Telling My Family About Korea

Welcome back to Heart&Seoul! I would like to apologize for being late about posting, but I think we all know this is just how I am by now. 

I would like to apologize for being late about posting, but I think we all know this is just how I am by now. Anyways, it is the 2 month anniversary of telling my family about wanting to go to South Korea, so what’s a better time to tell you about how it all went down? 

Now, my family, like many other Westerners, have an irrational fear of the Korean Peninsula. This is fair since North Korea is not the safest place on Earth, but people seem to forget that North and South Korea are not the same places.

Anyways, my family and I were sitting at the table eating breakfast and I told them I wanted to study abroad. They were ok with that for the most part, mostly concerned with the cost. Then they asked where I wanted to go. When they started calling out the names of different Europe countries, I knew what I was about to say was going to be a shock. The conversation continued as such.

Me: “No, not France or Spain. Actually, I want to go to South Korea.” (Note: Emphasis on South)

Family: “What? Why do you want to go there? You don’t even speak Korean.”

Me: “I’ve been learning. And actually the University I want to go to offers courses in English.”

Family: “Ah, but it’ll be English spoken by Koreans. What if you don’t understand?”

Me: “I’ll be fine. They are qualified teachers. I shouldn’t have a problem.”

Now that the language wasn’t an issue, they brought out the big guns. Literally.

Family: “But what if you’re bombed or something? What are you going to do?”

I had no idea what to say. What could I say? Yes, North Korea does pose a threat. It would be naive to think it doesn’t. But I wasn’t going to let fear of a possible occurrence stop me from studying abroad. So, all I could say was:

Me: “I’ll be fine.”

At this point, I think my family realized that nothing was going to sway me from going to South Korea. So, all they could do was shake their heads in exasperation, probably questioning the sanity of their child, and say ok.

And there you have it, folks! I was really nervous about telling my family about South Korea, but once I did, I couldn’t have been happier. My Nana even buys me Korean snacks from our grocery store whenever she happens to be in the aisle.

So, don’t be afraid of telling your family or friends about studying abroad. It’s an exciting experience and you should be able to share it! Stand your ground about the country of your choice, and you will be just fine!

Tune in next week for: Advice on Applying 




Teaching Myself Korean

Welcome back to Heart & Seoul! 

Now, let me apologize for how late this is. Geez, I am really bad at keeping up with this weekly blog thing. The past month has been a crazy whirlwind of hanging out with family and preparing for my sophomore year! Who knew packing could be so hard? (I am shaking in fear of having to pack for Korea.)

Anyway, excuses aside, let’s get on with it!

Korean is nothing like English. I’m going to say that upfront. It’s hard to explain, but Korean requires me to make sounds that I have never had to make before, so at first learning the language was daunting. It was especially nerve-wracking because I am teaching myself and do not have the support of an instructor. That aside, the most difficult part of learning Korean at the beginning was not letting myself become discouraged.

I am using the app Memrise. I know language apps are a hit or miss, but this one seems to work. However, that is for me personally, so don’t feel discouraged if it’s not the way for you.


So basically, Memrise consists of levels. Each level is a new lesson that increases your vocabulary. In Korean 1, which is what I am in, there are 15 levels. I am currently on Level 5, which is building on the previous lessons of learning the alphabet.

First, you learn the new vocabulary based on the goal you set for yourself. Next, you review the new vocabulary and apply it in different modes, such as Listening and Typing/Writing. Every day, you review past vocabulary so that it remains fresh in your mind, along with learning new vocabulary. The constant review is something I really enjoy because I have the memory of a gold fish.

My main struggle with Korean right now, other than learning a whole new language, is remaining consistent. When learning anything, especially a new language, you need to practice every day so that you can progress in it. Recently, I have been practicing once or twice a week, which is no bueno.

Some other helpful tips:

  • Look up free resources
    • There are plenty of Youtube videos and channels dedicated to teaching you Korean
  • Watch TV shows and dramas
    • You will learn modern sayings and learn about Korean culture
    • I’ve learned a handful of words this way!
  • Test yourself by listening to Korean shows/music without subtitles
    • See if you can understand the gist of what is going on and look back to see how right you are!
  • Find people to practice with
    • Clubs– I’m fortunate enough to have a Korean Language and Culture Club at my school where foreign exchange students teach the language and culture to fellow students
    • Internet– If you are a part of a fandom, there are usually fandom club pages on sites like Amino or Tumblr where other fans who are learning are practicing with each other. Check them out!

I wish you luck in your language adventures and feel free to ask me for any tips, tricks, or help with the language. I am certainly no expert, but I am open to practice with anyone who needs a buddy.

Tune in next week (maybe ^^;) for: Finally Telling My Family About Korea 

Why Go to Korea?

Welcome back! So, today I thought I would talk about why I decided to go to South Korea. 

Maybe I’m the only one, but whenever I tell people I want to go to South Korea they always give me a strange look and an imaginary question mark appears over their heads. Perhaps it’s because there are countries like England and France that seem to be staples in any college student’s travel plans or because China and Japan are the only eastern countries that come to mind. Whatever the reason, I usually have to explain my choice in destination. So, here are my reasons for going to Asia’s hidden gem:

  1. K-Pop
    • I am going to be honest, I am a fan of K-Pop. I first heard of the genre in my freshman year of high school. Those were the days of Panic at the Disco and teenage angst and I could not understand why anyone would listen to Asian boys singing in a language no one could understand. I know, so presumptuous. If only I knew. I was reintroduced to K-Pop my first semester of college and fell in love. The production quality and meaningful lyrics of BTS’ “I Need U” sealed the deal. From then on, I wanted to learn more about this country I had never paid much attention to.
  2. Travel
    • I have done quite a bit of travel in my twenty-some years of living. I have visited Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. However, I have never set foot in the East, nor had I ever considered it. I figured what better place to start my acquaintance with Asia than the home of my oppas? I want to know South Korea as more than the place of beautiful skin care and great music. The minimal knowledge I have of the history is intriguing and the language has been fun to learn so far. I am excited to learn and immerse myself in a completely new culture and I can’t wait for the culture shock!

So there you have it, my reasons for going to South Korea! I hope you enjoyed hearing all about that. Tune in next week to hear about learning Korean!

Next Week: Teaching Myself Korean Has Been… Interesting… 


Annyeong! Welcome to Heart & Seoul. Here you can find almost everything to be known about studying abroad, specifically in South Korea. Follow me on my journey to studying abroad, from pre-departure prep to coming home.

So, to start off, let me introduce my self. My name is CurlieKoo! I am a rising sophomore at AnyU. I am currently in the process of applying to Sogang University through my school’s study abroad office. Sogang University is in Seoul: South Korea’s capital city. It is one of South Korea’s best universities and it is known for its Korean Language Program.

I plan to go to Sogang during Fall 2018, which is the first semester of my junior year. In South Korea, the school year starts in March and ends in December so I will be attending during the second half of the year. I plan to be staying in Gongaza Hall, the only dormitory on campus. It houses many of the school’s foreign exchange students.

Now, at this point, you’re probably asking why I want to study in South Korea. Many people do when I tell them. I have a couple of reasons for going, which I will explain in detail in my next post. In short, I have grown to love the Korean culture and would love to learn more about it. I am also an extensive traveler, but I have never been to anywhere in Asia. Talk to you next week at Heart & Seoul!

Next Week: Why Go to Korea? Cont.