My name is Julianna Ngo and I am a rising junior in the Elliott School of International Affairs. I am also one of the Sigur Center’s Grants for Korean Language Study for summer 2011 award recipients. And I would like to start off by thanking the Sigur Center again for giving me this amazing opportunity to study in and experience South Korea.
I have been in Seoul for about a month now and my Korean is 10x better than it was prior to coming here. I am not saying that Professor Miok Pak did not do a good job at teaching me, because Professor Pak is one of my favorite professors at GWU and one of the main reasons why I am minoring in Korean. Anyway, moving along…in Korea, most people speak minimal or no English. At first I was extremely frustrated trying to find my way around Seoul; to get a prepaid cellphone, to find my way home on the metro system, to get from the airport to my homestay, and to settle down. The first week was a nightmare. Thank goodness I had already taken two years of Korean prior to venturing out here on my own, so I could read the signs and listen when I asked people for help.
I am currently studying Korean at Seoul National University’s Korean Language Education Institute. My Korean class alternates between three different female Korean teachers Monday through Friday, for four hours a day. The teachers here are extremely helpful and really do make an effort to get to know their students. However, registering to take classes and instructions on what to do, where to go, and when to meet is not exactly student friendly. Overall though, I am very happy with my program and I am making good progress.
Besides school, being in Korea has gave me the opportunity to attend the world’s biggest break dancing competition in the world: R-16. I do believe Susie Greenbaum mentioned this in her blog too. I won free tickets to go to R-16, met a few amazing dancers by chance, and the next thing I know, I’m hanging out back stage with the stars. If you watch the performances by Jay Park, AOM, krNfx, Tiger JK, and T (all Korean stars) you’ll see me in the background in white recording all of it on camera. Hehehehe. I have met some amazing people from all over the world here and this would not have been possible without the Sigur Center. Thank You---for giving me the opportunity to drastically improve my Korean and for the chance to go on my own wicked adventure.
BA International Affairs and Asian Studies 2013
Sigur Center 2011--Korean Language Fellow
Seoul National University, South Korea