Introductions!

안녕하세요 여러분! 제 이름이 조단입니다. 반갑습니다!

Hello everyone!  My name is Jordan. Nice to meet you!

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Me at Gyeongbokgoong Palace

I am 23 years old, and a linguistics and TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) student at Portland State University.  I am from Springfield, Oregon and have lived in Oregon my entire life.  I have a super cute dog named Rikkie.  I love listening to music, reading, and exploring new places.  I also really enjoyed learning new languages!  In high school, I learned German (which unfortunately I have forgotten), and in my first term of college, I learned a bit of American Sign Language.

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My dog Rikkie!

I watched my first Korean drama at age 16, and needless to say, I was hooked!  The ridiculous story lines, pretty people, and beautiful language all kept me coming back for more.  Then, a few years ago, I also got into Korean pop music, thanks to my cousin and her friends.  I really enjoy Korean reality shows as well, my favorite being a show called Running Man.  I started learning Korean two years ago, and now I’m here learning more!

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Lee Kwangsoo and Kang Gary from Running Man (Credit: Soompi.com)

Right now I am studying in Seoul, South Korea at 한양대학교 (Han-yang-dae-hak-gyo, or Hanyang University).  My school is located in a hill and near a river, and close to three subway stations, so it’s very convenient!  I live with a roommate (actually, a classmate from my Korean class at PSU!) in a dorm on campus.  Next to my building there is another female dorm and two male dorms.  I live in the International dorm, so my hall mates are from all over the world!  It’s really great to get such a mix of cultures in one place.  There is no food allowed in the dorms except small snacks, so I have to eat out a lot.  Fortunately, the campus cafeterias aren’t so bad!  Meals there are usually about $3 and pretty healthy as well.  I also am close to a major subway station, so there are a ton of delicious restaurants in front of it open pretty much all the time.  This term, I am taking an intensive Korean Language and Culture class, four hours a day and five days a week.  I also joined a school club called Hanyang English Conversation Club, or HECC.  We meet once a week to practice (shocking, I know) English pronunciation and conversation.  After the meetings we usually have dinner together, where it’s my turn to learn and practice my conversation and pronunciation skills!

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The view from my dorm room

Seoul has a population of about 10 million people, and is nestled between mountains.  The Han river flows through the middle of the city, and is a very popular gathering site for pretty much everyone!

Seoul is an amazing city where it seems like there’s always something to do.  The bright lights and busy streets can make the night seem like day, and old buildings are tucked between modern high rises and neon signs.  It’s amazing to stand inside a royal palace and look out to see a large, bustling city in one direction, and traditional buildings in the other.  Living in Oregon, I’ve really never seen anything like it!  I also love being able to practice speaking Korean every day, something I could not do at home.

I have been in Korea for a month now and still have barely scratched the surface of all there is to do here! So far I have visited a royal palace, two museums, multiple places along the Han river, and many hidden gems inside the city.  I have also spent a lot of time catching up with my cousin, who has lived here for seven months working as an English teacher, and making friends from all over the world.  I even went on a trip with my club members about an hour and a half outside the city for membership training, where we played a lot of games and all got to know each other a little better.

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Gyeongbokgoong Palace main gate

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View from the banks of the Han River

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My club at the membership training trip

I am looking forward to talking with you guys over the next 10 weeks!  Next week on the 9th is Hangul day, a national holiday in Korea where they celebrate the invention of the writing system/alphabet used today, so I’ll be teaching you guys how to read and write in Korean!  It looks intimidating, but it really only takes about 15 minutes to learn the basics.

What about you guys?  What kind of music and shows do you like?  Are there any languages you are learning/want to learn?  Which countries would you like to visit?

Have a great week!