Day In The Life: NSLI-Y Korea (Seoul) Summer Student~ 2016 Edition

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is: What is an average day on the NSLI-Y Program? The answer to this question will be different depending on your country, host family, school, implementing organization, and location. However, I wanted to make this blog post about the “average” day for students on my program. Most likely this will be quite similar for the future Nsliyians in Seoul, South Korea (unless one of the factors I mentioned above is different than what I had). Well, I hope you enjoy reading this post and I will just get started already~ XD

6:30 am – Every single weekday morning, I woke up at 6:30 am in order to take a shower, get dressed, and pack my bags for school. It took me about a week to get used to waking up so early as my school got out at the end of May. Therefore I had been sleeping in till 10 am for almost a whole month before coming to Korea. However, I did not mind my alarm clock as much since I was always way excited for what the day was going to bring me.

7:00 am – After I finished getting ready for the day, I would eat breakfast at 7 am. My host parents were kind enough to always make me a homemade breakfast: every single morning. My host mom would usually make me eggs and toast with a side of fruit; while my host dad would usually give me a plate of homemade fried rice or a regular Korean breakfast of meat and vegetables.

7:45 am – I usually left for the subway around 7:30-7:45 am. It really depended on how long I took to eat breakfast and how long I talked to my host mom while eating. (I always had the best conversations with my host mom during breakfast. She always worked late, therefore I did not get much time to talk with her, one on one, otherwise.

8:30-8:40 am – When commuting to school, I took the subway for a couple of stops and then I transferred onto the bus because it saved a lot of time and it made the commute a lot cheaper. I would usually ride the bus with Tucker and Adilene as they were only one subway stop away from me. Sometimes we would ride the bus with Kyle as well. A couple of times, we ran into one of my Korean teachers. It was kinda awkward but also fun since she took us on a secret route to get inside the school. We got to go down into the underground parking lot and use the employee elevator. It was nice. I usually arrived at the school around 8:30-8:40 am. While I waited for class to start, I would usually explore our floor and talk with the other kids in different classrooms. I also usually talked with my resident directors as we only really saw them during school hours. Sometimes I would run down to the convenience store and pick up snacks (like Banana milk and Pepero) for the ten-minute breaks in between classes.

9 am – All classes started at 9 am. We would have two hours of grammar/listening (문법/듣기) with Teacher Lee (이선생님) and then two hours of listening/speaking (듣기/말하기) with Teacher Park (박선생님). I would talk more about Korean class in this post, but I want to save that for another one so I can go more into detail among other things. (I posted it HERE)

teacher-1

12:50 pm – Class ended around this time but we usually didn’t leave the building until after 1 pm. If it was a Monday we would have a weekly meeting right after school in one of the empty classrooms. After the meeting, however, we were free for the rest of the day.

1:15 pm – Most of the NSLIYians would eat lunch around the university. It was just easier to pick a place to eat and then from there, explore the city by taking the subway somewhere. If it was a Wednesday, we had no program obligations and could eat lunch and then do whatever we set our minds to (well, as long as it fit the rules laid out by the program staff during both orientations). On free days (such as Monday and Wednesday), I usually used them to do something that I wanted to spend a whole afternoon doing or do a couple of things I could do all in one day. During the beginning of the program the activities were pretty spontaneous, but by the end, I really focused on doing things on my bucket list.

2 pm – If it was a Tuesday or Thursday, we had supporter meetings (I will do a more in-depth post about that as well– HERE it is) from 2 – 4 pm we would either go on a cultural excursion, study Korean, or in my group’s case- celebrate a birthday. (It seemed we were always celebrating birthdays XD)

gyeong-25

3 pm – If it was a Friday, we had a culture club (we picked these at the in-country orientation) from 3 – 5 pm. I had the cooking class at this time on Fridays where I went to a Korean culture facility with a group of NSLIYians and our RD JT to cook some Korean food. (I also want to do a post about culture clubs! I want to have a post with a little bit of information for every activity and I will get some information and pictures from other people since I only participated in the cooking club. Basically, expect a lot of informational posts in the months leading up to the summer haha) Cooking Club Post HERE.

yori-dong

4/5 ish pm – After all our mandatory activities, we were allowed to basically do whatever we wanted. We could go out with friends and explore Seoul, or we could go home early and eat dinner with our host family. I would usually hang out with classmates after supporter meetings and culture club activities. If it was a Thursday, I would go home right away from my supporter meeting in order to study for my Korean test on Friday.

8 pm – On weekdays, I would usually get home around 8 pm. Our curfew was 9 pm on weekdays and 11 pm on weekends but I never arrived home close to the weekend curfew. (On the weekends I would get home usually around 9:30 – 10:15 pm) Luckily for me, my host family ate dinner pretty late compared to other host families. This was nice because I was able to stay out later with friends rather than having to come home early worrying that I might miss dinner with my host family. My host family usually ate dinner around 9:00 – 9:30 pm because that is when my host parents would come home after work from their 학원 (Tutoring academy).

10 pm – I usually would be doing homework around this time or chatting with my host mom over a nice plate of watermelon or tiramisu and blueberry yogurt. From school I would usually get a couple of workbook pages a night which would usually take me an hour to two hours to complete.

thu-7

11:30 – 12 pm – I usually went to bed before midnight during weekdays. My host family was definitely the night owl kind so they would stay up well past 2 in the morning. I did not get much sleep in Korea (well under the 8-hour mark) but I honestly didn’t feel that tired throughout the days. The first week was bad, but I got used to it after a while.

  • And that was the day in the life of a student on the NSLI-Y Korea Summer Program (Summer 2016 edition)! I hope you enjoyed reading. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to comment on this post and I will get back to you as soon as I see it~ I will be posting more informational posts such as this one soon, because the summer of 2017 is upon us and I am running out of blog posts from Korea unfortunately: It is very depressing 😦 I will hopefully link the informational blog posts in the places I mentioned them throughout this blog (well, once they are completed of course.) Thank you~ 안녕 친구들~

-엠마 (Emma)

 

 

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