Social Issues
The homeless woman and the bus

The homeless woman and the bus

A few days ago, when the Colombian soccer team was scheduled to play Uruguay, some volunteers and I decided to chill at a pizza place and drink a couple beers after class. Wanting to explore the city more, we decided to meet in a neighborhood of Barranquilla called Los Andes, where some of the volunteers...
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...
Dear Dahae,

Dear Dahae,

A few weeks ago, I was catching up with a friend who I’d met while studying abroad in 2009 at the Korea National University of Arts. As we were eating slices of Turkish pizza, I casually mentioned my former roommate Dahae. Much to my surprise, my friend suddenly responded, “Oh, she died.” I held my...
4 memoirs portraying the realities of present-day North Korea

4 memoirs portraying the realities of present-day North Korea

With North Korea flooding the news with “threats” and strange photos of Kim Jong-Eun bonding with Dennis Rodman, it’s hard not to think about what life is really like for our northern neighbors. We often hear about nuclear weapons, missile testings and famines, but throughout the past four years, I’ve been curious about what daily...
Gay in Korea: an interview with an American expat living in Seoul

Gay in Korea: an interview with an American expat living in Seoul

My Korean co-teacher once told me that she had never met a gay person. “You probably have without realizing it,” I responded. She didn’t seem convinced. The gay scene is still quite hidden in Korea, even though this year marked the 13th Queer Culture Festival in Seoul. I recall meeting one gay guy when I...
Dueji and 'Diet' stamps: the importance of weight in Korea vs. the United States

Dueji and ‘Diet’ stamps: the importance of weight in Korea vs. the United States

“What did you do last weekend?” I asked my class of 24 twelve year-old students. “I played with these two pigs!” shouted one of the skinny boys, referring to two of his friends. His friend turned around and slapped him playfully on the head. Later in the day, I was playing a Powerpoint game with...
Promoting Korean Reunification through English Tutoring: an interview with a PSCORE volunteer

Promoting Korean Reunification through English Tutoring: an interview with a PSCORE volunteer

Despite living in Seoul, mere kilometers from the Demilitarized Zone that divides North and South Korea, it’s quite rare to meet North Korean defectors in everyday life. I may have sat next to a North Korean on the subway, or interacted with someone at a local shop, but I wouldn’t have realized it. In magazines...
The absence of help: a Korean girl's testimony on recovering from an eating disorder

The absence of help: a Korean girl’s testimony on recovering from an eating disorder

Last year, one of my good Korean friends, who I met while studying as an exchange student at the Korea National University of Arts, was tutoring a girl who was applying for art school. My friend taught her drawing techniques and how to prepare her portfolio. Her student dreamed of studying in New York, specifically at Pratt,...
Perceived as a Prostitute on the streets of Seoul

Perceived as a Prostitute on the streets of Seoul

Last winter, after work one day, I changed into a black hooded sweatshirt, skinny jeans and Converse—nothing that, I thought, would attract much attention. Setting out for the grocery store, I grabbed my purse and a reusable shopping bag. I reached a crossroad near the elementary school where I work, and a middle-aged man in...
Sending Socks to North Korea by Balloon

Sending Socks to North Korea by Balloon

I recently published a photo essay on Matador Change titled, Sending Socks to North Korea by Balloon. These photos were taken on a balloon launch in Paju, located 10km from North Korea, led by the non-profit organization North Korea Peace. Check it out, and leave a comment if you’d like.   -Text and photography by...
Seoul's 13th Korean Queer Culture Festival and a glimpse into homosexuality in Seoul

Seoul’s 13th Korean Queer Culture Festival and a glimpse into homosexuality in Seoul

Ironically, my first appearance at a gay pride parade happened to be in Korea, where being gay is still widely unaccepted. However, I was happy to see a relatively large amount of Koreans and foreigners participating and watching from the sidelines. Although most of the Koreans in the parade wore face masks and sunglasses to...
Get Involved: Visit the House of Sharing

Get Involved: Visit the House of Sharing

I’m sitting with fellow expats in the dining room as we wait for our dumplings to finish cooking. A grandmother enters the room and stands next to me. She steals four yogurts off the dining room table and stuffs them into her plaid, frilly jacket. Her pockets are bulging, and her weathered hands are having...