it to them during our graduation ceremony the next day.

During the second part of our Korean class, we played a few fun games. My favorite game was this one where we picked one person from our team (We split our class up in half depending on where we were sitting in the class. My team was Nicole, Jodi, Casey, Jesse, and me while the other team was Sofia, Cynthia, Yves, Tucker, Peter, Ariel, and Anna-Kate.) and they were sent to stand in the front of the class. Our Korean teacher would write a word on the whiteboard and then the other team members, the ones sitting down, would try to get the person standing up to say the word. It is basically like the game called hedbanz or the app called Heads Up except nothing is on your head. I got a video of the game and it was so hilarious watching the video back and seeing us struggle with some of the words that were chosen. We had to explain it to them in Korean only and we were not allowed to use gestures (which was hard for me since I always talk with my hands). We played two rounds of this game and the first one up was Jodi for my team and Tucker for the other.

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The word was 울다 (To Cry)

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Such a simple game that results in sooo many laughs~

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Things got a little heated when Peter used English to get Tucker to say the word.

Our teacher just flipped through our textbook and picked random words that we covered. She picked ones from the very beginning of the summer and mostly words that she knew we had trouble with.

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Casey was up next and she dominated!

We also had to break ties quite often because the people up front would not always listen to their team and therefore say the words at the same time. During this round, the word was 특별하다 (To be special) and they both said the word after Jesse made it super obvious by repeating one of the sentences from our textbook dialogues.

After our game, we had another activity where we each got a colored piece of paper with our Korean name written on it. (Some of the kids in the class had a Korean name – like Casey, Yves, and Cynthia – but most of us just had our English names written in Hangul.) We passed the sheets of paper around the class and had everyone sign our paper and write a little message on it. The room was so quiet while we did this and it was really sad as we knew this would be our last day in this very classroom.

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우리 선생님은 너무 귀여워요!~ ❤

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My last 바나나 우유 (Banana Milk) during our class break.

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Our deserted classroom during break time. Except for Cynthia who is sleeping on her desk. This was very common, though, she is in her natural state~ haha

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The Selfie Squad of 나무반

During this last day of school, we also voted on some projects that some of the other classes did. The advanced class made posters for a cool after school club they would have if they had the opportunity to make one. We watched them present them and then voted for our favorites by placing stickers on them. We also did the same thing for one of the beginner classes but I can’t remember what it was for. (It was not for a club though.) I voted for the lovely poster that had a drawing of 김수현 (Kim Soo Hyun) by the lovely Jessica.

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Look how good this is!! ❤ 제시카는 정말 좋은 예술가예요. 김수현은 너무 멋있고 잘 생겼어요~ ❤

After school, we had our last supporter meeting of the program as well as a rehearsal/practice for our graduation ceremony that was going to be held Friday morning. For lunch, Sofia, Angie, and I were feeling some Bingsu. Our diets were made up of Bingsu during the whole summer and we had to eat it as much as we could before we wouldn’t be having it for awhile. So that was why we were being so unhealthy eating bingsu for lunch. (hey, at least our bingsu had fruit on it!)

If you asked me what my favorite bingsu was at the beginning of the summer, I would have told you Injeolmi Bingsu (인절미 빙수). But now that melon bingsu has graced my tongue, I will now say that I understand why all the Koreans were ordering this flavor this summer. Melon Bingsu (메론빙수) is the best bingsu!~

After having our “lunch,” we all split up and went to our meeting spots for our last supporter meeting. I believe Sofia was meeting our supporters at Cafe Areca and I told her how jealous I was! For my last meeting, we were meeting my supporter at our school’s front gate and then we would walk to the cafe together.

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We went to Blind Alley which took a lot of convincing since my supporter Sujin is afraid of dogs and this cafe always has a dog running around. It also has… raccoons!~

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This cafe is very popular for its raccoons. When we went there, there were a lot of Koreans but also another group of foreigners.

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The day was very fun as we spent the meeting just hanging out, talking, and laughing the entire time. We did go over vocab and our recordings which are our requirements but we also had a lot of fun as well. One of the funniest parts of the meeting was Sujin periodically screaming every time Cookie, the puppy, kept coming close to us and running under our table.

I have no idea how my supporter could even be afraid of this puppy. It is the cutest! For our meal, we originally ordered bingsu (haha XD) but the machine ended up being broken so we just ordered and ate honey bread as well as this grilled cheese bagel type thing.

