Tag Archives: Scholarship

A summer in Jordan as a Gilman scholar

I can’t believe it, but I am going to Jordan this summer! This would not be possible if it wasn’t for me being selected as a Gilman Scholar! I received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship, a scholarship which granted funding to do my chosen study abroad. I am beyond thrilled for this opportunity, both as a scholar and as an eager traveler.

I will be spending a month and a half in Amman, Jordan with International Studies Abroad. I will have an apartment in the heart of Amman, and take classes at al-ahliyya amman university. I will also have the opportunity to do volunteer work with refugee communities, something I am very passionate about. Not to mention I’ll be able to finally experience the Middle East and get back to traveling! I am so excited to share my journey with you guys on my blog! I will be leaving in June, so stay posted!

                       (images taken from google)          


Bye Bye Korea :(

The last two days of the program have come to a rapid end, sadly. What I regret most, which seemed to be mostly out of my control, was the lack of connection I formed with the other scholars. I didn’t connect with anyone here, so I felt like I missed out on a small bit of the experience. Though I tried, I just felt like the odd ball wherever we went, no matter what. I was always paranoid no one wanted me around, so a few times I kinda locked myself away in my own bubble But, least it won’t hurt to say goodbye for the most part. Goodbyes to those you grew close to always suck, glad I won’t have to feel that this time. Regardless, I was still able to get along fairly well with everyone, and experience Korea to the best of my ability!

My host family stay was fantastic, she took us to an underground shopping mall in Gangnam, and alll around Seoul! In the morning, lunch, and night, we had home-cooked meals that we helped prepare! Even made sushi! She was so incredibly kind, and I’ll be posting her information on my blog soon for anyone interested in doing a KoreaStay with her! (by her request! Her house is welcome to all those interested in KoreaStay)

The last day was nice as well. I managed to find a small group to travel around with, where we went to a ton of different shopping places. Places that would be named “sketchy” in the U.S, but here it’s just pure culture. Crowded, cramped, random, yet amazing and special! We eventually sat down and ate these Korean Pancake things (forgot the name!) for a while, drinking Korean wine, munching on onions and kimchi and the pancakes – this place we ate at was a specialty place, meaning it only served what I mentioned above. We later traveled to a different area and had another pancake, but this one was sweet, like a desert! I loved walking by all the random food stands of people cooking various foods – even strange things I have never seen before. Including silk warms! I ate one – tasted meh. At the end of the night we did Karaoke for about two hours. Karaoke joints in Korea and way too cool to describe. Seriously, just go.

What amazes me most is the amount of Korean I managed to pick up. from “take me here” or “where’s the bathroom?” or “I need some cough candy” I feel very proud with what I learned, and I’d love to formally study Korean one day!

To wrap this up, it’s time for me to start packing up! 8am sharp we leave for the airport. 😦 great, another 13 hour flight! I hope I manage to get a better seat! ugh. I hope coming back will be nice. I decided to skip Wednesday to relax, heal up, and work on make-up assignments  I’ll return to classes on Thursday; this will be hell.

[read my entire adventure through South Korea at https://elusiveambitions.wordpress.com/category/south-korea/ ]

I’m okay, in this foreign place – I could even call it a second home.(or close to)

Bowing has almost become second nature. And I think I have said “Kamsamnida” and “Nae” (thank you and yes) about 500 times since I have been here.  I actually fear when I return to the states, despite this trip being so terribly breif, I might bow to everyone. I don’t think I had culture shock here, but I might back home, as strange as that sounds. At times I worry I act a little ignorant. Saying “thank you” when I don’t need to, or bow at strange times. Koreans usually laugh at me, and though they speak little to no English (many of them) a smile is worth a thousand words in a universal language. I’d rather tham laugh at me, think I’m a silly American, rather than a rude American. So I take my chances with saying thank you too much. Because, there’s no sin in being silly 🙂

(^we dressed up in traditional Korean clothing, while bowing and saying “Kamsamnida!”)

I got lost the other day. I was with 4 other girls, looking at Korean manga in a book store, when all of a sudden they left – and so did the busses! I had no idea where to go, left behind in a foreign country. Na. Strange enough, I was so calm. That surprised me, how calm I seemed, despite being lost in a foreign country with a language barrier. Thing is, however, despite a language barrier, I could still get around. Korean’s are smart, or just good a Charades; as in, body language, a smile, and a little common sense is key in getting around in a country with a language barrier. I pulled out my handy dandy international phone, which refused to work, but eventually did, and two of the Korean mentors came rushing to me. I felt so bad that I worried them, but they were laughing and smiling telling me it was fine, and they were glad I was alright. Joke were made on the bus that I was kidnapped – ha ha, very funny CIEE Scholars.

In addition to all this excitement, I went to a puppy cafe!! You order drinks and pet puppies! I want to do a cat cafe one day as well!! ❤

I’m jealous of my roommate – she studied Korean and gets to put her skills to the test. I can’t wait to do the same in Morocco this summer! With this trip bore confidence, and awareness. I think I will succeed with my future travel endeavors – at least I hope, knock on wood!

Two ways of life: bowing and bright lights.

Buddhism in South Korea is beautiful, for lack of a better word. And it’s no joke the discipline it takes to be one of this way of life. With today’s adventure to a Buddhist temple, I was able to pick up on a whole new level of Korea and the beautify it has to offer with it’s diversity of religion, in this case Buddhism. I bowed and did postures 108 times to repentance, ate a traditional organic Buddhist meal, met a Monk, and meditated – although I wasn’t very good at any of it (they made us clean our own dishes at the end of the meal! ahh. I’m horrible at cleaning) i still enjoyed it a lot, and found out people like me go away for days or weeks at a time to temples to connect with their inner selves and nature; given the chance, I would happily do such.

In the evening I took a nap from 7pm to 10pm, and then left with my rommate and two other scholars to explore South Korea. We got in a cab, used what little Korean we knew to get around, and ended up in a shopping district. We poked our heads inside shops, street food stands, bars and night clubs. The night club ended up having a promotion, where we were allowed to enter under two conditions: of age(19), and you must stay for 30 minutes! They had just opened, and the place was amazing, nothing like U.S night clubs. Lights, Music and Korean dance style! The girls danced and made faces and expressions and gestures of cute animals – they were so darn adorable!

So far I am having a great time. I’m beyond tired, and it all feels surreal. I If you have any questions about the CIEE South Korea Scholarship do not be afraid to ask! 🙂 I encourage any high school student or university student (in the U.S) to apply! The high school application should be out very soon, so you have ample time!!! The university one will be out in December.

CIEE South Korea Scholarship Blog

A week ago, I found out I was selected to receive a full scholarship to study 10 days in South Korea through CIEE. I applied during high school and failed, and finally this year I was selected. I’ll be missing a week of classes, but hell it’s worth it. I am going to blog this both on my tumblr and here on WordPress. This journey will be my first trip abroad (aside from when I was 3 and living in Japan) and I hope to gain a lot from it!

I am excited beyond words!! :DD Korea, new sites, new knowledge, food…awesome..awesome food!