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Archive for the 'Explore Korea' Category

Life in Seoul: What is the Cost of Living in South Korea?

Due to Korean Dramas and Kpop influences, the number of foreigners traveling to Korea or living in Korea has doubled in the last decade. This means that more and more foreigners come to Korea to learn its culture, language, customs and so on. Traveling to Korea certainly helps you understand Korea and also helps you expand your perspective.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between traveling and moving abroad. Travelers’ main concerns may be where to stay throughout the trip, or where to shop or to eat in Seoul. But for foreigners who want to live in Korea, one of the main concerns may be the cost of living in Korea. I am sure that you are reading this blog because you have been considering moving to Korea and you want to gather as much information as you can.

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Table of Contents

  1. Cost of Renting an Apartment or a House in Korea
  2. Cost of Food in Korea
  3. Cost of Entertainment in Korea
  4. Cost of Transportation in Korea
  5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

Don’t worry, KoreanClass101 will look into the living costs, such as renting an apartment, purchasing food, enjoying entertainment etc, in Korea, focusing on Seoul. Also, KoreanClass101 will share some tips on how you can save some money while living in Korea, like locals do, so that you can apply these tips once you start living in Seoul, Korea. We will share some useful Korean phrases and words for you to learn from this article so please keep reading!

Apartment

1. Cost of Renting an Apartment or a House in Korea

If you are going to be an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Korea, you do not need to worry about accommodations, as the company will cover all the expenses including the utility fees. However if you need to find your own place to stay, there are some important things that you need to understand about renting an apartment in Korea.

Firstly, depending on where you want to live, your rent will be different. For example, if you want to live in Gangnam, Hongdae or any other main district in Seoul, the rent is going to be extremely expensive in comparison to other areas far from the main districts.

Secondly, Koreans usually search for an apartment to rent through a real estate agent. Koreans believe that it is the safest way to find an apartment and usually the real estate agent will take care of all the work including negotiating with the landlord and reading through the contract for you. If you want to lower the apartment rent, you may want to increase the default deposit. Usually, if you increase the deposit by 10,000,000 KRW, you may be able to lower the rent by 50,000 KRW. Also, sometimes you will notice that the water utility fee is included in the rent. This is certainly negotiable as well. The real estate agent will negotiate this with the landlord on your behalf, and there is no guarantee as it’s really up to the landlord to decide. Also, if you find a house then you will need to pay approximately 10% of your rent to the real estate agent. Koreans also use a number of apps or websites to save on the agency fee, which are 다방 (dabangapp), 직방 (Zigbang), 피터팬의 좋은방 구하기 (peterpanz) and so on.

List of Korean words for renting an apartment in South Korea:

  1. 월세 (wolse) - “monthly rent”
  2. 관리비 (gwanribi) - “maintenance fee”
  3. 수도요금 (sudoyogeum) - “water bill”
  4. 전기요금 (jeongiyogeum) - “electricity bill”
  5. 계약서 (gyeyakseo) - “contract”

Do you want to become fluent in reading Korean?
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Food in Korea

2. Cost of Food in Korea

It is relatively cheap to eat out or do grocery shopping in South Korea. For example, a carton of milk costs around 2,500 KRW and the price of snacks and sweets usually start from 1,000 KRW. Also, the majority of supermarkets offer special discounts such as 1+1 events or coupon events. So look out for these signs when you go to a supermarket. In addition, a good thing about doing grocery shopping at supermarkets such as major wholesale stores like emart, Home plus and some local supermarkets, is that some supermarkets offer free delivery if you purchase over a certain amount.

Regarding eating out in South Korea, dishes usually cost from 7,000 KRW if you go to an inexpensive restaurant. Just to give you some hints about the cost of food in Korea, a McDonalds meal usually costs from 6,000 KRW and beers cost from 3,000 KRW. Waiters and waitresses often can speak English if you go to the city area, but if you are living outside the main districts, you will need to order food in Korean. If you learn a few phrases and order food at a restaurant, using honorific Korean, Koreans will appreciate you for trying to speak Korean.