And then… we experienced the raccoons. One of the workers at the cafe went into the room with the raccoons and started playing with them. He then takes the dark-colored one and put it on his shoulder and walked around the cafe allowing everyone to pet it. And then we think he is putting it back into the room (we were sitting right next to the raccoon room) but then he passes our table and places the raccoon on my shoulder. I started “whisper screaming” as he put some feed into my hand and the raccoon started eating out of my palm. After a few seconds, I got used to the creature and just smiled the whole time. It was so fun to be able to hold a raccoon and feed it.

Then throughout the time we were there, he was putting the raccoon on other customers and eventually Jodi, Casey, and even Sujin.

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Sujin only kept the raccoon on her shoulder for a few seconds but we were glad she had even done it at all. When the worker was coming closer to her to put it on her shoulder, she knew what he had in mind and started standing up so he couldn’t do anything. He then tried to reassure her by saying if it bit her, they would give her a free drink. This made Sujin scream even louder and it was too funny for us not to laugh at.

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The lady in the back smiling and laughing at Sujin.

Then, while we were at the counter putting sanitizer on our hands before leaving. A woman, who I presume was the owner, walked in. She was really loud, putting her bag on the counter and then went to go grab the raccoons. Jodi and I were waiting for Casey and Sujin to finish up, the lady put this white raccoon on my shoulder. This raccoon was so hyper and jumpy and I was silently freaking out while it walked down my arm. Then it jumped on Jodi while she was trying to put it back on my shoulder. It was such an interesting but also terrifying experience and we felt so much better when the lady took the raccoon off of us.

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I quickly snapped a photo of Jodi with the raccoon.

After our supporter meeting, we went back to school and had our rehearsal for our graduation ceremony. All the culture clubs practiced what they were gonna do and so did all the talent show acts (including my class doing our parody of Phineas and Ferb). It was not too long and I was able to get home early and have dinner with my host family.

It would be my last dinner with my host family and so we had a very special one. We all ate cold water noodles (물냉면) as well as honey chicken from Kyochon Chicken. This summer I didn’t do too much with my family, activities wise because my host parents were always working and I had school so it was difficult to find time. My host brother was also always doing something with soccer so that made planning things difficult as well. But one thing I will always cherish, however, was all the dinners I ate with my host family. Eating with them and just talking about our days was what I wanted the most from my host family experience.

And that was my LAST Thursday in Korea… my last supporter meeting, my last Korean class, and my last dinner with my host family. But everything made for such great memories and I couldn’t have asked for better last experiences 🙂 Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed~ ^^ 안녕~

엠마 (Emma)

 

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Karaoke, and Korean Barbeque (August 4th, 2016)

Thursday (08/04/16) was another supporter meeting in which we did a cultural excursion. It was a very fun day since everything I did after Korean class was with my supporter group. We bonded so much this day!

After Korean class, Casey, Jodi, and I stopped to pick up a quick lunch to eat while we were traveling by subway to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station ( 동대문역사문화공완역) which was our meeting spot. We all stopped at Kimbap Heaven (김밥천국) for kimbap rolls for $2 and then we went to Tous Les Jours for a pastry. I purchased melon bread. It tasted like it sounds. It was also just green colored bread! Very sweet but very delicious. Very similar to melon milk as well. Unfortunately, I never took a picture of it as we had to hurry up and eat before our excursion began.

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Here is a stock photo of melon bread. It looked just like this.

When we finally made it to the station, we waited for the other supporter groups and their Nsliyians. We were going to go to Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) with Jun’s supporter group made up of Yves, Ariel, and Peter and Dayoung’s Supporter group made up of Mckenzie and Sarah. We walked around Dongdaemun Design Plaza and looked at the sculptures they had up that had to do with the Google Play “seminar” type thing. They had several tablets open up to new apps that everyone could try out and play. Even though you would assume all fighting games are the same… Korean ones are way different than anything I have ever played in America.

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One of the sculptures I was talking about

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We had to get bracelets put on our wrists

Our resident director Madeline also showed up and hung out with us at DDP. She was having a blast playing the games even though she kept losing and Jun had to come in and save the day. Yves was also surprisingly good at all of the games too.

While we were there, a woman was on stage and she was asking questions to the audience which seemed to be mostly Korean children and teens. They were also playing music and the lights changed as well. We took a few pictures sitting on the stage after the show ended for that time slot.

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After we finished up at Google Play, we walked around DDP and took pictures next to more sculptures and even got free fans that were being handed out for an art exhibit. (It was the best fan I have ever used!) There were also these chairs that you could sit on and spin around and they got so low to the ground that it made you think you were falling and the fast speed didn’t help the feeling either. It was a lot of fun and scary at the same time.

