February 2013 - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Gangnam Style!

9:40:00 PM
Just checked out Gangnam for the first time today! My campus is so far, so I have usually just avoided going there because of the distance, but now that I'm staying in Hongdae it is so much easier to go there..
Didn't really see a lot of the area though, just met up with some of my friends from school and two of the GIP newcomers! We had a really nice dinner together though, I was so happy to see them again and of course we had a lot to talk about too^^

Other blogposts:
South Korea
Kyung Hee University

Hotels in South Korea

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

KyungHee University 경희대: Seoul Campus

4:01:00 PM
The main campus of Kyung Hee University is simply magnificent.. Although it is situated in Seoul close to the Hoegi station it does not feel like you're in Korea's largest city at all.. Instead, the whole place looks like it is taken straight out of the Harry Potter universe with its mystical buildings and statues surrounded by the forest.

I remember a year ago when me and my friend was looking at pictures of KyungHee online. Back then I didn't know that my own campus would be situated so far outside of Seoul, and seeing the beautiful campus in real life made me feel a bit jealous of the students who get to study there instead of at my campus in Gwangneun. Although we are allowed to take classes at the main campus too, it is quite inconvenient since KyungHee's GIP campus is located about 1 1/2 hours outside of Seoul. On the bright side, we have a lot of fresh air and many trees surrounding our campus..

Anyway, although I've already studied for a semester in Korea already it was my first time to actually visit KyungHee's main campus. I went there for the first time this weekend with my friend Anna, who studies Korean there and was more than happy to show me around. It was really beautiful, even now in winter with half-melted and muddy snow covering the school grounds.

Nice buildings, nice library, nice location, nice everything.. 너무 부러워요〜.. ㅎㅎ

Other blogposts:
South Korea
Kyung Hee University

Hotels in South Korea

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Haircut in Seoul: Juno Hair!

8:37:00 PM
If you are a westerner living in Asia there is one thing that can be particularly frightening, especially if you're not 100% certain of your language skills. I'm of course talking about getting your hair cut.

After having asked around among other foreign friends here it seemed like Juno hair was the place to go. Even though I'm studying Korean right now my skills aren't too much to brag about, and it was kinda reassuring to hear that Juno hair always has at least one hairdresser who speaks English. In addition it seems that there are Juno hair salons many places in the city, including in Hongdae where I'm currently staying. So it was not a hard choice at all..

I didn't have any reservation, and since it was a Saturday I did worry that I would had to wait. But is seems like I was quite luck, because I did not have to wait at all. It seems that they give student discounts if you are a student, but only if your school is Hongdae university. Bummer. I asked them about discounts for students from Yonsei or Kyunghee, but unfortunately they couldn't offer me that. I did however got a 10% membership discount, along with a free membership card!

The salon looked nice, and my stylist (her name is Shin Chae Hee) and the assistent did a great job. I got a free head massage along with the haircut too! I've added a couple of pictures so you can see how it looks there, and of course a before and after picture of my hair.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sightseeing in Seoul: Tom's Cat Café in Hongdae!

11:08:00 PM
One of the things that is quite characteristic about certain Asian countries such as Korea and Japan is that the population density makes it hard to have big apartments or gardens, and for many this also means limitations in the possibility of having a pet. Yet, people who do not have the chance to own a cat or a dog can still get the chance to cuddle with them in one of the many cat or dog cafés you can find here.
There are quite a few cat cafés in Seoul too, and since this was something I've never had the chance to try before I decided to spend an afternoon experiencing this interesting phenomena. I went with a friend to a cat café situated in Hongdae called Tom's Cat, which we had heard was supposed to be a nice place to see some very cute cats. You can take a look at the pictures below at some of them^^

You don't have to pay money in order to enter the cat café, but they do request that you buy one drink, starting at around 7000 won. After that you can just sit down and watch the cats play, or cuddle with them if you want. Some of them have lower tolerance towards humans, but these wear colored collars so they are easy to distinguish. Besides, there are over 20 cats it the café, all of different breeds, so it is not a problem to find one to cuddle with. (=^ェ^=) ニャン!

