Tag Archives: Gabby

Places i visited this fall

Sorry I’ve been MIA!! I’ve got a whole bunch of pictures piling up and not enough time to write enough about my experiences in each place to give them justice. However, I’m going to try to give brief summaries about everywhere my first semester working at my high school is almost over (wow!!!)


Jindo holds a very special place in my heart. This might be my favorite place that I’ve visited in Korea. The thing about Jindo is that it’s extremely rural. There’s nothing completely spectacular about Jindo. It’s a sleepy island near the bottom tip of Korea and it’s very close to Jeju. I went here with my host family and we were able to drive everywhere. My favorite parts were driving through farmland and looking out at the ocean the whole time. Everything seemed slower, more relaxed. Buildings weren’t on top of each other. Driving at night was incredible because it was the first time I was in Korea and saw the stars clearly at night without ridiculous amounts of light pollution. It reminded me of driving through upstate New York in the middle of the night.


I went to Gyeongju for the Fall Fulbright Conference, where I also presented my Classroom Management 101 presentation! Although I spent the whole weekend there, we only had one day to really look around the area. I opted to do a tour on that day! I’d describe Gyeongju as a clean, picturesque Korean town brimming with traditional architecture and a multitude of deep historical landmarks and monuments. The days we visited were absolutely perfect and we got to have clear, blue skies. One of my favorite parts of the tour was riding the bus up a very very steep and narrow mountain. When you looked out the window, you could see the clouds beneath you and over the towns below us. It was totally beautiful, and really reminded me of the Korean Buddhist art style I’ve been seeing at temples. I got to see some of Korea’s beautiful fall foliage beginning and the infamous pink muhly plant!


Jinju was super lovely and I’d love to go back! We went to the lantern festival and it took HOURS to go through and see all the lanterns. Even now, I’m not so sure that we were even able to see all of them. It was breathtaking. There were tons of vendors as well selling crafts and Korean street food. Gabby and I were able to make our own lanterns, write our wish on them, and send them down the river in hopes that they’ll come true.


It feels like I’ve been visiting Seoul almost every other weekend. I definitely see Seoul in a completely different light than how I did when I first studied abroad here in 2017. For my tri-state area readers, going to Ewha was almost the equivalent to going to NYU or Columbia with majority Upper East Side-ers. At least that’s how it feels now after being to other parts of Korea. I’ve become a lot more familiar with the different bus terminals there and I finally visited Itaewon, which is a part of the city that’s swarming with foreigners! Here there’s a huge diversity of restaurants and shops. I spent Halloween here and had a blast!! In the future, I plan to visit more of Eastern Seoul since that’s not really an area I frequented while I was at Ewha. Once it gets warmer I’d like to start going to the Han River on a picnic mat with a few of my friends. I really cherish my moments alone on the bus to Seoul, which is about an hour and a half from my city (Cheongju). Looking out the window to and from the city really helps me remember why I came to Korea in the first place.


I’m not sure if you guys remember from my other post, but I visited Sokcho again! This time when there was no typhoon and it was a completely different city. It was a completely gorgeous beach town up north. We lit floating lanterns and sent them up over the ocean at night. We also visited Seoraksan, one of Korea most breathtaking mountains. It was absolutely gorgeous. Once you get up the mountain, there’s a temple as well as small cafe’s you can sit at while looking up at Seoraksan’s beautiful peaks.

Where am I going next?

Next Sunday I’ll be heading down to Busan for about 5 or 6 days. After that, I’m leaving for Phu Quoc, Vietnam on January 13th!

Placement ceremony!

Alright, so I’m kind of playing catch up, but I found out where I’m going to be teaching this next year! I’ll be in Cheongju around the Chungdae area! If you’re wondering where that is, here’s a map!

That’s right guys! I’m smack dab in the middle of the country. That means that I’ll never be more than 2 hours away from anywhere in South Korea. In my preferences I noted that I’d like to be near the coast or in the mountains, so I was a little surprised that I ended up in Cheongju! But I’m actually incredibly happy about it! Gabby will be teaching in Cheongju next year as well, and by some extremely weird twist of fate we will actually just be a 7 minute taxi ride from each other. That’s even closer to each other than where we live back at home, which is wild. Plus, there’s a pretty solid and fun group of ETAs that are also going to be teaching in Cheongju. I was actually so happy that after the placement ceremony, I called up my friend Gabby and had to hold back tears of joy. I can’t wait to start and meet my host family!