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Pigs are my favorite animals! My supporter group and I are all cute little piggies~ ❤

There was also a boy playing the piano and he was amazing! But it was so hot that the back of his shirt was soaked with sweat. It was a very relatable moment as at the same time my backpack straps were making me sweat 10x more than usual. I had literal backpack strap sweat stains by the end of the afternoon. #OnlyintheKoreanheat

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DDP is very pretty

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We all look dead here from the heat. It was so hot this day… hence the free fans we got!~

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GROUP PHOTO (With the sun in everybody’s eyes.)

After we finished walking around and the heat became too much, we ate some more traditional bingsu. We had green tea bingsu and the original red bean bingsu. We looked through our goodie bags from the Google Play event and played cards while eating.

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Our Bingsu~ ❤

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After bingsu, we walked around Dongdaemun Market (동대문시장). We were supposed to go before bingsu so we could buy food, but bingsu was much needed earlier so we ended up not buying any food or snacks. We looked around the souvenirs as well and I was able to pick some up for my family back home. I bought some pencil cases and some clay figures wearing hanbok (Korean traditional dress).

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동대문시장

After our supporter meeting, my group decided to spend the rest of night with each other. We decided to head to Hongdae and have some dinner. After that, we planned to go to a 노래방 for some Karaoke because Jodi had some coupons for this one place that she had been to multiple times already.

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For dinner we ended up getting Korean barbecue (삼겹살)

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Jodi and I singing SHINee! ❤

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And that was my Thursday with my supporter group! It was a lot of fun and it made me realize how much I appreciate having supporter groups during this program. I knew about them before I applied but I didn’t think I would have this much fun with mine nor that I would get so close with the members of my group. My supporter group honestly made my experience in Korea that much better!~ I will definitely make a post about supporter groups in Korea soon (Here is that post!~) Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading! 안녕~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

 

Best Supporter Meeting Ever! (July 28th, 2016)

This Thursday’s Supporter Meeting was one of the best ones yet. I think I can say this due to all the goofing off we did. We still got everything we had to do done like going over the meeting vocab and recording our answers to the questions, but we had even more fun doing it since we were joking around with our answers. For example, we were asked about our future plans and Jodi’s whole spiel was about how she is going to marry Jonghyun from SHINee. Her and I are in love with SM Entertainment’s boy group named SHINee. My favorite member is Key while hers is Jonghyun. It was hilarious seeing our supporter Sujin’s face while she was trying not to laugh while recording Jodi’s answers. I had to get up from the table and move away since I felt like I was gonna explode with laughter. Moments like these are why I really appreciate my supporter group. I love that we all take our Korean study seriously but we can still have fun with everything. The only ones I felt bad for was the other supporter groups in the cafe because we were pretty loud at times. And the owner of the cafe, he seemed to be amused with our conversation as well since I would look up at him making drinks and he was chuckling under his breath. That was pretty funny too.

For our meeting, like usual, we went to Cafe Areca which is hands down my favorite cafe in Seoul and I know if I get the chance to come back to Seoul in the future, I will definitely come back to this cafe and order my favorite drinks. This time, I ordered a green tea latte which came with this really cute stirring spoon. This cute picture came out of it as well.

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My adorable, good-looking green tea latte ft Jodi ❤

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Favorite Cafe: Cafe Areca

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When I first came in, the cafe was pretty empty. It was usually never filled. I liked it that way.

During the supporter meeting we also had to take our weekly challenge photo for our resident directors JT and Madeline. This week’s theme was Hot Summer and once again the only rule was that everyone had to be in the picture. We finished everything earlier than planned so then we sat around trying to figure out what we should so. Sujin had to be somewhere after the meeting so we needed to make sure it could be taken in the cafe. Jodi, Casey, and I really wanted to win this week’s challenge as we were second last week. Finally, Jodi took out her really cool sunglasses that were reflective so you could see yourself in her glasses. These sunglasses sparked an idea. We all decided to take a photo of two people and then the other two in our supporter group would be in the reflection of the glasses. We took turns taking different pictures and trying different poses until we finally settled on the perfect photo.

