NSLI-Y Korea: My Spring Semester Schedule

Every weekday morning, I wake up at 7:06, get dressed, wash up, eat breakfast, and leave for the bus by 7:40. Since I live in Incheon, and recently a push by the local Incheon government to push back when school starts to nine has caused our school to start later. We have to be at our school by 8:40, but it is *strongly recommended* to get there by 8:00-8:10, to self study for an hour before school actually starts (9 am). The bus ride and walk takes about 25 minutes, so I’m usually there around 8:05.

On days that I have to leave early to go to Korean class in Hongdae (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday), I only sit through three classes. I’m currently in the second grade again; my classmates from last year are now third years. We have the usual high school classes: Math, Chemistry, English (the language), Korean (equivalent to the English we take in America-literature, symbolism, and all that jazz), History (East Asian), Ethics (extremely popular male teacher), Art, Music…

There are 7 periods everyday, each is 50 minutes with a ten minute break in between. Our new facilities (our school moved during winter break) are so nice, that the 10 minutes are a good chance to explore the halls, get some bread from the bakery, check out a book from the library, visit old classmates, or just nap. Between 4th and 5th period is lunch, and on popular food days, there is literally a stampede to get to the front of the line, or before the third years show up since they get to cut in front of everybody. Second years are allowed in front of first years, so it’s very much that hierarchal system embedded in Korean culture. Since there’s an hour for lunch, after we eat, we can usually walk around outside (there’s a very tiny walking path), play some sort of game (baseball, kickball, etc-depends on who gets there first) at the field, ride bikes, go back inside to finish homework, and it’s not necessary allowed, but some students go outside the school gates to the convenience store across the street.

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On Wednesdays, 7th period doesn’t have a class assigned, so most of the time it ends up being self-study. On Friday, 5-7 periods also don’t have a set class, so occasionally it’s club day, Mass, or something special the school has prepared for us (concerts, performances, presentations, etc).

Since I live in Songdo now (where our school moved), it takes about 2 hours to get to our Korean class by subway, so we take an express bus that goes from the Yonsei Songdo campus to the Yonsei Sincheon campus. And did I mention that Yonsei is right next to our school? The dorms are so close that one of my classmates filmed two students…yeah. But it puts a little more pressure on my classmates, since they can see their dream school outside of the window while they study.

On the Korean class side of things, there’s not as much to say. Our classes are held in our program’s office in Hongdae. They start at two and end at five twenty (but really five thirty). We have a ten minute break first, and then a longer twenty minute break around four, which we usually use to run to the convenience store down the street for some Jeonju Bibim(samgakkimbap) or some ice cream. There’s usually a 2+1 sale going on for chocolate, so Johnny usually buys that and gives us the free one. 🙂

After class, we 인사 to our program teachers, and occasionally do something together before going home. I hung out more after class the first semester, but since my bus comes only once every half hour, and the traffic is so bad at that time, it takes two-some hours to get home. Our curfew on weekdays is 9, so I usually just go home after class, arrive at 8, eat dinner, and hang out with my host family.

(But Songdo is awesome, so I can put up with the commute. <3)

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