안녕하세요: As School Starts


I was definitely full of nerves on the first day of school. I didn't know what to expect nor what is expected of me, and the entire idea was quite scary to be honest. We started off with an orientation in the auditorium of SKKU, where they showed videos which I don't know how it is related, pictures of the teachers taking each level, and also class photos of the students from the previous semester. After which, everyone will be called out one by one to be separated into different classes.

There will usually be three types of students, first being those who are new to the school and have declared that they know naughts about the language so they will be allocated to Level 1 automatically; second are those who are also first-timers but have learnt Korean before so a placement test is required to see which level is most suitable for them; and lastly those who have attended the school before so they are informed which class they are allocated in depending on their results in the previous semester. I was the second type and I was placed in Level 2.

The language course at SKKU belongs to the "intensive" category where a normal 10-week programme is shortened to 8-weeks, so instead of studying from 9 am to 1 pm each day, we have an additional afternoon class so school only ends at 3 pm instead. I thought the syllabus in SKKU was quite holistic since we have the usual grammar and conversational lessons every morning, and afternoon classes that varies each day covers listening, writing, reading, vocabulary and practical usage. Another plus point will be that instead of 1.5 years, you will be able to complete the entire 6-course programme in a single year provided that you pass everything. Universities like Yonsei, offers both the normal 10-week course in the Sinchon campus, and the 8-week course in their Incheon campus.

If you are considering to study in Korea or interested in finding out more about how it is like to live and take up a language course here, you can leave a message or email me directly at yveyanxi@gmail.com. I'd be more than happy to help and share my two cents worth :) And now, it's back to food.

Met up with Sheryl at Sinchon immediately after my first day of school. We had naengmyeon and besides the fact that the noodles were extremely long and difficult to eat, it was really refreshing and tasty despite it being a cold day outside. The meat was superb too! This picture does make me want to have naengmyeon again, but considering the fact that it is now officially winter and I am already cold enough, I shall give it a miss and go for something else.

After our lunch, we headed over to Insadong to get my pre-paid mobile plan and data done, so I have a Korean phone number now! ₩16,000 for 1GB of data is really reasonable so I am super thankful that Sheryl brought me here. I also got my ₩10,000 school bag in Insadong after seeing the textbooks and workbooks I need to bring to school everyday, before we eventually stopped at this cafe to seek shelter from the rain and also as part of our plans to cafe-hop and do our homework.

The next day after school, I met up with Sheryl at Chungmuro station after she is done with her shopping at Myeongdong, then we went to her place before going to Yeonsinnae for dinner together with Bryan. We first had samgyeopsal at an outdoor barbecue place, then restaurant-hopped to have odeng and hot soup to beat the cold weather. Even though we told ourselves that we would just come back a second time to have the grilled mackerel when we went past the open kitchen, we eventually gave in to the tempting aroma and ordered one for ourselves. No regrets at all.

Sheryl's cousin and younger sister came to visit soon after, and we had jokbal in City Hall for dinner on one of the days they were here. Before this visit, I have had jokbal both in Korea and in Singapore before, and it surely wasn't one of my favourite Korean dishes butt this particular restaurant had without a doubt, turned the tables around. I don't usually like the term "melts in your mouth" because of how cliche and untrue it normally is, but there is no better description for this jokbal here as the meat was truly soft, tender, and literally "melts in your mouth". It was out-of-the-world good, and they have pictures of the famous Song Triplets having the jokbal in their restaurant too!

Had cakes at Twosome Place for desserts after our meaty meal. I did not expect the cakes here to be so nice, but they definitely blew me away, especially the triple chocolate mousse (on the right) that Sheryl's sister had chosen. We also went to Itaewon a few days later on Halloween for dinner, but my phone was in the chair so I didn't managed to take pictures =x By the way, the Halloween crowd was both literally and figuratively crazy. It was awesome how everyone was so enthusiastic about it that even KFC took part in the fun and arranged for a Colonel Sanders lolol.

Last but not least, my meet-up with ex-colleague Jason over dinner at Hongdae..

Jason, his friend and myself were walking along the streets of Hongdae to find a nice restaurant to have our dinner when Jason suddenly stopped and decided on this one. I looked up at the signage, and realised it was the exactly same restaurant that Bryan, Sheryl, her cousin, sister and I had dinner on the first day of their visit. It felt like deja vu, especially when we had churros at Churro 101 after our meal on both occasions too.

In any case, Chakan Galbi was where the three of us tried yukhoe for the first time and all of us loved it! We also ordered lots and lots of meat from the usual samgyeopsal to pork collar, spicy beef and many others. The best thing of all, the bill was less than ₩90,000, which was way less than what we expected since we surely had more than 9 portions of meat excluding the yukhoe. On the downside, we saw a really big insect on the vegetable, thankfully before anyone of us gobbled it down. Jason tried to explain that it meant that the lettuce was super fresh, but sorry I am kind of traumatised and it would be some time before I will eat my wrap again lol. Thanks for the farewell treat though, Jason!

For more food to come,

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