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Casey and I Before Our Weekly Challenge Photoshoot

 

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Casey and I Looking Forever Moody

 

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The Picture Jodi Edited And Ended Up Submitting

After the Supporter Meeting, Jodi and I went to a mall of sorts but I have no idea where we went. She just wanted me to come with her for an hour or two before she left to go meet up with a Korean friend who goes to her school but was in Seoul for the summer. We walked around this mall and went to the many floors. Most of the stores there were designer clothes, handbags, and makeup. Jodi and I kept making jokes about how awkward it was walking around with our obvious Hongdae get up.

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One of the Stores I am Talking About

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Jodi Found this Picture of Minho from SHINee and I Had to Take a Photo

Not only that, but at around 9:30 we had a curfew check. So I had never heard of curfew checks before this day and so it was a big surprise when I received the message from our RD JT. All the Nsliyians on my program are on a Kakao group chat with our two RDs and some IEarn staff. The Kakao chat is used by the RDs to message us important information, meeting times for activities and so on. Randomly at 9:30pm, I received a message from JT. At the time, I was studying for my Korean test the next day since it was Thursday night. (We always had tests on Fridays.) I had just eaten dinner and I was just about to get back into the studying zone until I received the message.

So in order for us to be in the clear for this curfew check, we had to take a photo of ourselves in the kitchen with a ladle. For our NSLI-Y program curfew was 9pm on weekdays and so we were expected to be at home at that time. I left my room and tried to explain to my host dad in very awful Korean that I needed to take a photo with them. They immediately said okay but then I had to explain the ladle part of the requirement. I looked up ladle in Korean and now I will never forget it. (And for anyone who is curious… Ladle is 국자 in Korean. Pronounced gook-ja.)

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I was able to get this cute picture out of the curfew check and I was able to take it and send it in the ten minutes JT was allowing us. If we didn’t send it, we would be given a consequence the following day of school (which turned out to just be a stern talking to by JT).

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The funniest part of this photo was my youngest host brother took it as an opportunity to play on the Tablet XD

The curfew check was hilarious as we got to see pictures from so many of the Nsliyians with their host family and their ladles (or rice paddles or normal spoons). It was also super funny when JT would message the people who were not following the exact instructions like Kyle who sent a photo of him in his bed and Joy who sent photos of her host siblings in a restaurant. I spent the next 20 minutes simply laughing at all the photos and messages from everybody. Curfew check definitely distracted me from studying for my tests but it was so worth it to me. I honestly really like this photo of my host family and I and it is the only one I have with my entire host family. (They were not too big on taking photos.)

And that was the curfew check and my Thursday Supporter Meeting! My supporter meeting was a lot of fun and I love learning Korean with my supporter group. They never fail to make me laugh uncontrollably (and the curfew check photos also did not fail to make me laugh at 9:30pm ! )

Thanks for reading this blog post. I hope you enjoyed and if you did, please subscribe to my blog~ 안녕!!~

  • 엠마 (Emma)

Words Of Appreciation

Since I have been back from Seoul, South Korea I haven’t been able to express my gratitude to some people that made my experience on the NSLI-Y program amazing. Therefore, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I felt that it was necessary to make a post expressing my thanks to some people even though they will probably not read anything that I write on here. Now I wont have the ability to thank everyone that deserves a thank you for making my experience great, but I mean well. This post would be so long if I did all that. This is going to be a very long post already… and I am writing it to make myself happy. So I am warning you, if you decide to keep going… this may take you several minutes to read.

A quick shout out to my apartment complex’s security guards, the nice woman who worked at 7/11 near 숙대, the most hilarious Dragon Beard Candy (꿀타래) vendors, and so many more!~ Authors Note: This list is in no particular order!

My Host Family

  • My Korean Mom

    I am so thankful for my host mom. She honestly made me feel so at home even though I was thousands of miles away from my home. I was definitely awkward with her during the first few weeks and my Korean was awful, but she was still so patient with me no matter where or what we were doing. She tried extra hard to make sure I was doing okay by constantly asking me if I needed help with my Korean homework and asking me about twenty times per night if I was still hungry and if I wanted watermelon, yogurt, tiramisu, or whatever else she had handy.host-fam-6

    I also loved the fact that she always talked to me. This might not seem like much but I truly enjoyed those breakfast and dinner conversations we would have. She would talk to me like I was a native Korean making sure to speak Korean normally to me. I am able to understand Korean pretty well and that is because she never used her amazing English skills with me if I didn’t ask her to. We would talk about her students, life at home, and how I was doing in Korea. If I didn’t understand something, I would ask and then she would tell me what the word translated to in English. My host mom also always expressed her pride in me when I would speak Korean. She always cheered me on. It made me feel so good when I would talk to her in Korean (and use a new vocabulary word or grammar point) and she would tell me how she had noticed me improving from the first week. One moment I specifically remember was when I told her about where I had eaten cold noodles with chilled broth (물냉면) earlier that week. I told her “저는 친구들이랑 숙대근처 물냉면을 먹었어요.” She was so proud of me for simply using the word “근처” which means near/close to. I thought it was a simple word that everyone would know (and I still think it is) but it made me really happy that my host mom told me I was improving and that she could tell. I can’t wait to come back to Seoul in the future and be able to see my host mom again. I miss her so much and our Kakao messages are simply not enough for me.

