When it’s raining in Melbourne (which seems to happen more than you’d expect), there are several great museums to visit and escape from the weather! My three favorites are the Melbourne Museum, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and Old Melbourne Gaol.
The Melbourne Museum is located near the Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens, just a few blocks east of University of Melbourne’s campus. It has several different permanent and rotating exhibits. One permanent exhibit that I like is about the state of Victoria’s aboriginal people; it has artwork and other cultural artifacts, and it has a lot of history about these first Bunjilaka peoples. The best part about the Melbourne Museum is that it’s free for students – so you can go as many times as you want without paying!
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, or ACMI, is in Federation Square in the CBD, easily accessible by trams or walking. This museum is free for the permanent exhibits, while the rotating features require a ticket. I really liked the permanent exhibit, as it contains all kinds of digital culture pieces mostly pertaining to Australia. There are pieces on video games from the 70’s to now, Australian movies and Australian actors, and other innovative technology. It’s an interactive museum, so you can play games, watch films and touch items.
...continue reading "Museums in Melbourne"
Finals season at Seoul National University has arrived and this is made clear by the lack of seats in the library. Something interesting at SNU is that at the library, there's a machine that you log into with your student ID and reserve a seat on the 6th, 7th, or 8th floor for a certain amount of time.
One thing I've really come to like is that the library is incredibly spacious and has absolutely enormous tables that are big enough that you can spread your stuff out in your designated area even though you're sharing the table with up to 5 other people. There are different types of rooms, such as the reading room where you're not allowed to use your laptop to type (i.e. writing essays, doing research) since even the sound of typing on the keyboard is distracting, the laptop zone equipped with outlets conveniently located at every seat, the multimedia plaza (my favorite place) where there are INDIVIDUAL TVs (or 2-seater seats or even 4-seaters) you can reserve for up to 2.5 hours and an expansive collection of DVDs to rent movies from, the computer lab with computers at every seat, and there is even one of those typical red London phone booths in case you need to take a phone call on every floor.
I've been spending quite some time there because it is such a great study environment. I think people study at cafes a lot here but for some reason I always get distracted and since they play music it's not as easy to focus there as the dead silent library at SNU.
...continue reading "Already finals"
Week 12 was written in bold text on the projector screen of my Why France Matters Seminar. Objectively thinking of the number 12, it doesn’t seem that large, but when I began to think about all the unforgettable memories and inspiring people I encountered within those 12 weeks my sense of time grew exponentially. To think back to the first day of my arrival in France, and considering all the time in-between then and now, 12 weeks feels like a life time.
I understand the dialogue surrounding the transformative nature of travel is overlooked as a cliché, however travel has the remarkable ability to inspire us, challenge us, and teach us about the world around us in ways no classroom ever could. Having the opportunity to immerse myself in this new, unfamiliar location has come with many experiences which were often jolting, rewarding and difficult.
One of the major difficult aspects of adapting to this new life style was figuring out the public transport system in Reims. What I have learned is that unlike like Paris or Shanghai, the transport system in Reims is not as reliable and runs far less frequently than one would hope. From getting to the train station or to an event on time there is a lot of time preparation that goes into figuring out which form of transportation one ought to take and at what time. Maybe this is just from a foreigner’s perspective; however, the number of conflicts I have run into regarding transportation has been plentiful. In Reims, there are three main forms of transportation: The tramline, the bus, and a local bike share company. The main problems surrounding the tram system that there are only two lines (red and blue) which run in the same direction (east to west) stopping at almost the same stops.
...continue reading "Week 12"
Well the semester, already shorter than a standard GW one, has flown by incredibly quickly. In just three weeks I'll be back on US soil, something I'm looking forward to just as much as I'll miss Scotland. In the meantime exam season is fast approaching. Unfortunately for me I scored the worst luck possible, my first exam is on December 9th (the first day possible) and my second and final exam is on the 21st(the last day possible.) I've also got a paper due in the middle but I am highly annoyed by the spread. I like a few days to prep in between my tests, not a few weeks.
I'd rather get everything out of the way in rapid succession than have to wait and struggle to stay in the zone. I'm also annoyed since my flight is at 06:00 on the 22nd and I was hoping to have a full day to pack and get my things in order but now I'll have to do it earlier. I'll get through it but I wish it could have been a little more convenient. If the test was a week earlier I may have even took a trip somewhere, something which I was prevented from doing by a poorly located mandatory discussion section (called a tutorial here.)
In the spirit of the forward thinking mood I've been in for the past few days I'm now going to list things that I'm looking forward to and things that I'm not looking forward to or will miss.
Things that I am looking forward to:
...continue reading "Three Weeks"
Even though I know I mention this nearly every week, it wasn't until this past weekend that I realized that my time in Korea is really almost done. In less than 2 weeks I'll be done with finals and in about 4 weeks I'll be back at GW. While taking the bus to school, I've had some thoughts that I thought (haha) I would share.
1) At SNU, there’s a person guiding traffic at the crosswalks for students to cross and it makes me feel like I’m back in kindergarten. Especially with everyone wearing their long parkas looking like children. Me included.
2) Sometimes I forget I’m in Korea and am fascinated by the immense number of Koreans around me. Then I realize I probably look like a foreigner to them but I also am a minority back in the US #identitycrisis. I realize this is actually a larger issue under the surface but even being in the US since I identified rather strongly as Korean (especially given that I'm Korean-American), it's interesting actually being in Korea and being perceived as "foreign".
3) Sometimes, I think there’s so much pressure to make the best of your time abroad but only in one sense - going out, discovering your new city and making new friends. Which I guess I’ve done to an extent but looking back at the past 3 months I’ve kind of just been wondering where the time has gone and what I’ve done with it. Especially because I have all my relatives here and yet even being in the same country let alone same city as some of them kind of still feels like it doesn’t matter because I haven’t seen much of them. Is it because I’ve never spent much time with them so it’s just awkward? I don't know.
