마지막 날들 – Last Days ㅠ_ㅠ

여러분 안녕하세요! 

     For the students in the Summer Special Program at Yonsei University, tests have been taken, we’ve proudly received certificates of our achievement, and the end of my time in Korea has come to an end. When I originally drafted this blog post, I was still in the middle of testing days and my studies, but time has gone by so quickly that I will soon have to say goodbye to Korea. During the fourth and fifth- the final- week here, I still managed to do as much as I could with my remaining time. I did not wish to leave any stone unturned- even despite the hot, humid, and rainy weather Korea has been experiencing. An average of 87OF with a 95% humidity. That is the one thing I will not miss about Korea. 

     So for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been putting my T-Money card to use and my navigation skills to the test. I’ve returned to well-loved and ventured areas like Hongdae and Sinchon while also setting off for new places beyond Yonsei University’s nearby neighborhoods- Itaewon (이태원), Yeouido/Han River  (여의도/한강), Dongdaemun (동대문), Cheongdamdong (청담동), Incheon (인천), and Apgujeong (압구정). 

     Explaining with words would be a little too much and very long, so I will share the most memorable moments of the last couple of weeks here in Korea in a picture diary-form:

Gyongbokgung – 경복궁: The Emperor’s palace – I met up with a friend from high school and we rented Hanbok (한복), Korean traditional dress, and walked around the grounds of emperors’ of Korea’s imperial times.



Incheon Munhak – 인천 문학: Korean baseball game – With my friend from high school and her family, we watched the Incheon Wyverns in their home stadium. Korean baseball is much louder and energetic than your average American MLB game, so it was an amazing experience and so much fun. Instead of having to sit in the heat and humidity we had a delicious casual dinner in a box which gave us a great view and (Lord, thank you) AC.


Hello Mr. K! – This was a fun performance put on especially for the students of Yonsei’s several summer school programs. It featured student-made dance groups, traditional singers and dance groups, and also Kpop idols- that included girl group CLC! It was an exciting performance and very entertaining!


Dongdaemun 동대문 – That weekend, I took a longer trip to Dongdaemun. It’s a shopping center that is always recommended to tourists for its foreigner-friendly prices and deals as well as its insane and innumerable street food carts. I didn’t eat any of the food, but there were as many carts as there were people. A. Lot. 진짜, 유명한 곳이에요. (Look that up on Google Translate if you’re curious 😉 There were so many shops and one was a brand I often shop online- Stylenanda- and it was an absolute dream come true to finally see it in person opposed to Instagram. Also while I was in Dongdaemun, I discovered that in the basement of a church in Namdong 남동- a neighboring area- a church market as well as a book store. I found the most beautiful edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- something that I had been determined to purchase and have been looking for since coming to Korea.


Return to Hongdae and Sinchon – 홍대와 신촌에 돌아갔다: After a very long weekend and the most traveling and navigating I had done up until then, I was very tired. So while I still wanted to stay active, I stuck with going to Hongdae and Sinchon because they close and I know the areas quite well from frequenting them. This was also when final exams were approaching so I used the couple of days that I wasn’t dedicating to studying to some little adventures. In Sinchon, I- naturally- had to return to the pie shop and get not ONE but TWO slices of pie. I had to, you know? And in Hongdae and I meandered about the main streets and the many different alleyways which took me to even more shops and restaurants.


Itaewon – 이태원: Usually Itaewon is known for its nightlife, so clubs, pubs, bars, late-night eating. However, my friend and I were planning to go to Seoul Tower so we decided to meet in Itaewon, get a bite to eat, and then head over to the cable car. However, the weather was not the best- grey, foggy, and drizzling- and our taxi driver persuaded us to believe that we wouldn’t see much. This change of plans did not hinder our determination to enjoy the evening in each other’s company. So we walked around Itaewon, got a nice post-dinner drink, and then we headed off to Yeouido, a popular place to drink, enjoy the night skyline on the Han river and occasionally experience busking. The Han River was pretty quiet and vacant that night, it gave my friend and me an amazing view of across the Han River. There was also a birthday going on behind us, so the usual rowdiness of nights on the Han River wasn’t completely missing.