This year’s Cheongju cohort (or as I like to call it, the Cheong-crew)

Afterwards, Director Shim went to the front of the room to make a speech. She gave us very salient and important advice to remember during our grant year: “Don’t compare”. Easier said than done for a group of competitive individuals that applied for Fulbrights (and then earned them)! But it is very important. All of our experiences are going to come with their own unique challenges and rewards. One ETA may have brilliant lesson plans but struggle in classroom management, while another ETA has the exact opposite problem. We have to remember that this isn’t a sort of “contest” of who can grasp the reigns the quickest. We all have our own strengths that we were chosen for, but we also have our own unique weaknesses that we need to be content with grappling. For me personally, I’m worried that my weakness may fall in my adjustment to a homestay. What if they don’t like me? What if I commit a cultural faux pas and am unaware of it? What if I find myself having these struggles while the other ETAs have no problem adjusting to a new family? I need to remember that good things usually take patience and time, and that even if I’m not adjusting to my homestay at the same pace as others, I have other pillars of my Fulbright experience that I can turn to.

Speaking of which…

When I’m in Cheongju, I’d really like to continue practicing Taekwondo. I’m going to classes twice a week right now in Songdo and I absolutely love it, even if I’m not totally the best at it! The only thing is that the Taekwondo class would most likely be every weekday, and I’m not sure that I can put aside that much time as a new teacher still getting the hang of things! If I can’t do Taekwondo, I’d want to sign up for a yoga or Zumba class. As long as I can sign up for one of those, I’ll be happy! Hiking in the area is an absolute must as well. I also hear that there may be an opportunity to tutor North Korean Defector students. Above anything else, I would really like to be apart of that. I actually think that in the future, I’d really appreciate being able to have some kind of involvement with refugees back in the States, if possible.

I’m just really happy for what’s to come 🙂

First week of orientation

So so so so much to write. And yet no time to write it!

So I started writing this last week but have been completely packed! It’s been almost 2 weeks now but I’m going to try to focus on the first week for now. I think that many of us agree that we feel like we have been here for about a month. I probably won’t be able to cover everything but I’ll just run over the highlights!

Korean Class

Oh man. So I was actually placed in the Intermediate class, which was pretty surprising to me. I thought I would be in beginner so it was a bit of a shock. It’s been… an adjustment. Classes are about 5 hours each day. We have quizzes every single day on about 20-30 new vocabulary words and phrases. We also have a midterm and final and have to get at least an 85. This is a Korean Language Intensive course run by the Sejong Language Institute. All the professors introduced themselves to us and explained that they will be testing out a new VR language textbook that is still in development in correspondence with Cal State, so that sounds pretty cool! Each day I am getting more and more used to how our Korean class is structured, although I am still struggling with the rote memorization. Many of us are. Someone in my cohort brought up that this is a valuable experience because this is how the majority of our Korean students will study our class. Many of them may value memorization as success in our classes. When I think of it like that, it makes me kind of happy that I am able to gain perspective from their point of view. I still find it fascinating how the definition of “success” is such a subjective concept depending on where you are in the globe. It’s helped me realize that I had to do very little memorization in college, especially as a Literature major. I’m just used to writing papers upon papers of information. Little by little, I am getting a bit better at memorizing key phrases and skills.

Korean Culture Presentation

The Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project came all the way up from Busan to give us a huge presentation on Korean culture and history! Korea has a long history of war and being invaded, so they really tried to sidestep away from those topics and focus on positive aspects of Korean history. They provided us with a selection of free books on Korean culture to take from. I took a book titled Chung-Hyo-Ye, a collection of traditional folklore stemming from common Korean core beliefs and history. I’m super excited to read this because I plan on teaching American folk tales to my classroom this upcoming year!! It’d be nice to have some more background knowledge on Korean tales so that students can create connections in class. They also brought hanboks for us to try on!

Through the craziness of everything, I was also somehow able to meet up with Gabby this weekend at Triple Street! Triple Street is this huge modernized outdoor mall about 20 minutes walking distance away from where we’re staying in Incheon. It was my first time seeing her in a year!!

Once again, I won’t be able to make frequent posts on here during Orientation since my days are packed to the brim! I will try my hardest though. Knowing that people are reading gives me some sort of accountability to keep writing ❤ I’m going to Sokcho this weekend so I’ll be sure to take a lot of pictures!