List of Korean words for food:

  1. 닭 가슴살 (dalg gaseumsal) - “chicken breast”
  2. 사과 (sagwa) - “apple”
  3. 바나나 (banana) - “banana”
  4. 감자 (gamja) - “potato”
  5. 소주 (sojoo) - a Korean alcoholic drink typically made from rice or sweet potatoes.

Click here to learn more Korean essential vocabulary for fruits and vegetables!

Entertainment

3. Cost of Entertainment in Korea

The cost of entertainment in South Korea really depends on what you want to do as a hobby or for pleasure. For now, let’s focus on movies. If you purchase movie tickets at the counter, the tickets cost usually around 12,000 KRW, without any snacks or drinks. The price of the ticket becomes more expensive based on the type of movie. For a 3D or IMAX film, expect to pay a lot more.

But don’t worry, there are many ways to enjoy the entertainment without spending a fortune. Here are some tips on what locals do to receive some discounts on their movie tickets.

1) Try to purchase a movie ticket online as tickets are usually around 7,500 KRW online. Also, try to sign up to receive more discounts, ranging from 10% to 30%.
2) If you are an active SNS user, many South Korean companies offer free movie tickets or drinks if you share their contents on your SNS pages.
3) Look out for special discounts offered by different cinemas, such as 조조할인 (jojohal-in), 심야할인(sim-ya-hal-in), 무비데이 (mubidei) and so on.

List of Korean words for entertainment:

  1. 영화 (yeonghwa) - “movie”
  2. 티켓 (tikes) - “ticket(s)”
  3. 조조할인 (jojohal-in) - discount tickets offered to customers who come to the cinema early in the morning
  4. 무비데이 (mubidei) - Every Wednesday is called “movie day,” and you will receive some discount on the movie tickets.
  5. 심야할인 (sim-ya-hal-in) - discount tickets offered to customers who come to the cinema late at night

Do you want to challenge yourself by memorizing 100 essential Korean words?
Click here to access Korean Core 100 Word List for free!

Transportation

4. Cost of Transportation

Transportation in South Korea is extremely convenient and cheap. You will need to purchase a T-Money card, which is a prepaid rechargeable touch-and-go transportation card. You can purchase this card at the ticket machine inside the subway. If you can apply for a credit card in Korea, you can also apply for a card that offers discounts for people who use transportation often. You can consult your bank if you are interested. When you scan your transportation card at a subway station, usually it costs 1,250 KRW for an adult and 720 KRW for a child (with the transportation card). For buses in South Korea, the price differs, from 1,200 KRW to 2,500 KRW, depending on the company and time of the day. Regarding the cost of taxis in Seoul, 일반 (Ilban - “regular taxis”) start from 3,000 KRW and 모범 (mobeom - “deluxe taxis,” black with a yellow top )cost from 5,000 KRW. If you catch a taxi late at night, there will be a late night surcharge.

List of Korean words for transportation:

  1. 대중교통 (daejung-gyotong) - “public transport”
  2. 버스 (beoseu) - “bus(es)”
  3. 지하철 (jihacheol) - “subway(s)”
  4. 택시 (taegsi) - “taxi(s)”

What should we watch in Korea? Learn how to express your intentions!

5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

In summary, we looked at different areas’ of cost of living in South Korea, focusing only on Seoul. The price range may vary depending on which area you go to, therefore it’s important to compare the prices and do a little bit of research in order to save some money while you are in Korea.

Regardless of how cheap or expensive it is to live in South Korea, it’s important to study the language before. If you understand Korean language, it will be a lot easier for you to navigate around in South Korea.

If you have more questions about Korea (apart from cost of living in Korea) why not visit our KoreanClass101 forum? You can get a lot of advice from Koreans or foreigners living in Korea. Also KoreanClass101 has many Korean resources where you can access many study materials for free, so sign up for KoreanClass101 today to receive a free trial!

