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About Me

Hello. My name is Julia. I am a NSLI-Y Korea AY finalist and I will be headed to Korea on September 18th. I am excited to share with you my travels and all the tasty foods I will eat!

I like to make art, write, listen to music, and watch Netflix. All the angsty teenage hobbies wrapped into one! But I also like to hike and go camping and play board games so I guess I’m not just an angsty teenager. 😉

One Day Before I Leave for New York

It is now one day before departure to New York where my Pre-departure orientation (PDO) is being held by i-EARN NSLI-Y. After two days in New York comes the BIG DAY! On September 18th, our 15 person cohort along with our regional director leave for South Korea on a twelve hour flight… 😛 But I’ve downloaded episodes from Netflix to watch during that long flight so hopefully those will sort of tide me over?? Haha. Maybe I should bring a book…

Being dramatic thinking about Korea and meeting everyone

The nerves are truly kicking in. But I’m also sooo excited to do this. To embark on this adventure that I’ve dreamed about for about the last five years of my life. Now it’s truly happening. I can’t apprehend what it’s going to be like living in a different country for a whole nine months. But I do know that whatever comes my way, I’m going to be intentional in taking initiative and I want to simply focus on the people around me and take in all my surroundings.

I’ve finally (sort of) finished packing my luggage which turned out to be a three week process. Little by little, I picked up things at the store that I would need and threw pieces of clothing I knew I’d want to wear in Korea into my open suitcase in the middle of my room. I have a special way I pack clothing when I’m traveling. My method is to take the shirt or pair of pants and fold it into a long strip, then start rolling at the end of it like you’d roll up a sleeping bag. At the end it’s like a cinnamon roll but longer! It truly minimizes the space a piece of clothing takes up.

snapshot of my chaotic packing list…

To make room for all the cute and cool items I might pick up while in Korea, I made sure there was ample space left in both of my checked bags. In one of my checked bags, I packed away all my winter stuff and my fall coat along with a couple of other items. In my second checked bag, there’s a large variety of misc items and toiletries and my clothing for the other parts of the season. In my carry-on, I put all the clothing I’ll be wearing in New York and my first week in Korea before I meet my host family. That way, I won’t have to open my checked bags until I’m settled in my host home!

my luggage is a cute little suburban family heh

I hope it seems like I have it all together even if I don’t. 😉 But really, to NSLI-Yans and future participants, don’t feel like you have to be a put-together, perfect person before you leave for your host country because that’s what this whole program is for- learning a whole new language even if you’re at ground zero and helping you become a stronger person by traveling to a different country and going outside your comfort zone. It’s a scary thing but you don’t need to know exactly what you’re doing or who you are before this journey begins. I’m looking forward to how much I will grow and to see who I become as I work towards learning Korean and testing the boundaries that have limited me.

Good luck to everyone else with your travels and lives and stories~