Monsoons, TOPIK, & Mud!

Rainy/monsoon season is no joke. Imagine my shock/surprise/horror when I left the house at 7 AM on a Sunday and it was just absolutely *dumping* rain. There was just no avoiding getting soaked. I was so annoyed!

But the test went well… I hope. I don’t have the results yet. I ended up shopping a bit after the test, and exercising in the evening. I have to work out in my apartment because I only belong to a taekwondo gym right now. I’d like to eventually join a real gym so I have access to equipment. My room must suffice though.

I also enjoy running outside, but the random rain makes it difficult. Turns out that heavy rain from that morning just flooded the stream and river in Jochiwon. I only got about 1 km into my run before I was forced to stop because the path was flooded. Squishy mud made it annoying and maybe a little dangerous to run in because it was slick.

I think the rain is tapering off these days, but we’re still stuck with ridiculous humidity. Must persevere so I can make it to vacation! For now, gotta make it through summer English camp for the coming 2 weeks. 화이팅!

Going to Movies in Korea

I love movies! There’s nothing like going to the theater, getting a big ol’ tub of popcorn, and being entertained for a couple of hours. Movie theaters in Korea are no exception.

For one thing it’s a little cheaper than the U.S. Maybe by only a couple of dollars, but that’s money you could be spending on snacks (which are also cheaper). Of course, snack-wise, you aren’t going to get things like dried squid in your home country, but it’s an interesting option. I always like the popcorn choices because my friends and I each had our own preferences. So for not much money we could each get a topping we liked (such as caramel or butter), and we’d share and be happy.

In pretty much every theater you get to choose your seat when you buy your ticket. I liked that option, though when you go as a couple or group then you risk the chance of being split up. Or you could do what we do here and just ask the people in your row to scoot down a couple seats.

There obviously isn’t going to be every English release when it comes to movie choices. It’s usually the blockbusters. These days, though, we have things like Netflix and options to buy digital copies so you won’t totally miss out on what people are seeing back home. There’s also the thing about there being Korean subtitles on the screen, but I can easily ignore that. Plus, subtitles means less younger children because they don’t want to sit through a movie for 2 hours reading. For kids movies, though, like animated ones that means there are dub tracks. So you may have a harder time finding a time when you can see it in English because those showings tend to be less often.

Also – movie fliers!

Movie fliers

I got addicted to collecting these. They also have them in Japan. I like them because they’re like little posters. I hung a few in my apartment as decoration. I didn’t even see some of those movies! They’re cool though, right?

All-in-all, seeing movies in Korea is pretty nice. It’s mostly the same experience as home, but the little differences make it interesting.

I didn’t see any Korean movies in the theater, but I have seen a couple elsewhere. What’s your favorite Korean movie? I enjoyed “Secretly, Greatly” (은밀하게 위대하게) and “A Werewolf Boy” (늑대소년).

Cheers!

Packing for Korea

Happy December to all!

Soon, those of you who applied for the EPIK program will be finding out where you’re going to be placed. Exciting, right? But here’s one slightly less exciting part of the process – packing.

I mean, how do you fit what you’ll need for (minimum) 1 year in 2 suitcases? Well, having done that move, I have some input.

Clothes

Bras/underwear – Ladies, I say bring as much as you can. For those of you that are smaller sizes it shouldn’t be too bad, but I’m a bit curvier so I never tried. I brought all my underthings with me. I will say, though, that when I was in Tokyo for vacation I found bras that fit me in American Eagle in Harajuku.

Jeans – Again, if you’re pretty small then if shouldn’t be too terrible. I’m roughly a size 8 US, with a bit of a badonk, so it’s not always easy. It seems like Korea fashion does not account for said badonks. Plus, it’s pretty much a lot of skinny jeans. If you like different styles or are a larger size then bring 2-3 pairs with. However, there are stores like Uniqlo, H&M, and Forever21, so it’s not impossible.

Shoes – I’m a size 8, so I didn’t have lots of trouble getting shoes. I am, though, on the larger side for ladies shoes over there. You’ll sometimes find less styles than you’d like. Also, I noticed that things like sneakers are a bit narrower. So bring a pair of sneakers, maybe a few flats, and a pair or two of dress shoes.

Professional/work clothes – It’s something you’re going to need right away, and don’t wanna have to search for. Plus, style and sizing can be an issue. Things like nice slacks and skirts are always good. Also dress shirts and nice sweaters.