Good luck :)

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Must-Know Korean Phrases for the PyeongChang Olympics 2018

Korean Phrases that will Help You Enjoy the PyeongChang Olympics to the Fullest!

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics are approximately one month away, and the anticipation is growing higher and higher. While some people may have been to Korea before, PyeongChang is likely a new place for many–How do you get there? Where are the venues? And once you get there, how do you purchase last minute tickets, or souvenirs to take back home?

We’ve prepared the phrases that you’ll need for enjoying the PyeongChang Olympics so that you will be able to enjoy the games–whether you will be sitting in the stadium watching it live, or in another part of Korea, watching it on TV–don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Also, don’t forget to download your free cheat sheet - Survival Phrase List for PyeongChang Olympics 2018 - below. (Logged-In Member Only)

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Table of Contents

  1. Getting There
  2. Buying Tickets
  3. Location of Stadiums
  4. Accommodations
  5. Souvenirs
  6. Where to Enjoy the Games–even if You’re not in PyeongChang
  7. Fun Facts about the PyeongChang Olympics

1. Getting There

You’ve landed in Korea! ‘인천국제공항(IncheonGukjeGonghang-Incheon International Airport)’, will likely be the airport you will be landing at when arriving.

The most convenient route will be going directly from the airport to PyeongChang through KTX, Korea’s express train system. The high speed train cuts the traveling time to an hour from Seoul to Pyeongchang and 98 minutes from Incheon Airport to PyeongChang.

First, go to the 안내 데스크(information center)’ after arrival and ask where you can purchase KTX tickets:

평창에 가는 KTX표는 어디에서 살 수 있나요?
PyeongChange ganeun KTXpyoneun eodieseo sal su innayo?
“Where can I purchase KTX tickets?”

If you want to buy one way tickets:
편도 티켓은 얼마예요?
pyeondo tikes-eun eolmayeyo?
“How much are one-way tickets?”

For round trip tickets:
왕복 티켓은 얼마예요?
wangbok tikeseun eolmayeyo?
“How much are round-trip tickets?”

KTX already connects Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Yeosu and Daejeon, so it provides accessibility to PyeongChang from various cities throughout Korea. So if you are in Korea and wish to go to PyeongChang, you can simply book your KTX ticket!

If you wish to book online in advance, there is a website that offers tickets exclusively to foreigners.

Just remember that 진부역’(Jinbu Station) and ‘강릉역’(Gangneung Station) are the two major train stations that are close to the venues, so keep this in mind when you are booking your tickets.

Another option would be taking an ‘시외버스’(inter-city bus) from Seoul–the bus ride takes about 2 hours and will cost you about 10,700-12,200won(approximately 9-11 US dollars).
Buy your bus ticket by asking:

“평창에 가는 버스표 주세요.”
PyeongChange ganeun beoseupyo juseyo
“I’d like a bus ticket for PyeongChang.”

If you want to include the number of tickets you wish to buy, just include the number of tickets you wish to purchase:

“평창에 가는 버스표 두 장 주세요.”
PyeongChange ganeun beoseupyo dujang juseyo
“Please give me two bus tickets for PyeongChang.”

Transfering to a domestic flight is another option, because unfortunately, there is no international airport in PyeongChang. This means that you will need transfer to a connecting flight that takes you to the nearby city of ‘양양(YangYang)’.

Once you are there, you can take the bus by going to the 강릉 시외버스 터미널(Gangneung Intercity Bus Terminal). The bus ride will take approximately 3 hours 13 minutes). If you wish to take the bus, go to the ‘안내 데스크(information center)’ after arrival and ask for the bus terminal:

시외버스 터미널에 어떻게 가나요?
sioebeoseu teomineore eotteokke ganayo?
“How do I get to the intercity bus terminal?”

