Mia

From: Netherlands

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    Account Type

    Individual account

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    Travelling to

    South Korea

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    Travel dates

    01/07/2019 - 21/08/2019

  • Badges

    Explorer

  • Description

    Hello! 안녕하세요! My name is Mia and after living for four months in South Korea, I am darn proud that I can say ‘hello’ in Korean! I am 20 years old (going on 21) and have recently returned from my exchange at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. At this point, you may be thinking, ‘she only learned “hello” after living there for that long?’ and okay, I admit that I can speak a bit more than just ‘hello.’ But my point is that even saying something as small as ‘hello’ is -to me- as rewarding as saying an entire sentence. That is, one word spoken hesitantly can sometimes be a bigger step than a whole sentence uttered fluently. But first, allow me to introduce myself further!

    I was raised in a small town near Boston. I am an observant, but talkative, person who enjoys long nights talking about anything from the latest movie to the question of extraterrestrial life. Eating (and enjoying food) can easily be considered one of my favorite hobbies but I also like reading, watching videos, playing sports and video games, listening to K-pop, dancing, and traveling. I really enjoy helping people too! My family also loves to travel and together we’ve visited a variety of countries including China, Japan, and Iceland. At the moment, I am studying in the Netherlands. Because of my travels, I am very used to changing cultures, countries, and people. Different languages have always been a lasting point of interest for me. My time in South Korea only further cemented my interest in this topic!

    I remember buying food at Paris Baguette and struggling to interact with the cashier. All I could say was ‘hello,’ ‘yes!’ and ‘no!’ but the cashier seemed to appreciate my effort. He continued to talk to me in Korean even though I struggled to understand and he smiled whilst I responded in my choppy, 3-word vocabulary. I may or may not have been completely sweating through my shirt in embarrassment, but amongst my flushing was a budding feeling of joy. I’m doing it! I thought, I’m actually talking to people! What my encounter in Paris Baguette (and Korea as a whole) has taught me was the power that speaking the native language of a country has when it comes to connecting with and understanding people and their culture.

    Language is a two-way street and both (if not more) participants learn and connect to each other. There is a sense of appreciation that is built. Even if all I could say was ‘hello,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘no’ during my sweaty Paris Baguette episode, I appreciated the cashier trying to understand me while he likewise appreciated me trying. As someone who grew up only knowing one language, I don’t take the learning and practicing of a new language for granted. I not only admire people trying to learn, but am also inspired by them to try harder myself. Language is an extension of knowledge, yet it is also an emotional connection to the people around you. With the learning of a new language comes the creation of powerful and meaningful connections. I want to help others build their own emotional connections through language as well as continuing to build my own.

    My desire to continue learning Korean comes from the wonderful experiences that I had while I was there. I would like to become closer not only to the language​ but to the people, and experience Korean culture to the fullest! With that being said, I did manage to learn how to say this before I left: 안녕히 계세요!

  • Type of help

    Other
    Help in the house
    Helping with Tourists
    Language practice

  • What skills do you have?

    At the moment, I am in the last year of my Bachelor’s degree, “Arts & Culture.” I plan to write my thesis on Jesuit travel books with a focus on Korea (or Choson). By the time I finish my Bachelor’s, I would have learned how to make/contribute to Wikipedia pages, conduct ethnographic research (and research in general), write trough and convincing papers, create presentations, and problem solve through discourse.

    While studying abroad at Yonsei University, I took classes on Korean modern and pre-modern history, Korean philosophy, Korean traditional music, anthropology, and a human development class. I also took Korean 1 so I am able to speak a very basic level of Korean.

    Previously, I have worked as a waitress in a restaurant and as a treasurer for my fencing club. I was also a volunteer (classroom assistant) at an art school, a farm for therapeutic horseback riding for disabled children, and at a marathon registration. During high school, I was co-president of the Anime/Manga Club and one of the captains for varsity track and field.

    I am a very hard worker and am a very willing learner! I also will stay on a job until it’s completely finished. I enjoy helping people as well as making small talk with people around me! Additionally, I try to make the things I teach (like presentations) fun since they can get quite tedious. As a result, I try my best to connect what I am presenting to something relatable, fun, and easy to understand!

    I can also cook to a certain extent (I’m not great, but not terrible either!) and babysit. I like to keep things quite clean and organized too.

    Nevertheless! I’m willing to try anything once and am dedicated to learning new things –like teaching! Of course, making new friends is also a skill I’m eager to practice (luckily that’s not such a new skill)! ☺️

  • Languages spoken

    English

  • Age

    21

  • Nationality

    American/Dutch

  • Some more information

    • Smoker

    • Driver's licence

    • Allergies
      I am not allergic to anything, but my eyes are sensitive to smoke and air pollution (I get eyedrops for it though ☺️ )

    • Special dietary requirements

Photos

exploring a beer festival in sinchon
Korean BBQ with friends
announcing winners of our club's fencing tournament as a member of the board
having dinner with our Korean buddy
taking a picture with our "greetings" for a cafe owner in Busan
visiting Busan Gamcheon Culture Village
Yonsei University!

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