  • Host Dad

    My host dad and I definitely didn’t get as close as I did with my host mom but I didn’t have a bad relationship with him either. He meant well but we didn’t talk too much as he was very nervous to speak English and was even nervous when I would speak to him in Korean but nonetheless I am thankful for him. He would usually just tell my host mom to tell me anything he wanted to say. My host dad was great. Because even though we didn’t talk as much, he was still nice to me by basically making all my meals while I was in Korea. My host mom believed that she wasn’t a good cook and all she would make for the family was eggs (계란), rice (밥), and Donkatsu (돈까스). He would wake up earlier than he needed to every weekday to make me breakfast. He could have given me cereal but he instead made me nice breakfasts of different types of Korean soups, fried rice, and meat/seafood dishes. He also took me out to eat dinner with him and my host brothers on several occasions for things like Korean barbecue (삼겹살) and Black bean noodles (짜장면). thu-6

But my favorite memory with my host dad was the day before I left for America. It was the morning of my graduation ceremony and only my host mom and host brothers would be going. While I was eating the breakfast he made me, he started talking to me like a motivational speaker… and it was in English. My host dad was terrified of speaking English and hearing him do it on the last day made me so happy to see him try because he really wanted me to understand what he was saying. It made me start tearing up and he kept telling me to stop crying. But I will always remember what he ended his “speech” with.

“Live for you, not others. It is important” – Host Dad

  • Host Brothers

My host brothers and I didn’t get as close as I had imagined I would with my host siblings but I don’t think badly towards them because of it. We both had to deal with a language barrier and we didn’t have too many common characteristics to bond over. But I am glad that my host brothers were my host brothers because they allowed me to work towards a better relationship and though I didn’t see it as a very good one at first, it definitely got better compared to the first week or so when my youngest host brother would whine about sitting next to me at the breakfast table. We had our moments when we would talk and I brought them home treats. I still remember the first time my host brothers tried War Heads and they ran around the kitchen screaming and then my host dad ate one like it was a strawberry — with no reaction whatsoever. It was pretty funny to me since I love sour candy. The best thing I did for my younger host brother was go to his soccer practices and games. Even though I felt that I didn’t do enough with my host brothers, I tried and my experience in Korea wouldn’t have been the same without them and so I am thankful. My host brothers taught me that sometimes the littlest things are what you remember and cherish the most.

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He asked me to take a picture of him

Like the time I went walking to the convenience store with my youngest host brother and when we passed his school, he showed me the bunny they had in a cage by the gate. He was telling me stories about the bunny and even though I didn’t understand much of it, I enjoyed the thought that he was sharing part of his life with me. Once I left Korea, my host mom messaged me on Kakao one day telling me that my host brothers told her that the house felt weird without me and that was the best thing anyone could tell me.

My Supporter Group

  • Sujin

Sujin was my supporter. She had to be with me. She had to act as a tutor. But what she didn’t have to act as was my friend. I grew so close to my supporter group and Sujin. From what I observed from all the other supporter groups on my program, I would probably say that my supporter group got the closest. Sujin was the best supporter ever! When I first met her I really wanted to make her like me but I knew it would be a bit more difficult since my Korean language skills were not too great… especially compared to Jodi’s and Casey’s Korean language skills. Sujin and I were able to forge a friendship that pushed passed language barriers and when I improved my Korean, our friendship grew and got more meaningful. I miss hearing her laugh when I ask her for the millionth time to repeat something and her stern voice when reprimanding Jodi for whatever she had done. I want to thank Sujin so much since she really did make my experience better.

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Sujin ❤

So much that when I found out that she couldn’t come say goodbye to us at the airport like she had planned, I (and Jodi) spent a good 20 minutes crying to Casey about how much we would miss her. I still text my supporter Sujin very often and I know one of the first things I will do when I return to Korea, is to visit her and hopefully catch up at a nice cafe. In particular our favorite cafe,  카페 아레카 (Cafe Areca).