If you wish to go by taxi, it will take approximately 49 minutes and the fare will likely come up to somewhere between ‘6만5천원-8만원(65,500won-80,000won, or approximately 60-75 dollars), so looking for someone to share the taxi with may be an option.

If you want to take a taxi, ask the driver if he/she is willing to take you to PyeongChang by asking:

평창까지 가주실 수 있나요?
PyeongChangkkaji gajusil su innayo?
“Could you take me to PyeongChang?”

Buying Tickets

2. Buying Tickets

Although the Olympics are less than one month away, tickets are still available for purchase. However, as the options for purchasing the tickets vary depending on the country you are coming from, you may want to check the PyeongChang Olympics official website for details.

If you wish to purchase tickets directly at the venue, simply go to the ticket booth and ask whether they have tickets available for the day by inquiring:

혹시 오늘 경기 표 살 수 있나요?
hoksi oneul gyeonggi pyo sal su innayo?
“Is it possible to buy tickets for today’s game?”

If you want to buy tickets for another day:

“다른 날 표 살 수 있나요?”
dareun nal pyo sal su innayo?
“Could I buy tickets for another day?”

If you would like to ask if there are tickets for other events, you could ask:

“다른 경기 표는 없나요?”
dareun gyeonggi pyoneun eomnnayo?
“Are there tickets for other games?”
If you bought tickets already and want to receive at the ticket booth:

“인터넷으로 표 샀는데 지금 받을 수 있을까요?”
Inteoneseuro pyo sanneunde jigeum badeul su isseulkkayo?
“I bought tickets online. Can I get them now?”

Location of Stadiums

3. Location of Stadiums

There are 13 venues where the events will take place, with the Games gathering around the two main venues–the mountain resort of ‘알펜시아’(Alpensia: for outdoor sports such as skiing and bobsled, and the coastal city of ‘강릉’(Gangneung) for indoor sports such as hockey, curling and figure skating.

PYEONGCHANG 2018 VENUESSource: architectureofthegames.net

4. Accommodations

Once you have made it to PyeongChang, you will likely need to check in. To confirm your reservation, you may need to ask:

“체크인 하고 싶은데요.”
chekeuin hago sipeundeyo.
“I’d like to check in.”

If you want to ask if breakfast is included, you could ask:

“조식도 포함되나요?”
josikdo pohamdoenayo?
“Is breakfast included?”

Accommodations

If you wish to ask for help, the concierge at the hotel/resort you are staying at will probably know the best places to eat, or be able to give directions to get to the stadium. Here are some phrases that you could use to ask for help:

“도움을 받고 싶은데요.”
doumeul batgo sipeundeyo.
“I’d like some help.”

“맛있는 식당 추천 해주세요.”
Massineun sikdang chucheon haejuseyo.
“Please recommend a delicious restaurant.”

“___ 경기장에 가고 싶은데 택시를 불러주세요.”
___ gyeonggijange gago sipeunde taeksireul bulleojuseyo.
“I’d like to go to the ___ stadium, please call me a taxi.”

“___ 경기장에 가고 싶은데 어떻게 가야 하나요?”
gyeonggijange gago sipeunde eotteokke gaya hanayo?
“I’d like to go to the ___ stadium, how do I get there?”

5. Souvenirs

PYEONGCHANG 2018 VENUESSource: wikipedia

If you wish to bring back a souvenir from the Olympics, why not the mascots of the Games? There are two official ‘마스코트(masukoteu)-”mascots”’ for the games–’수호랑’(Soohorang) and ‘반다비’(Bandabi)–Soohorang is a white tiger and Bandabi is an Asiatic black bear.

There is an official online store with cute character items that range from water bottle holders to indoor slippers.