Cheongdamdong and Apgujeong – 청담동과 압구정: After figuring how to get to Dongdaemun and successfully arriving and returning, I wanted to again take an even longer trip to Gangnam to Cheongdamdong and Apgujeong, which is Korea’s equivalent of Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills- where many of Korea’s wealthiest live, shop, and play. And before Cheongdamdong and Apgujeong, I went to the Coex building in Gangnam right off of Samsung Station for lunch and an-unplanned-yet-very-much-enjoyed-visit to the SM Entertainment Museum store where I bought Red Velvet gummies and Exo instant mocha.


Incheon Again – 또 인천

To finish the weekend, my last weekend in Korea, I met up with my friend from high school once more. I really love that we got to spend so much time together because I did so many things I wouldn’t have done alone or perhaps with other people in the program. I planned for the two hour trip from Seodaemun to Incheon to meet her for a small bite and some light (window) shopping. We later met with her family and had a big, delicious dinner. I also visited a Korean apartment for the first time as well! Glad I can check that off of my list. It was just so wonderful to get to know my friend more because we weren’t the absolute closest in high school as well as to get to know her family. It was also so comforting that my friend and her sister and brother-in-law are fully proficient in English too. 🙂


Thank you for making it through to the end of this long post. Also, thank you for following me throughout my time here in Korea. Like I said in one of my previous posts, I hope that what I’ve shared inspires others to come to Korea or decide to pursue this amazing grant to fulfill their own desires of learning a language and/or culture and traveling. Coming to Korea has been a dream come true- it really has been my dream since first beginning to teach my self Hangeul and practicing my speaking from listening to Korean dramas. I’ve become more comfortable speaking and hearing the language, I’ve become more acquainted with not only the historical but also contemporary culture, and I’ve also learned so many things about myself from living abroad and on my own.

I have Notre Dame and to the Liu Family Institute for not only their support but also constant encouragement of my educational and cultural pursuits. While perhaps biased, I really cannot think of another institution, college or university as generous and that believes so much in its students. I’ always so grateful for Notre Dame, and especially during my studies and travels in Korea.

Notre Dame, Our Mother, love thee, Notre Dame. And, as always, Go Irish.


Posey McKeon

장미 학생, 연세대학교 언어 학당 2급 1반

[저와 우리 김 선생님]

한국어를 배운는 게 – Learning Korean

     I will soon be going onto my fifth and final (ㅠㅠ) week here at Yonsei University. Wow. Where has the time gone? 

     Apart from just eating my way through Seoul, a lot of my time has also been dedicated to learning the Korean language and the culture, naturally, through the language. 

And BOY have I learned a lot. 

     Every day in class, I’m hearing, reading, and practicing new vocabulary (단어) and grammar (문법) that come up in my textbook or just from what my teachers or classmates say. Just like my English, my Korean lexicon has been expanding every new day. With each new verb, noun, adjective, I’m able to be more and more expressive through the Korean language as my daily lessons allow me to be more precise in my diction. 

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. Korean translated edition. Isn’t it gorgeous?

     From the many Korean dramas and movies I’ve watched, there are plenty of phrases and words that I know simply from hearing, yet I really appreciate how my Korean language classes really show me the way they’re written, spoken, and used in many situations. Since coming and studying at Yonsei, I’ve recently realized my hope to be able to proficiently read Korean, even if my speaking and listening comprehension lag behind. This is because of my love for books combined with my desire to become more intimate with the Korean language and people by way of reading. Throughout my explorations of Seoul, I’ve also come across bookstores and sellers and have come across some of my own well-beloved reads translated into Korean. 