  • Jodi

죠디!!!  NSLI-Y is such a great experience due to the people you will meet and the relationships you will create during the duration of the program. Jodi was no exception. Until the supporter meeting started, I hadn’t talked too much with Jodi and I am so glad we were able to get close through our supporter meetings. Jodi and I got close super quickly and I enjoyed every minute that we spent together whether it be stuffing our faces with banana milk (바나나 우유), triangular kimbap (삼각김밥), or simply making konglish (Korean and English) jokes.

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귀여워!~

Jodi never failed to make me laugh and she was always there when I needed help with my Korean in class. I want to thank her for making my supporter group one of the best parts of my NSLI-Y experience.

  • Casey

Oh Casey! 오 미선! I miss my Casey so much! Casey and I always joked around in class, during our supporter meetings, and especially just hanging around in Seoul. She and I would be immersed in laughing fits from the littlest things and I never regretted any moments I spent with Casey. I also want to thank Casey for always helping me out during supporter meetings. Whenever I couldnt understand Sujin completely, Casey would be there helping me out making sure I didn’t lose out on any important information. She also never failed to cheer me on when I impressed her with something I said in Korean. Casey and I could talk to each other for hours and I truly miss our conversations.thurs-7

Our skype calls always remind me why we are such close friends even though we don’t see each other every day any more. I want to thank Casey for being there every step of the way making my journey in Korea the most fun I could imagine (and for calming me down when I started crying at the airport. It meant a lot).

My Korean Class

  • Classmates

I have never loved a class more than my Korean class 나무반 (Tree Class). Sure I have had fun in my classes back at home from time to time but I have never had such an interest in a class before that everything we do is fun to me. Even when I would get only 5 hours of sleep, I was always still looking forward to class. I want to thank all my 나무반 classmates for making Korean class so fun and interesting. If it wasn’t for all our funny jokes and ridiculous answers to our teachers questions. (I am looking at you Jesse! *cough cough 결혼한 여자 *cough cough ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ.)

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I am thankful for the white board in the back that we never used for class but as the days went on, more and more weird and funny drawings started collecting on it. I am thankful for all the positive attitudes that everyone brought to class every single day and I am super thankful for all those runs to the convenience store during our ten minute breaks because those green tea bars, chocolate mushroom snacks, and pepero saved me from my always growling stomach. My classmates made my Korean class the best! I am really thankful for this experience. Korean classes in college could never be this good! 🙂

  • My Teachers

Teaching a foreign language is definitely difficult but my Korean teachers didn’t make it seem that way at all. In my Spanish class back home, especially during my freshman year, we were always using English during class. However, I can count the amount of times I used English in class on both my hands. My Korean teachers made learning fun and always encouraged us if we didn’t understand. We were engaged with constant role plays and questions and we got enough examples for each grammar point to last us a lifetime! I want to thank them so much for helping me improve my Korean language skills and being able to see my improvement as well. Receiving the most improved award at the end of the program ceremony made me super happy. I knew I improved and knowing that they could see it too… made me thankful for having such great and observant teachers.

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감사합니다 이선생님 그리고 박선생님!~

 Resident Directors

 

  • Madeline

고마워요 메들린!~ Madeline was such a great resident director. Sometimes I felt that I was annoying her going to talk to her every morning and between classes with Sofia but I honestly just enjoyed talking to her. Even though I never had a real emergency while I was in Korea I know that if I did, I could count on Madeline to help me out with anything. Plus, saying “Madeline!” every time I would see a “Madeline Shirt” in Hongdae, Edae, or Myungdong was pretty great. I got lots of stares too! By the time the end of the program came around, I felt so much closer to Madeline.gyeong-14

The more time I got to spend talking to her did not only create good memories, but also a good friendship as well. I can’t wait to soon have the opportunity to meet up with her in NYC! It has been long enough!