‘평창 롱패딩’(pyeongchang longpaeding)-”Long padded coats” are also available and selling like hotcakes at 롯데백화점(loddebaeghwajeom)=”Lotte Department Store”, the official sales partner of the Olympics, so going to the department store may be a good way to get not just souvenirs, but other popular Korean products such as ‘페이셜 팩’(peisyeol paek)=”facial masks”, ‘화장품’(hwajangpum)=”cosmetics”), or ‘김’(gim)=”seaweed snacks”.

Also, don’t forget to download your free cheat sheet - Survival Phrase List for PyeongChang Olympics 2018 - below. (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - PyeongChang Olympics 2018

6. Where to Enjoy the Games–even if You’re not in PyeongChang

If you don’t have the time to actually visit PyeongChang, one good option would be to go to a local pub and enjoy the games–some fun areas in Seoul include ‘이태원’(Itaewon) and ‘홍대’(Hongdae)–there are various bars and pubs which will likely have sign posts showing that they will be showing the games ‘라이브’(laibeu)=”real time”–walk around until you see a pub you fancy–then just walk in, order a glass of beer and cheer for your country or favorite player!

7. Fun Facts about the PyeongChang Olympics

  • This is the first Winter Olympics hosted by Korea.
  • To avoid confusion with the North Korean capital Pyongyang, the PyeongChang resort changed its name by capitalizing the ‘C’.
  • This was Korea’s third attempt to host the Winter Olympics–PyeongChang lost by just three votes to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics, and four votes to Sochi for the 2014 Games.
  • A record 102 medals will be awarded in 15 disciplines.

The Top 10 Korean Words & Phrases For Going On A Date

The Top 10 Words You'll Need For A Date!

Hey Listeners!

Summer is here and love is in the air! But are you going to be able to go on that date with that special someone… who only speaks Korean?!

Step up your game with our Top 10 Korean words and phrases for going on a date! And don’t forget to sign up for a FREE (Yes, it’s a FREE account) lifetime account at KoreanClass101.com to further your skills even more!

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1. I love you.
사랑해요. (Saranghaeyo.)

2. You’re so beautiful.
정말 아름다우세요. (Jeongmal areumdauseyo.)

3. Rose
장미 (jangmi)

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4. Kiss
키스 (kiseu)

5. I think of you as more than a friend.
나는 너를 친구 이상으로 생각해. (Naneun neoreul chingu isangeuro saenggakae.)

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6. Love
사랑 (sarang)

7. I’ve got a crush on you.
나는 너에게 반했어. (Naneun neoege banhaeseo.)

8. Date
데이트 (deiteu)

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9. Heart
하트 (hateu)

10. We were meant to be together.
우리는 천생연분이야. (Urineun cheonsaengyeonbuniya.)

Still Want More? You’ll Find It All On Our Site! Sign Up For A FREE Lifetime Account Here! Yes. FREE, FREE, FREE!

P.S. If you are in a really lovey dovey mood, check out some of these related word lists!
1. Must-Know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
2. 15 Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
3. Must-Know White Day Vocabulary
4. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
5. The Top 10 Conversational Phrases In Korean

The Top 5 K-Pop Songs To Learn Korean!

Click Here To Start Learning Korean!

Can you learn a language just by listening to music? Probably not.

However, while it would be illogical to rely solely on music to learn a language, it can definitely help!

This is true for learning Korean.

Here are a few reasons why music CAN help you learn Korean:

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1. Music can help you remember!
Ever had a song stuck in your head? Music stimulates memorization naturally. So while you’re singing your favorite Korean pop song every night before bed, you’ll be working on your language skills at the same time! How’s that for practicing Korean?

2. Practice on the go!
With modern technology, you can listen to music anywhere. The convenience of music is what makes it the perfect way to supplement your Korean language studies. On the bus, in a cafe, stuck in traffic…just turn on your car stereo or put on your headphones and go!

3. Learn about the culture!
This is one of the coolest things about listening to popular music from Korea. You’re able to dive in and experience a piece of the culture first-hand. By doing this, you can familiarize yourself with the current trends, slang, idols and actors of Korea!