Waiting for a subway to go to Garosugil (가로수길)

     Also, in and outside the classroom I’ve been having to use Korean in my daily life. Unlike back in America- where I have Korean class and use it there but not in my daily life- here, Korean is not only how I do well in class and communicate with teachers but also how I order food, ride the public transport, and comfortably live my Korean University lifestyle. I took a particularly memorable taxi drive where I had a simple, yet enjoyable conversation with the taxi driver; I explained my coming to Korea and my enthusiasm for learning Korean. I really do love how Koreans are so appreciative of foreigners attempting to speak and further learn their language. 


Fun Fact: I work at a pie shop in my hometown (Elsie Mae’s) so I loved coming across this pie shop cafe. No questions I will be returning for a slice of pie (or two).

 Coming upon the end of my first- and hopefully not last- time in Korea, I’ve just learned so much. Just like learning to get around the city of Chicago, getting around Korea, I feel, has pushed me to gain the savvy to live in a completely 

different place on my own- to find things to amuse myself, find friends to share in on the memories, and- most of all- find the motivation to live meaningfully as I pursue my interests.

한국에서 먹는게 – Eating in Korea


      Besides learning Korean- the language and its culture- what I was most excited about coming to Korea was the food. In the scope of the wide variety of meals and dishes that are considered part of Korean cuisine, I’ve only ever had a taste of Korean food from the one Korean restaurant in my town and the one time my Korean language professor cooked for my class and me- 감사합니다 강선생생님! From my point of view of Korean food, it entails a wide variety of preparing rice, meats, and vegetables. From an impressive array of different side dishes (반찬)- which includes the every-meal companion kimchi (김치)- to well-marinated mouth-watering meats ((고기), to the simple-yet-essential bowl of white rice (밥).

(left to right): sundubu jjigae (순두부 찌개) and dwaeji jjim galbi (돼지찜갈비

Depending on what you order, the taste of Korean food can also be either spicy (매운), salty (짠), refreshing (시원한), warming (따뜻한), bitter (쓴), or sweet (단). I especially enjoy when it is spicy and it’s great that Korean food usually does have a bit of a kick. Therefore dishes like sundubu jjigae (순두부 찌개) and dwaeji jjim galbi (돼지찜갈비) are absolutely delicious and also made a great lunch for my friend and I! 

authentic Korean barbeque !!!

A very exciting and delicious meal I’ve had here was going to a Korean barbeque restaurant. Even though there are KBBQ restaurants in Chicago, I had never had the chance to go. So it was something that I had to do while I was in Korea- to experience it 100% authentically. It was great fun to also go with a huge group of people because we just ordered a lot of food and drinks and shared a lot of laughs all around. The experience of cooking our own food was very interesting, too, and food took up all the table space.

Chocolate brownie and green tea ice cream bingsoo (빙수)

     The main entrees I’ve been eating here in Korea aren’t the only things that have made my mouth water, though. Desserts and sweets here in Korea are refreshing, sweet, and scrumptious as they are made very pretty. With some of the new friends I’ve made in the program, I tried for the first time a shaved ice dessert called bingsoo (빙수), which traditionally is shaved ice flakes with red bean to top and make a sweet and refreshing treat. However, as Korea has come to fully embraces international influence while holding onto such traditions and national customs, bingsoo has evolved into the fruity and/or chocolate-y creations that I’ve eaten. The green tea chocolate brownie bingsoo was especially delicious and perfect for the very hot weather of the Korean summertime.

jjajangmyeon (짜장면) and jjambbong (짬뽕)

Just as America has its own take on Chinese food, so does Korea! Dishes like jjajangmyeon (짜장면) and jjambbong (짬뽕) are popular Korean interpretation of Chinese cuisine.