  • JT

JT쌤! ㅎㅎㅎ 고마워요! It was really funny meeting JT for the first time since I didn’t even know that we had another resident director. I saw him walking around the patio of Washington University and was really confused on why one of the Japanese students was so interested in talking to everyone. I soon found out he was our RD when he came and started talking to my table about what got us interested in the Korean language. I am so thankful for JT being such a great RD and making me laugh so much. Since he was in charge of the cooking club I got to talk to him a lot more than I probably would have if it wasn’t for the club. He made everything so fun and he would get so excited for us for the silliest things. For example, he would smile so big whether it was just us succeeding in flipping our 김치전 (Kimchi Jeon – basically a crispy kimchi pancake), talking to him in Korean and not English, or just asking him about his time in Michigan. I will never forget JT for being a savage towards me and also being so sassy. I am thankful for having him on our program which made my experience even better. He also gave all 49 of us permission to come to his house in 8 years from the day we arrived in Korea for a potluck dinner and ramen! I mean it wasn’t exactly permission… but I know we will be coming. 😉

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End of the Program Ceremony 😦

“You think you’re smart but you’re not!” – JT

Sofia

Sofia!!!!! I can honestly say that I probably got the closest to Sofia out of everyone I met on the trip and for that I am so thankful! When I first met her at the airport and talked to her on the shuttle ride, she was so quiet and I thought she didn’t like me. I hovered around Angie during the entire time in Seattle and didn’t give much thought to anyone else since I was scared I would have trouble making lots of friends (which soon proved to not be difficult at all). I started bonding with Sofia on the plane ride to Korea since we sat next to each other on the plane. You can’t help but become friends with someone you spent 10 hours with in a small confined place. I got to see Sofia change and grow as a person and we started hanging out more and more once we found out we were in the same class.sm-10

Most of my blog posts mention Sofia or are about an adventure I had with Sofia because we honestly became best friends seeing each other basically every day. I am thankful for Sofia since we did so many things together and we grew so close. I still talk to her every single day and we skype sometimes too. NSLI-Y would not have been the same without her and she knows it too 🙂 I can’t wait to meet up with her this summer in New York!~Best Reunion ever! ❤

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고마워 소피아!~ 사랑해!~

NSLI-Y8 Family

What is NSLI-Y8? NSLI-Y8 is the 8th group of NSLI-Y scholars to Seoul, South Korea. I was lucky enough to be apart of this amazing group of people and I could not be more thankful!~ These 49 people made my trip amazing. I didn’t have the chance to get close to everyone but I am thankful to say that I didn’t leave without talking to everyone and I was able to start a good relationship with everyone on the program. The Nsliyians on my program were honestly some of the best people I have ever met and it had to do with the combination of their awesome personalities and us sharing common characteristics like our passion and love for the Korean language and culture. Whether it be being able to text our group chat and plan fun activities or simply walking around during break and joining peoples after school plans, there was never a moment of isolation. Everyone included everyone and no cliques were formed. I am thankful for no drama!!!!

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Everyone worked so hard with their Korean and made the most of their time in Seoul. I was able to make so many amazing memories with spending time with my NSLI-Y8 family!~

나는 니슬리8 가족을 너무 사랑해~ ❤ !!! 고마워~

The People that Made this Possible

Last but not least a huge thank you to everyone that was able to make my trip to Seoul, South Korea possible. That means my lovely parents for allowing me to take a hold of this amazing opportunity. The State Department for seeing the benefits of sponsoring this program for the rising generations. IEarn for doing all the “behind the scene” stuff to make this program to Korea a reality. The Better World Staff for making our time in Seoul a blast and making sure everything in country ran smoothly from the start. My Spanish Teacher for writing my recommendations and supporting me on this endeavor. All my amazing friends back home who were always supportive every step of the way especially when I was able to share the good news. And a thanks to everyone at my old middle school and those teachers who encouraged me to follow my passion (even though some called it a phase). I would not have been here today if It wasn’t for the influences of those around me. Lastly, thank you to Elaine. A Korea summer and year alum that was the one who introduced me to the NSLI-Y program in 7th grade. Who knows where I would be without her. Thank you all so much! I am so grateful for everyone.

And thank you for reading. I hope this encourages you to thank the ones that have helped you on whatever journey your dreams will take you on and if NSLI-Y is that dream, I wish you the best of luck!~ It is worth it — TRUST ME!

Emma 엠마

“Whatever happened this past year, be thankful for where it brought you. Where you are is where you are meant to be.” – Mandy Hale

 

Gyeongbokgung Palace & Biking Along the Han River (July 21st, 2016)

Today (July 21st, 2016) was the first cultural excursion I had with my supporter group and the two others that we usually share our meeting spot with. We would be going to Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)! I was super excited to go since Gyeongbokgung is definitely a place everyone should visit when traveling around Seoul. Since we had to take travel time into consideration, we didn’t have too much time to have lunch. Therefore I had a quick convenience store lunch with Jodi, Casey, Sofia, and Yves. I definitely bought too much stuff but I shared my food with everyone so nothing was wasted.