4. Bring life your studies to life!
We all know that reading through notes can get boring, so why not spice up your studies a little? Music is fun and relaxing. Whether you want to dance on your bed to techno or unwind in your backyard to a soothing melody, nothing beats a study break that actually helps your studying.

And without further ado, here are our five songs that will help improve your Korean:

1. 2NE1 - I Love You

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2NE1 is one of the most popular K-pop groups around! Composed of three members, 2NE1 has been on the Korean music scene since 2009. The song I Love You features a smooth and catchy tune with a hook that is actually in English! This combination of Korean and English can be a great way for beginners to start learning through music.

2. SHINee - Hello

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Similar to the previous song on the list, Hello also sports a simple English chorus. SHINee is one of the most respected boy bands in Korea, as well as Japan! This song is perfect for someone who is at a beginner level.

3. EXO - 으르렁 (Growl)

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This song is sure to help intermediate and advanced learners. Don’t be surprised if the beat gets stuck in your head for days, it’s THAT catchy! Though some of the lyrics can get complex, the words are always spoken at an easy to follow pace!

4. Girls’ Generation - Gee

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This light-hearted song is sure to lift up your spirits, as well as help you learn Korean! One of the older groups on this list, Girls’ Generation debuted in 2007. Gee is comprised of simple and cheery lyrics that anyone can enjoy!

5. BIGBANG - Fantastic Baby

Click Here To Start Learning Korean!
BIGBANG might be the most popular group on the list and Fantastic Baby is one of their most popular songs. Like a few of the other songs on the list, English can be found in the lyrics, making it a comfortable track for beginners.

Click Here To Start Learning Korean For FREE!

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

6 Reasons to Learn a Language Before You Travel

There are plenty of destinations where you can get by with English, but sometimes you want to do better than just ‘get by’. Here are 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination.

What are the 6 reasons you should learn the basics of the language of your next trip destination?

1. You will be able to discover your destination better than other tourists.
Getting by is one thing, but actually experiencing a trip abroad is quite another. No amount of guidebooks and online research can compensate for a basic lack of language ability. Speaking the language of your destination permits you to explore that destination beyond the regular tourist traps. Your language skills will not only allow you to dig into all the hidden gems of your destination, but they will also allow you to mingle with the locals to get a true experience on your holiday. Think of it this way: you’re not restricted to talking to the people at the tourist desk anymore.

2. Knowing how to communicate with local police or medical personnel can be life-saving.
Before you leave for your destination, make sure you learn how to ask for help in that destination’s local tongue. Do you know how to ask the waiter if this dish has peanuts in it? Or tell your host family that you’re allergic to fish? Can you tell the local doctor where it hurts? Moreover, an awareness of an environment improves your chance of remaining safe inside it. For example, walking around a busy marketplace, dazzled by an unfamiliar language, signs and accents will instantly render any tourist a more attractive mark for pickpockets. Communicating with other people, asking questions and looking confident will make you look like a semi-local yourself, and will ward off potential thieves.

Click here for Korean Survival Phrases that will help you in almost every situation

3. It helps you relax.
Traveling is much less stressful when you understand what that announcement at the airport was saying, or if this bus line reaches your hotel. These things stress you out when traveling and they disappear when you understand the language. This allows you to focus on planning your trip in a better, easier way.

Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.

4. Speaking the language can provide you with a way to get to know people you’d never otherwise have the opportunity to speak with.
Sometimes those relationships turn into friendships, and other times they’re nothing more than a lively conversation. Either way, as Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” When you approach someone – even staff at a store or restaurant – with English, rather than their own language, an invisible divide has already been erected. Making even a small effort to communicate in the language of the place you’re visiting can go a long way and you’ll find many more doors open up to you as a result.

