Korea
From Korea to Colombia: an illustration of my cell phones

From Korea to Colombia: an illustration of my cell phones

When I was a child, my family had an old fashioned rotary phone connected to the wall by a curly cord. The numbers were arranged in a circle, and in order to call someone, you had to spin each one to a fixed stop position. I can still picture my mother, with her post-eighties perm, hurriedly twisting...
2013 in Photos: Goodbye Korea, Hello Colombia, and some stops in between

2013 in Photos: Goodbye Korea, Hello Colombia, and some stops in between

Maybe it’s the tropical climate, or maybe all the shuffling around, but it’s hard to believe that Christmas is in a few days and we’re nearing the end of 2013. Also, I just realized that I’ve been blogging for two years, and I have published 200 entries. Insane! I spent a couple hours this morning reading...
Monks Hitchhike and Nuns Use WhatsApp

Monks Hitchhike and Nuns Use WhatsApp

From the middle of the winding dirt road, we heard an engine roar in the distance. Bryan, the Canadian, and Sunnim, the Chinese monk from my Korean class, stopped in their tracks. “Was that the bus?” Bryan asked, with a wrinkle forming on his forehead. I sheepishly looked at Bryan, knowing it was my fault...
A portrait of Sangweol Village

A portrait of Sangweol Village

When I began studying at Geumgang University, a Buddhist university located in a village called Sangweol-myun, I experienced the sharp contrast between city and country life in Korea. As is evident in most countries, country life in Sangweol-myun is slower, many buildings are deteriorating, and the local buses are mostly comprised of elderly folk. (I...
ㄱ through ㅎ: What I'll miss about Korea

ㄱ through ㅎ: What I’ll miss about Korea

It’s been awhile. My semester at GGU ended in June, so I packed my life into two bags and spent two weeks in Mongolia, living in yurts with nomadic families, drinking fermented mare milk, traveling by horse, and eating way too much goat meat. A few days ago, after a 14-hour flight to New York...
Faces of Geumgang University's Korean language program

Faces of Geumgang University’s Korean language program

My semester at Geumgang University has officially ended. I took my (mock) TOPIK test yesterday, and today was our graduation. We dressed up and filed into a conference room and sat in swivel chairs around a lacquered table. We listened to a short speech from the president and from one person from each country who...
고장 난 에어콘 하고 우리 집주인: writing stories in Korean

고장 난 에어콘 하고 우리 집주인: writing stories in Korean

Three months ago, I began studying Korean full-time. Although my emotions constantly swerve along a spectrum of elation to agitation, I’ve surprised myself with my progression. Sure, I still make lots and lots of stupid mistakes, I frequently struggle to find the right words in conversations, and my vocabulary is very limited, but thanks to Geumgang...
Learning how to paraglide in Korea

Learning how to paraglide in Korea

For the past year and a half, I’ve wanted to go paragliding. I signed up for two trips at separate times, with romantic visions of myself floating over Korea’s mountainous terrain, but unfortunately, due to the finicky nature of the sport, both trips were canceled because the wind velocity was not quite perfect. Luckily, I seized...
On teaching English conversation classes to Korean university students

On teaching English conversation classes to Korean university students

For the past two months, I’ve been a teacher’s assistant for two university English classes. These classes are not your typical mandatory English classes; they are designed for English translation majors–students who are devoting their lives to the English language. These students will be translators, interpreters and teachers. Particularly, these students should be the most enthusiastic about...
Colors of Korea: PURPLE

Colors of Korea: PURPLE

I know–purple is not a color that immediately comes to mind when thinking about Korea. However, when Mimsie of Seoul Searching invited me to participate in the Colors of Korea collaborative blogging project to celebrate the beauty of Korea’s culture, destinations and food, the colors red, blue, white and green were already taken. So now...
South Korea's Multiculturalism

South Korea’s Multiculturalism

A few days ago, I wrote a post titled, “‘Because you’re foreign…’ Western, White and English privilege in Korea.” After sharing it on Twitter, a few readers commented and re-tweeted it, and eventually my blog post landed upon the screen of a journalist and TV producer for Al Jazeera English. (And to think that last...
"Because you're foreign..." Western, White and English privilege in Korea

“Because you’re foreign…” Western, White and English privilege in Korea

*Note: This post chronicles my own experiences with privilege in Korea as a White, American female. I am NOT speaking for all White people, females, Americans, Westerners or even Koreans. I nervously sat among my classmates in a holography class at the Korea National University of Arts in February 2009. A few days earlier, I’d...