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Triangle Kimbap (삼각김밥),  Choco Pie (초코 파이),  banana milk (바나나 우유), and Honey Butter Chips (허니버터칩).

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Have you seen the Korean Drama “Cheese in the Trap?” This Kimbap is a little parody of it.

After lunch we visited Gyeongbokgung! The architecture of old Korean palaces is truly beautiful. I walked around with my supporter group through the palace grounds and took lots of pictures especially of the detailed roof tiles. I loved them so much.

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Group Photo!~ ❤

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The roof details I was talking about

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Casey and a Korean photobomber

It is pretty difficult to explain what everything looked like and that is why I have plenty of pictures to share from the day. I have plenty more but this blog post would be way too long 🙂 I think that a lot of them turned out very well! Especially the ones with some of my favorite people (If you haven’t gotten the message yet… they are my supporter group).

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Casey and I

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This building is Gyeonghoeru (경회루) which was used to hold important events back during the Joseon Dynasty

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We know we are weird XD

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Jodi, Me, and Casey

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My RD Madeline and I

While we were walking around, JT and Madeline met up with us to spend the day with us as well. It was fun to hang out with them as they are such jokesters together! XD

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I remember when Sujin said “너같은데!” (It looks like you) to Jodi 😉

After visiting Gyeongbokgung , we walked around the surrounding streets to find some cafe to sit and eat at. Jun (준) was leading the way sticking his head into every cafe until he could find one that had enough seats. He accomplished this while simultaneously giving us information about everything we passed. I heard many childhood stories about him that afternoon and he isn’t even my supporter! XD

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I was very artistic with the taking of these photos

Eventually we found this cute cafe and we were actually the only ones in there which was good because we took up all the seats on the first floor. (There were 13 of us.) As this is a common trend throughout my summer in Korea, my supporter group ate Bingsu! We ordered a Green Tea Mango Bingsu (녹차망고빙수) and the original Red Bean Bingsu (팥빙수) because Casey does not like eating fruit. I don’t understand why… she is so weird!

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The best bingsu flavor I have had so far

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빙수야! 팥빙수야! 사랑해 사랑해~

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The back of the Cafe had some pretty cute wings. Reminds me a lot of the Korean Drama “To the Beautiful You”

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My supporter Sujin is the cutest in the world!~  🙂  😉

After eating at the cafe, I planned to do something after with Sofia and Tucker from my Korean class – 나무반. We ended up deciding to go to the Han river and rent bicycles to ride. I met up with them kinda late as Jun was having a bit of trouble finding the closest subway station that we could use. However, I made it eventually and they can both agree that the wait was worth it since bike riding with them was so much fun! We rented bikes for an hour and they were $3 each. I ended up paying for both of them since I am such a good friend! ㅎㅎㅎㅎ

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Us picking out our bikes

Biking was so much fun and the trails to ride on seemed neverending. There was a point in time where I thought we wouldn’t know how to get back before the hour was up and then have to pay a fee (I was not for that at all). Riding around the nature trail reminded me so much of the bike trail near my dad’s house back home. I only realized I was still in Seoul, South Korea when I would hear Tuckers old Kpop playlist (which consisted of T-ara for example) playing on his portable speakers and when I would catch glimpses of Korean modern architecture which is nothing like I see back home. It was honestly so fun and such a nice way to spend a day with friends. If we had more time, I would have loved to have had a picnic by the river with Fried Chicken and maybe a tent. (Something we saw everywhere when we were simply walking around.)

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Why was I laughing? Tucker made a joke about the building we could see in the distance that had the word “Trump” written on it

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Looks like a roller coaster!

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We bought chicken as a snack but unfortunately, it wasn’t all too great.

My first cultural excursion with my supporter group was loads of fun! This day made me even more excited to spend even more outside classroom time with my supporter group. And it made me hopeful that the different flavors of Bingsu I will try will only better in taste… I am only joking a little bit! 😉 The rest of the night was spent with my host family as we all went out for Korean Barbeque for my host moms birthday which was very nice. No one told me it was her birthday until I got a text about dinner plans so when I was walking to the apartment after the Han River, I bought a box of 12 doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. My host mom loves eating the original glazed with vanilla yogurt with blueberries. Even though I am pretty sure that my host brothers ate most of them by themselves. XD

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed~ Do not forget to subscribe if you would like to read more about my time and experiences in Seoul, South Korea on the Nsli-y Scholarship! 안녕!

  • 엠마 (Emma)