Click here for the Top 25 Korean Questions you need to know to start a conversation with anyone

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

5. You’ll be a better ambassador for your country.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know very little about other countries and cultures, especially the local politics. And what we do know is often filtered to us by the media, which tends to represent only certain interests. When you can speak the local language, you’re able to answer questions that curious locals have about your country and culture. Are you frustrated with how your country is presented in global news? Are you embarrassed by your country’s leaders and want to make it clear that not everyone is like that where you’re from? This is a very good opportunity to share your story with people who have no one else to ask. We all have a responsibility to be representatives of the place we come from.

6. Learning another language can fend off Alzheimer’s, keep your brain healthy and generally make you smarter.
For more information, check out this blog post about the 5 Benefits of Learning a New Language.

May is Family Month - Save 30%!

The Month of May in Korea is often called Family Month. There’s Children’s Day, Parent’s Day, and Teacher’s Day. Korea takes Mother’s Day to a whole different level! On these days you give your Children, Parents and Teachers gifts to show them how much you appreciate them. Children often benefit the most with candy and money being popular gifts. Teachers get quite a lot of gifts as well as they have many students and parents to receive gifts from. And that’s why the month of May is called Family month in Korea!

Well… did you learn something new about Korea?

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Back to my hometown[video]

안녕하세요. 현우예요.

I am back in my hometown for 추석 (Chuseok) and as it’s expected each year, the trip back home isn’t always very easy, with all the people moving all together. But I made it back home safely. The bus ride took the time it usually takes - about 4 hours, and I arrived home at 4:00 am after taking a taxi from the bus terminal to my parents’ house. The bus fare from Seoul to Korea was around 22,000 won, and the taxi fare was around 6,000 won.

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The bus stopped at a service station for 15 minutes so that people can use the bathroom or get something to eat or drink. And here’s a video to show you what a 고속도로(express way) 휴게소(service station) looks like at night. :)

재미있게 보세요 ^^

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Follow me! (저를 따라오세요)

This picture also happens to have been taken in 신촌, and 신촌 is not only a major entertainment district but also a neighborhood that are surrounded by four universities (연세대학교, 홍익대학교, 이화여자대학교, 서강대학교). And if you go near a univeristy in Korea on a weekend, you can easily see something like this.

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What do you think it is? Why would somebody do this? Where does it lead to?

These *marker* lines are usually used for guiding people from the 지하철역(subway station) or from 캠퍼스 안(inside the school campus) so that they can easily find the right 술집(bar) or 모임 장소(meeting point) for a reunion. :)

While it’s funny when you think about all the work that has to go into making this long long line (one line is usually 400m ~ 500m long or even longer),

01.jpg

it’s the welcoming atmosphere that these lines can give the visitors that makes college student keep doing this traditionally. For your information, it is of course illegal to put something like this on the public road, but it’s just understood and forgiven in areas near universities.

And it is actually quite fun making this although it takes hours and hours to finish one long line, and you always have to worry about the line getting cut somewhere in the middle, so you want to make sure that it’s securey fasten with duct tape.

03.jpg

And you also put in some welcoming messages on pieces of paper too. And when there seems to be more than one occasion going on in the neighborhood on the same day (which is almost always the case) you also want to put in some info about where this line goes to, although this arrow right below doesn’t have any info of that sort.

04.jpg

It says 이리 오슈 and 냉큼 오슈, which means “이리 오세요.” and “빨리 오세요” in standard Korean. :)

Back in the days …

I was walking in 신촌(Shinchon) the other day and saw this big picture on the wall of a 갈비(kalbi) restaurant. I am usually trying to introduce interesting store names and signs but this week, I wanted to share this picture with you. I hope you’ll enjoy this nice picture of a traditional market/festival scene of Korea (until about 100 years ago) hung on a very modern building.