     It’s not only the food itself but also the experience of eating and dining that has been very different from what it’s like in

bubble tea (or boba) from Tiger Sugar

America. I would say that Korean eating- at least eating out- is fast, it’s more self-interactive, but it’s nonetheless very enjoyable. There are just so many 

restaurants everywhere, and many are independent as there are chains, so every day one could go to a different restaurant, eat something different or at least different versions of classic or unique Korean dishes. And then there are cafes EVERYWHERE. Seriously, everywhere. A nice cafe (카페) and- stereotypically- an iced Americano (아이스드 아메리카노) is a perfect end to a satisfying meal.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

미국에서 와서 한국에 있어요! (Coming from America to South Korea)

Hello, my name is Posey McKeon, and I’m currently studying at Yonsei University (연세대학교) in Seoul, South Korea. It’s been about 2 weeks (almost halfway through!) and I’ve already learned so much and had lots of fun. The following post was written and intended to have been posted last week when I originally wrote it. Thank you for showing interest in my travels and studies, and I hope that from reading my blog, you come to experience and enjoy South Korea just as much as I am.

a blog post from:

June 29, 2019

도착하는 게 – Arrival

     When I got off of my fourteen-hour plane ride from Chicago, I landed at the Incheon airport in South Korea, figured out the correct shuttle bus, and hail a taxi to take me to Yonsei University (연세대학교), where I will be staying and studying for the next five weeks.

인천 공항에서 버스를 타는 게                         Taking the bus from the airport

(Also, if that transport from the airport to the school seemed to smooth for someone who has never stepped foot in South Korea and is not even half-way to full-fluency in Korean, it’s because- thankfully- the kind people who helped me along the way understood enough English and forgave me for my passable-but-not-amazing Korean. I’m still so grateful for the taxi driver (기사 아저씨) for taking me up all the way to my dorm because with two 30-40 lb bags, a girl like me would never have made it alone.)
The first and most important thing I’ve done here was meeting new people. The day after the check-in day was a placement test, which was to determine our level of Korean- that meant reading, writing, listening and speaking. After taking the placement test, I could’ve just waited outside the entrance of the building for the next shuttle bus to take me back to the dorms, but instead, I sat myself down by people who were in my program. From that stroke of courage, I received names and got my name out to others because I believe I would be truly successful in this program by engaging myself with my peers. Therefore, I’ve met some wonderful people already and hope to meet many more in the next five weeks here at Yonsei.
With my new friends, I walked, bussed, and rode taxis to explore the areas near Yonsei and other nearby universities. On just the second day here, after the placement test, I went with some new friends to Hongdae (홍대), a popular shopping and eating district named because of its locality to Hongik University (홍익대학교). When you just come out of the station, Hongdae looks like any other busy shopping street- like State St. in Chicago- hustling and bustling with people and cars coming and going from every direction. However, Hongdae becomes very different when you turn the corner and follow the alleyways; one comes upon a dominantly pedestrian metropolis with restaurants, cafes, street shops, and musical performers all around with a seemingly immeasurable amount of little nooks and pockets of more everywhere.

홍대를 걷는 게 – Walking around Hongdae

It was when I was getting to and walking around Hongdae that I truly felt how population- and densely populated- just the city of Seoul is. My first time to Hongdae was another test of my common Korean skills when I had to order some dinner. It went well enough that I got my food and had a delicious dinner that evening.
The next day was when we’d learn the level we were placed and begin our first day of class. I was put into level two! That was exactly where I had hoped to be, and while I was at first intimidated by the quick pace of the class and the exclusively-Korean directed classes, I realized that I could keep up with most of what both of the teachers said. The class is just challenging and quick enough where I am learning new vocabulary and more of the semantics of Korean.
I’m so glad how this experience has been going so far. The classes take up just the right amount of time to accomplish good learning while also still allowing for plenty of time to enjoy time with new friends, going to new places, and eating lots of delicious food. As I meet new people, it’s always so interesting to hear each individual story and each person’s personal experience of Korean- whether they grew up with Korean, learned it in school, or pursued it independently.


Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed and look forward to future posts!

안녕히 가세요!