“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Adventure is calling me from my comfortable dwelling this summer as I prepare to study abroad in Seoul, South Korea. As a graduate student who has recently started my thesis, you can imagine that I do not get out much. In fact, my last vacation was August 2014! I have been pretty much holed up in my library every weekend since then and I am starting the get pasty! That is about to change and I am ready to go out and connect with the world again. I feel like South Korea is calling and I am ready to answer!
We are at T-minus 3 days until take-off and I am finalizing my travel plans! Over the past semester my friends and I have gathered a vast amount of travel tips from all over the internet! Since those tips have really helped me feel prepared, I would like to share them with you! Here are a few of the blogs and websites that have really helped me out:
Learning the Language:
Korean Class 101, Hana Hana Hangul Series: Don’t let theses short YouTube videos fool you, They tought me how to read and write hangul. With these videos it took me about a month to get the basics down. Now I am not master but I feel confident I will be able to read basic words.
Talk To Me In Korean: This is one of my favorite websites! Their website hosts some Korean lessons, that are FREE! There are nine levels total and each level has tons of lessons. What I love most about their lessons are their podcasts and free pdf study guides. This helps the lessons to really stick with me especially since I am a visual and auditory learner. I have been completing the lessons here and there in my spare time. I have made it to lesson 20 (out of 24) on level one. But I still need way more practice! Something else that makes Talk to Me in Korean rock is their Twitter feed (@ttmik). They constantly answer their follower’s questions about how to say things in Korean and provide tons of answers!
Sweet and Tasty: Hosted by Mina Oh, these YouTube videos provide quick phrases needed for specific activities such as dining out, touring local attractions, and shopping!
Learning the Culture and Things to Do:
Sweet and Tasty: Check-out season 4 of her Kwow series. In this series she introduces a Korean word and shows you things to do in Seoul that are related. This is where we gathered all our information on tourist things to do!
Eat Your Kimchi: Simon and Martina provide a whole host of things to do and places to eat at in Seoul. Make sure to check out their Food Adventure Program For Awesome People (F.A.P F.A.P) and Wonderful Adventure Now Korea (W.A.N.K) video series! They are hilarious, not to mention everyone in my household is a major fan of their dog, Spudgy!
Seoul Travel Sites:
Visit Seoul: Really great English website that helped me decide the areas I should visit in Seoul.
Seoul Metro Cyber Station: This interactive subway map is amazing! I can plug-in my where I want to go and it tells me how many changes I need to make, how long the journey will be, and how many changes I need to make. This has been key for planning where we want to go in the city.
Those are a few of the sites that I have used to help plan my visit! I am going with several friends who are staying with me for a week before I start classes at Dongguk University! If you are planning to visit Seoul soon, I hope these sites will help you plan! if you have been to Seoul, please share your experiences and favorite websites with me! That would be super helpful while I am in Korea!