In the middle of this photo is the picture.

shinchon01-1.jpg

In front of this building there’s a 관광 버스(tour bus) waiting for its passengers.

shinchon01-4.jpg

Reading from the menu that’s written on the windows, this place sell 돼지 갈비, 소갈비, 냉면, and etc. :-) all of which I like very much!
And if you look more closely at the picture, you can see what kind of clothes “normal” or “average-ranking” people used to wear in Korea hundreds of years ago. And as you can tell, all men have their hair long and either curled into a ball or covered with a hat, and this is because Korean men never used to cut their hair their entire life because they believed it to be a divine part of their body that their parents gave them. (And of course they’re drinking 막걸리. :D )

shinchon01-3.jpg

And a little bit more closely. The 아줌마(or possibly the kid’s 엄마) is checking the taste of the soup before serving it, and the kid is looking at her with eyes full of envy (or hunger) :P

shinchon01-2.jpg

Thank you for reading!! :)

강원도 여행

picture-2.png
I had a really long weekend recently and decided to take a short personal vacation. I headed off to 강원도 a province on the north-eastern edge of Korea. It is famous for the mountains and beaches, but I was just looking to get out of 서울. All of my long-distance travel within Korea has been by train or car, so I decided to take busses this time around. I boght a ticket for 강릉 and settled in what turned out to be a 4hr drive. It should have taken around 2~3 hours, but I guess everyone else had the same idea! I was hoping to speak as little English as possible on this trip, and since I was travelling alone, I stood a pretty good chance to getting to do just that. When I got to 강릉 the first thing I did was find a PC방. When travelling in Korea, it’s always a good idea to go there first. I used it to get my bearings in the city using Naver maps, and try to locate a good 찜질방 to spend the night in. With all my information, I sat out to get a taxi. I wanted to practice a particular pattern in the real world, something new from my class: It works out to “what’s a good thing to…….?” or “what’s the best way to…….?”

So, I started my conversation with the taxi driver:
저는 강릉에 처음이라서 뭐 하는게 좋을까요?
This is my first time in 강릉, what should I do?

He responded by listing all the things that were on my tourist map, so I guess I had sucessfully asked the question. He recommended going to the beach, seeing some old traditional houses and temples, etc. And of course eating 회 fresh, raw seafood. So he dropped me off at the 찌질방 and I went off to find dinner. I stumbled across a 왕갈비집 a few blocks away. They were advertising one serving for 8,000 원. However, I haven’t had much success at these places ordering by myself. They aren’t so into that, and usually require that you order two servings. But since I was eating alone, I had to ask the 아줌마 about that:

안녕하새요? 혹시 혼자서 주문하면도 돼요?
Hello, excuse me, but is it alright if I order by myself?

She turned around and looked at me and imediately responded with:
돌어오세요! Come on in!

I ordered a mamoth sized portion of marinated pork with all of the fixings. It was delicous and I had a really pleasant conversation with the 아저씨 who was cooking my meal for me.

In the morning, the weather was looking pretty awful. I went to a convienience store to have some yogurt and juice and get a recommendation about what to do.

ME: 오늘 날씨가 안좋아서 뭐하는게 좋을까요?
Today’s weather isn’t so good, so what is there that’s good to do?
CLERK: 어린이날이라니까 어린이랑 놀았으면 좋겠죠?
Today is children’s day, so wouldn’t it be good to play with your kids?
ME: 사실은 어린이 없으면…
Actually, I dont have any kids…
CLERK: 없으면은 그녕 여자친구랑 지내 보새요
If you don’t have kids, then just spend time with your girlfriend.
ME: 근데 혼자서 왔어요.
I came here alone!
CLERK: 혼자서 왔군요. 그런데 바다에 가보고 경포대에서 구경해 보세요.
Oh you came alone. In that case, go to the beach and also do some sightseeing at 경포대.

I didn’t really leave that conversation with anymore information than before, but I headed to the beach. (The weather cleared up just a short while later) That’s where the picture came from! There isn’t much more to say about the trip. I also went to the nearby town of 속초. But I really enjoy travelling around Korea outside of Seoul. It is where I can really see the benefits of my Korean study.