Tag Archives: Korean Class

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!

Day 1 of korea

The Flight

I got to JFK super early before my flight. At around 12:25 they started boarding and that was it! Although the goodbye I shared with my parents was a bit emotional, they were more excited than anything. My flight was 14 hours straight to Incheon, so it was long. I became friends with some old Korean men (ahjussis) on the flight and by the end, it felt like we were all old pals. They were telling me that about 10 years ago you could go on a Korean Air flight and there would sometimes only be about 20 passengers on a flight meant for ~400 people. They also tried giving me tips on how to eat bibimbap, and I did not have the heart to tell them that I had already eaten it many, many times. They were shocked that I liked jokbal, or pig feet. I asked them if they had ever tried the ever popular live octopus dish and they said that men tend to like it but women do not. One of the men said he has a daughter that teaches English in NYC, which I thought was pretty awesome! I had a lot of trouble sleeping on the flight so I just watched a few episodes of Stranger Things season 3 on the plane.

It was odd. Somehow as we were flying over space that was neither American nor Korean, I felt my role from native slowly switch to foreigner while on the flight. Towards the latter half I felt myself refraining from saying the first English phrases that sprang from my mouth, and instead decided to listen.

I’m currently writing this on over 24 hours of no sleep, so sorry if this doesn’t make too much sense. Customs was a breeze and we soon all met up with our cohort! After that, we took a bus over to our orientation site. Coincidentally, this happened to be when the sun was rising

And so, this was my first image of my home for the next year.

First day of Orientation

Summer in Korea can be super unbearable. The humidity just hits you like a brick. Since it’s the weekend, most buildings don’t have the AC on. Luckily our room has it. I met my roommate, who is an absolute delight, and could not be happier that we were paired together. We got a very large packet of what to expect from orientation, including a large calendar that outlines all the events and Korean classes. We also did a Korean speaking placement test today, and I’m most likely going to be placed in the beginner classes. Which is honestly probably for the best! I rather get the basics down than bite off more than I can chew right now. Speaking of which, we will be having intensive Korean classes for 5 hours everyday, which does not include the extra hours built in our schedule for additional Korean help. We will have daily quizzes, a midterm, and a final. We also need to score above an 85% in the class so you know, no pressure.

There’s different kinds of events and activities you can sign up for! I signed up to do a Tae Kwon Do class twice weekly. I’m very excited because I’ve been wanting to get back into Tae Kwon Do for such a long time! I also signed up for the Korean cooking class which I’m sure will be super fun. All of our meals are paid for at the dining hall which is really nice too. If only there were AC in the dining hall… *sigh*. They also offer traditional Korean calligraphy classes and a Kpop dance class. I think I’m going to pass on those so I have more time to study Korean.

I’ve already met some very impressive, driven, like-minded individuals. There’s about 80 of us so it’s been pretty hard to remember everyone’s names! Tomorrow I’m thinking about going to Daiso with some people and picking up some toiletries and cute shower slippers. I almost forgot how criminally cheap everything is here. I got a four pack of Choco Shrooms for less than two dollars. I can definitely get used to this again.

I tried to take a quick video of my room. It looks strikingly similar to my dorm room at Ewha, except this one has it’s own shower (!!!).

I won’t be able to give updates super often while at Orientation because it seems like we’ll be swamped with a lot of studying. I did find out that I’ll know my placement next week, so that’s super exciting!! I’m not going to proofread this before posting because I am unbelievably exhausted, but I just wanted to get all my thoughts out before the next day comes!