Finally Here…

Well, to be more specific, was finally here in Korea since 4 days ago. These few days have passed in a blur and I really haven’t gone out. I arrived on Thursday late evening so I only went to eat and walk my friend back to the subway station. I went to Gangnam and Ewha and actually arrived back to where I’m staying really late. However, on Saturday I just ventured out to Ewha and came back and just watched Korean dramas on TV…and today well, I woke up around 4:30am KST and I have yet to decide what will I do today. I originally wanted to explore around but the cold is too much for me specially because of the wind LOL.

I’m making a separate post for each day at least of what was important of it.

On my way

Well, I’m currently waiting for my flight from San Francisco, CA to Seoul but it’s still 10 hours away. I’m sleepy and cold so I can’t muster up the excitement. I’m one of those few people inside the airport and most of them are sleeping on different places. I want to sleep too but I’m waiting for my phone to charge and my laptop.

So far both of my row neighbors were very nice and even helped with my luggage….and I just had a deja-vu about this, including me writing in this almost empty place and there’s more but I don’t want to jinx it so I’m not telling LOL. Once I arrive at Incheon Airport, I may probably write another post with pictures of the airport (but that’s maybe).

D-3: Time issues

I’ve become addicted to blogging (not that it really takes much for me to become addicted LOL) about learning Korean but I’m leaving really soon so I barely have time to actually check the blog and see what’s new. I have around 6 to 10 posts outlines (as soon as I see something while studying I mark it out) waiting for me to fully write them out plus that weekly themed vocabulary lists that I’ve been trying to continue (I kind of ran out of ideas at first but now it’s kinda overflowing). Sadly, it takes at least a few hours for me to write and a day to review it before posting.

I’ve also been studying for 4 hours in as Spartan manner in order to get placed -at least- in the Korean 3rd level (problems with university credits if I don’t) and in case I don’t, it means that either I take an extra class or ask to be placed in the 1st level (which is pretty much re-learning everything, too easy and therefore boring). I’ve been stressing out a bit because of that, while I wouldn’t have problems with the written part I think I will have difficulties with the oral part as I don’t get much practice of that in the Korean class I take on Saturdays.

Anyway, the last few days have been so hectic by making sure I have all vaccines, visiting the family, cleaning my room, making sure that I’m not forgetting something. I also had to buy new shoes because one of the pairs I was going to take with me…are on the verge of dying so yeah. I’ve been running around trying to find typical candies and stuff that I had promised my friends to bring with me but I haven’t been able to find them in large quantities but I’m not giving up yet (I can be stubborn when I want to XD).

I hope that once everything normalizes and I get more free time I can be able to post more frequently.

So…Ewha Dorm placement is out…and advise to upcoming exchange students

I just saw the email this morning….well to be honest…I had a minor freak-out when I checked from where my roommate was from LOL (I won’t disclose which country but our cultures are diametrically different). The roommate I had last summer in Korea is from the same country so I’m already wary. However, I do know I can’t form stereotypes or develop prejudices over one person even if my brain has already developed a template of it. I take pride on being an intercultural competent person so I’m currently trying to see it on the bright side and trying to see whether we might share common cultural traits (which all cultures all do). So in general, I’m cautiously optimistic about my roommate.

Advise to all upcoming (?), prospective exchange students (myself included) who will be sharing rooms:

1. Don’t assume anything (don’t be the ethnocentric douche)

2. Be sure to talk everything out and be direct (I don’t mean rude).

3. If you’re roommates: talk about your expectations and basic routine (after all, you’re stuck together so the trick is to live as harmoniously as possible).

4. Try to find things you might have in common (like same music taste or are learning the same language).

5.  When you first meet your roommate, be sure to invite him/her to dinner or lunch or whatever or accept the invitation. This is usually the ice-breaker and I recommend that even if you ate or did whatever already, don’t decline it (if you do, I can tell you the rest of the stay together will be uncomfortable). It will also help both of you get acquainted.

To those who belong to individualistic cultures:

1. Always take into account your roommate and don’t just do things on your own (regarding the dorm).

2.  There is such thing as Common Courtesy (there are things you shouldn’t just do, no matter how convenient they are for you as you’re not living alone).

To those who belong to collective cultures:

1. Always talk about what you expect and what things really bother you because if you don’t he/she will assume everything is okay. (it’ll be a smoother ride if you do).

2. Don’t assume your roommate knows there is such a thing as Common Courtesy so be sure to talk it out.

3. Do not concede on stuff that makes you upset for the sake of peace with your roommate. There are thing they have to let pass too and it can’t just be you. Believe me when I say that if you don’t it will do harm to both of you.

The list is not really comprehensive but it’s the most basic thing you should know about.

한국어 공부하는 이유

왜 한국어 공부해요? 저는 한국어 공부하는 이유를 기억하지 못 해요. 저는 궁금하는 사람 항상 이고 있어요. 그래서 한국 드라마를 보기 시작 때 궁금하게 됐어요. 날마다 새로운 단어를 배우고 한굴 연습하도록 그 쓰기를 터득했어요. 제 대학교에서 한국어 수업이 없어서 매일 혼자 열심히 공부했어요. 하지만 1년 3개월 전에 제 친구는 “새 한식당에서 한국어 수업이 있을 거야”라고 저에게 말했어요. 그리고 저는 선생님 말씀하시러 한국식당을 갔어요. 선생님께 말씀 후에 평일 동안 혼자서 공부하고 토요일마다 수업을 들었어요. 그리고 지난 여름에 한 달 동안 아주 대학교에서 한국어를 공부했었요.

I will post the corrected version as soon as possible. This one is shorter but this is more or less the length for TOPIK Beginner. I believe I will start answering the TOPIK essay questions so I can get used to the type of question.  Also will be posting very soon about some basic writing tips that can do wonders and make easy certain things lol. I’ve been at it for a while but…I’ve been busy these past weeks.

VISA and the woes of a liberal arts student

Well, after getting frustrated at my university’s bureaucracy and having to deal with it, the processing time the Visa took only 7 days (including mailing dates). Now I can relax because I have my passport back along with the visa. Ewha haven’t released the dormitory and roommate placement yet (even though we were supposed to know by the Jan 28th) and I’m dying of curiosity. All I ask for is a nice and considerate roommate and while we don’t even have to become tight-knit friends or anything (although I would like to become friends but yeah) there should be a common courtesy with each other at least. Last time I had a roommate it was horrible so I spent most of my time in my friend’s room so that’s what worries me the most this time around.

Ewha published the classes for the upcoming semester…and as a Liberal arts major…I’m kinda screwed. While I could take any class I want…I’m graduating very soon so I can’t be that laid back on what classes to take and since in my university doesn’t offer any kind of Asian Studies, any course I take about Korea is a free elective (and I don’t have anymore) with the exception of Korean Language because of the Department of Foreign Languages. Well, we’ll see what happens when the registration period comes.