Just in general bring a few of your favorite things. I never really found casual/every day clothes to be a probably to buy. Things like dresses or party clothes, you may wanna bring a couple of your favs. I found plenty of dresses I liked in Korea (especially in Seoul), but sometimes ones I’d see would be way too short on me.

Toiletries

Deodorant – Bring a 3-pack or whatever with.

Razors/shaving gel – If you don’t mind the cheap throwaway kind, it’s not a problem. Also I remember seeing shaving gel for guys, but not for ladies.

Tampons – Your call, honestly. I don’t use them, but I feel like it’s not impossible to get them. It’s just that pads are more favored it seems.

Vitamins/medication – Of course bring your meds with you! Also the prescription (this goes for glasses too). Things like Tylenol, Advil, ibuprofen, Midol, and stomach medicine are extremely useful.

Toothpaste – I don’t like Korean tooth paste, honestly. Also I hear it doesn’t have fluoride. Anyway, just bring a few tubes of your fav.

Make-up – Korean make-up is awesome! But if you’re a darker skin color then bring your favorite concealer/foundation/BB cream/etc with you. You’re just not going to find it over there.

Snacks/food:

Bring a few of your favorite snacks if you have room. It can help combat homesickness. I suggest Reese’s!

Also if you love Ranch dressing (Heeeey, Simon), then you can buy Hidden Valley Ranch packets at the store. Saves a lot of room and you can make it whenever you want.

Home

Bath towel – Get a big, fluffy one. The towels in Korea are small in comparison, and it’s so annoying!

Pics – Bring some to decorate your home or classroom. Speaking of classroom, anything you can bring to decorate it great. I brought a poster of my college campus, pictures of my home, etc.

Camera – You can buy one over there too, but no matter what get one! You’re going to be overseas for a year and you should document as much as you can.

Adapter/convertor – Definitely bring a couple adapters. If you want to plug in more than one thing at a time then you’ll want a few. Convertors are only needed if you bring something heavy duty like a game system.

Laptop – A lot of people wait to buy one in Korea. For me personally, it seemed like getting a PC was troublesome (having to change the language and other things). I ended up buying a new MacBook in my 2nd year cuz my old one was dying a slow death. Apple products are more expensive there, unfortunately, but I never had trouble with it. Actually, it was nice having the hangul written on the keys.

The biggest problem with Macs, though, is Korea’s outdated obsession with Internet Explorer. It just doesn’t work on them! There will be many times, especially with your bank, where you simply won’t be able to do anything on your Mac. In those cases I used my school computer or went to a PC bang. Annoying, but it works.

Etc

Pics and videos – Buy an external hard drive and load it up. Take videos before you leave: of your family, friends, workplace, old schools, whatever. The kids will like it, and it can be nice when you’re missing home.

Books – Don’t bother. I love books, but they take up way too much room. Download the Kindle app and get e-books. If you ever want a real book, though, you can always order from WhatTheBook in Seoul.

Movies – Meh, a toss-up. Bring a few of your favs if you like. Korea’s internet is amazingly fast though so it’s not hard to download things.

I hope that was useful! There’s probably a few things I forgot, so if you have questions leave them down below.

Thanks for reading. Stay warm!

Korean College Festival

Time for a throwback vlog!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

When I lived in Daejeon, I lived just 2 bus stops away from Chungnam University. It was really convenient because the area around the university is a popular place for twenty-somethings to hang out (seeing as many students live in the area). At least once a year, the university holds a festival. Actually, many Korean universities have festivals.

The main activities of these festivals are eating and drinking.

SONY DSC

Clubs or departments will set up tents and sell food and refreshments, namely alcohol like beer, soju, and makkeoli. One tent we went in had a 노래방/karaoke machine set up. And I loves me some karaoke!

SONY DSC

There will usually be a performance too. Sometimes students will perform a bit, and after a professional singer will perform as well. When I went this time, it was in 2012 and Geeks and 4Minute performed. Pretty lucky! Though I remember Gayoon was out sick, but it was still fun to see an idol group that close.

SONY DSC

Hip hop duo – Geeks

SONY DSC

4minute

It’s a nice chance to walk around with friends and relax.

SONY DSC

I haven’t seen anything quite like this in the States. If we did, they probably wouldn’t sell alcohol. **Note: It was all students running things so it’s not like anyone was carding people. They assumed everyone is of age.

It’s a fun! I went to one or two other festivals during my time in Korea. One time they event set up a giant closed-off tent as a club. College kids sure know how to party.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Does your university/college do festivals or big events like this? Lemme know! I’m curious how people’s university life differs. 🙂

Thanks for reading!