How to get there:
Address: 서울특별시 마포구 서교동 358-125 3층
It is very close from exit 9 of the Hongdae subway station (홍대입구). Easiest way to find it might be to walk straight until you reach the main road that goes to Hongdae University (홍대로), and when you reach the university you turn right, and take the first road to the right again. You'll actually pass by another cat cafe on the way there, which might be a good idea if the other one turns out to be closed or something;)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kanji to Hanja: 100 Words for Rapid Learning

3:01:00 PM

Before I started studying Korean I had heard that the two languages supposedly were quite similar. However, even though I was fluent in Japanese I couldn't really understand anything when I listened to conversations in Korean. After I started studying Korean I noticed that even without using kanji/hanja the Korean language is still based on the same fundamental Chinese characters, which made it interesting for me to search for Japanese and Korean words that had some sort of connection to each other.
I have been working on this list for a little while now, so I really hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think ^^

UPDATE: A new extended list with 300 words!

Thanks again to Jostein for the nice logo:D

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Yonsei Intensive Korean Course Week 1!

8:08:00 PM
This week I started following Yonsei University's three week intensive winter course in Korean, and all I can say is that I has been really busy! On the first day of school, which I wrote about in my previous blog post, we had a placement test to determine our Korean level, which I felt went quite alright.. But I didn't really have any expectation in terms of what level I would end up in, as I haven't had the chance to practice that much korean before.
I took a beginner course in Korean at Ritsumeikan University my last semester there, but the progress was really slow.. And even though I have been living in Korea for half a year it is quite limited what you can learn when you study at KyungHee's GIP campus; they do not offer any courses in Korean, it takes 1 1/2 hour to get to Seoul, the campus is in the middle of the forest and even though there are many Korean students there too they all speak perfect English so they aren't too eager to speak Korean to you.. So to put it this way: the interview I did for my placement exam is the longest conversation I have ever had in Korean..
There are eight levels of classes you can get into in Yonsei's winter course, starting from level 1 at the bottom going up to 8 at the top. As you can imagine I had though they would put me in level 2, or maybe level 3 because of my lack of experience with the language. So at Tuesday when I arrived in the lobby with one of my friends from the hostel you can probably also understand how surprised I was when I figured out which level I was in.
I was looking through the list trying to find my own name, starting from level 1and working my way down to level 3 but I couldn't see my name anywhere. As I had been so certain that they'd put me into either one of those levels I automatically thought that there had been an error in the process somewhere, and that they had forgotten to assign me a class. I was just about to storm off to the office when my friend called out for me; she had found my name in group number 5...
The thing is, since I'm fluent in Japanese it makes it very easy for me to learn the Korean words that are based on Chinese characters, which are considered very academic in both Japan and Korea. So I guess it might sound like my Korean is a lot more advanced than it actually is..
Since the other students already have learned a variety of other things about Korean that I haven't have the chance to learn yet I'm kind of lagging behind them a little bit. But at the same time I do feel that my Korean is improving, so I'll just have to do my best and continue to spend my afternoons and evenings memorizing all the stuff! 화이팅!!

Other posts:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Intensive Korean Language Course @ Yonsei University!

8:11:00 PM
I'm back in Korea ready for a three-week intensive course in Korean at Yonsei University!
Although I have been living in Korea for half a year already I haven't really had the chance to study a lot of Korean as Kyunghee University don't offer any Korean classes at the GIP campus.. So I figured out that this holiday was my best chance to really improve, and decided to spend the last part of my holiday concentrating on the language (although I still have a lot to write for my thesis, which needs to be finished my next semester!..)

Anyway, today our Korean course at Yonsei started with a short orientation and a language test! The first part was a written test; a booklet of 15 pages. We were told to do as far as we were able to do, and that we could just leave as soon as we had finished our interviews.
Although we are supposed to get the test result tomorrow, one of my new friends from the course already got her results on Yonsei's webpage today. I checked mine to, but it didn't say anything yet so I suppose I just have to wait.

Apparently they have 8 levels depending on how much Korean you know! Although I don't know that much of the sino-Korean words yet it is really helpful being fluent in Japanese.
I'm so ready for some intensive language learning!

I'll be back later with a list of between 50-100 (depending on how much time I have) Korean words you can learn in minutes if you already know Japanese (and vice versa)!

Other posts:

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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