...continue reading "Some closing thoughts"
I've been in London for about three months now and I have been to the Tate Modern about 25 times. I don't know how. I somehow always end up going. If not going inside to look at some of the pieces, I go just to sit at the outside patio area. Staring at the massive museum. The Tate Modern looks odd from the outside. It's big and dark brown. A huge pillar rises into the sky that's noticeable from the other side of the Thames. I didn't like it at first. But if I've learned one thing here studying abroad, it's to think more critically about the ways in which we utilize the past to tell stories about the present and the future.
The building that is now the Tate Modern used to be the Bankside Power Station. It opened in 1891 and, if we know anything about the history of London, the city was pretty dirty then. I can imagine this building then. It's brown-ness probably bled right into the pollution that undoubtedly surrounded it. Smoke would billow from the power station's chimney to the point where citizens would complain about it.
And, throughout the building history as the Bankside Power Station, the grit and grime it caused was a source of controversy. After some evolutions and attempts to clean up the station and the area around it, the building was officially shut down right before the 80s. In '94, it was announced that the building would be recycled to be the new home for Tate Modern, and the rest is history.
...continue reading "Tate Modern"
Half is here, half is gone
I don't even eat McDondals right now but I could really go for ten chicken nuggets and a large fry. Chick-fil-a too.. Ah some Chick-fil-a sauce. My mom's cooking -- some Ajiaco, a Colombian soup, some of my feta, spinach omelets, just anything. My food cravings are so big right now, I want everything bad that I avoid when I am in the US.
I think about returning every day. Today my phone gave me the notification that in 8 days I'll be able to do early check in. Wow. I'm excited though because my journey doesn't end yet. I'm glad I have this in between week in Europe because it'll be used to reflect. I don't think I could make the switch immediately from here to home.
But at home, I can already picture my bed. I can see my cat standing by door, curious on who has just arrived, I can see my parents, my mom and brother on the couch, my dad in the dining table working on something, I see traffic, high ways, Christmas decorations, it's so so crazy.
But at the same time, I know Cameroon will be in my mind for a while. The life I have lived the last three months has been a rollercoaster and I would not change it for anything. I cannot talk enough about it. It sucks that now I am finally getting used to Cameroon and it is when I'm leaving. But I swear I'll be back soon. The people I've met, the education I have received, the streets I have walked, I can't thank life enough for this opportunity and to all the Cameroonians who opened their arms to me. Their hospitality and kindness transcends language barriers.
...continue reading "Half of my heart"
Weeraba means goodbye in Luganda, and even though I have said it a thousand times here in Uganda, today it is especially hard. I am wrapping up my last week of my semester and getting ready to catch a flight back to the US. I can’t believe that it’s December, and that I have to leave Uganda so soon. It has been a truly incredible semester. I love the scenery, people, culture, food, academics, and nature of Uganda. I am excited to see my family, but I am definitely not ready to leave this country.
This last week has been amazing. Academics ended last week for us, so we spent this whole week together as a program in Murchison Falls National Park. On the first day we went on a boat safari on the Nile to the base of the falls. We saw elephants and giraffes grazing on the banks, while crocodiles and hippos swam in the shallows. The hippos were some of my favorite animals that we saw on the trip. The falls were beautiful from the bottom and on our way back we saw one of the most beautiful sunsets over the Nile that I have ever experienced.
We went on a total of three game drives that were all incredible. We saw over 50 giraffes every time we went out. They are such cool animals and I love to watch them lumber over the savannah. We also saw a bunch of elephants, various herd animals, monkeys, beautiful birds, and a leopard. The leopard was my favorite animal we saw because we were able to watch it run for a long time across a plain. It moved so fast and with such graze that is was mesmerizing.
...continue reading "Weeraba!"
So it's almost December, and I am here wondering where did the time go?
I have honestly lived out each day of study abroad as if it were my first day in a new country, yet one semester does not feel enough. It is already my final week of classes, finals start in two weeks, and then after that I am headed back to the States. So where did the last few weeks go?
Well, November was a month of more Irish travel for me. I visited Kilkenny, Cork, Giant's Causeway (again), Dun Laurigoh, Bray, and a bunch of other little neighboring cities. I was excited to visit KIlkenny and Cork because I got to go inside castles that have been standing for thousands of years now. I got to kiss the famous blarney stone and am hoping to receive that some eloquence rubs off. In Kilkenny, I strolled through Medieval Mile in which there is an abundance of history and landmarks along the mile.
In Dun Laurigoh, I gathered the courage to go into the notorious Forty Foot. The Forty Foot is a Dubliner's right of passage and is a small bathing area into the cold, cold shores of the Atlantic. So at 6am, me and a couple of friends, got ourselves out of bed and headed towards the coast to jump into freezing cold water. Within seconds the water felt fine, but that was only because my body went numb. There were even seals that swam up to us and came over to play! If you're ever in Dublin (yes, at any time of the year), make sure to do this right of passage!
...continue reading "Almost December"
I only have 22 days left in this gorgeous country and I find myself very much not wanting to leave! I attribute this feeling to the many incredible people I have met in the last two weeks.
Currently I am in a full-time research period, and a hallmark of the abroad curriculum of the School for International Training, known as the Independent Study Period (ISP). Because SIT places such a strong emphasis on fieldwork, each student is tasked with engaging in their community on a topic of interest independently for one month. The end result of this month of research is a 25 to 40 page research paper detailing findings and a 45 minute presentation on the process and findings of the independent study.
...continue reading "Challenges and Rewards: Researching Abroad"