Life in the KGSP language year

I am currently on my long awaited 10 day winter break and I reckon it is a good time for me to draft a post regarding to student life as a language year student since the application period for KGSP-G programme 2018 is on-going.

Before I came to Korea and start my life here as a scholar I tried searching for some information that could give me a glimpse of what is it to be like to be a KGSP scholar. But to my disappointment there weren’t any detailed information around so I basically came like a blank sheet of paper not knowing the possible challenges installed for me at all.

So for this post, I am going to be as honest and transparent as possible on my current life as a language student. No sugar coating, and no exaggerations either because what I am going to include in this post is VERY VERY REAL. I figured it would be important for potential applicants to know what they are getting themselves into because I have seen many of my friends who are having a really tough time. And it is because most, if not all of us had no clue on what to expect before coming here. I don’t want to be discouraging, but in my opinion it is important to think carefully before applying and committing to any scholarship because ultimately you are going to occupy a slot that someone else may want so badly. And it is never a good thing to throw the spot away if you reckon that you are not up for it.


General Overview

In my opinion, I would say KGSP is a really awesome scholarship because not only it offers full sponsorship of tuition fees, it also provides us with a monthly allowance that enables us to survive well here in Korea. Coming from a family that is not financially well off, this scholarship gave me a chance to receive quality education abroad without having to worry about living expenses. On top of that, everyone of us are also required to study language for a year (those with TOPIK 5 during application will be exempted) and it is very beneficiary for us because aside from our masters degree, we also get a chance to learn and practice a new language.

But in everything there is pros and cons, which I will elaborate more in detail below. In this post I will be covering different aspects from day to day life and academic life.


Day to day life

Difficulty level: ★★☆☆☆

We are all given 900,000won per month plus an additional 200,000won (one off) settling allowance. The settlement allowance would be given together with the September allowance so I still had to depend on the money I brought from my country to settle down and buy food and necessities.

But other than that, 900,000won allowance per month is enough for living expenses here in Gwangju because a decent meal like fried rice or the likes cost around 5,000won to 6,000won. We can also get cheaper options like kimbab or convenience store sandwiches that cost around 2,000won to 3,000won too. Sometimes we decide to give ourselves a treat at a buffet place and it would cost around 14,000won to 20,000won. Food delivery for fried chicken will cost around 10,000won per pax whereas chinese food like fried rice and jajjangmyeon etc will cost around 5,000won-8,000won (but there is a minimum amount that you need to order for them to deliver).

My language institution is also located in a fairly good location. We are about 30mins walk away from downtown area and we have 2 on-campus cafeteria for cheaper food options and also a rather decent back gate area where they have more convenience stores and restaurants. In case of medical emergencies, the hospital is 5 minutes drive away via taxi and we also have a clinic inside the International Building as well.

The more expensive necessities/spending normally goes to books. For each semester, the textbooks (Ewha syllabus) cost 26,000won per set if bought new from the bookstore. There are also cases where we had to purchase additional books for TOPIK revision too. For my case, I was fortunate enough to be able to buy my books from my KGSP senior for a good price and borrowed the rest that I need from another senior. Other than books, I noticed that the laundry services here are also pretty pricey (given the limited budget we have per month and the amount of outer coats we would wear during cold seasons). Dry cleaning one piece of down feather clothing can cost up to 10,000won per piece and normal long coats (no padding, no fur) cost me 7,000won. And of course, medical bill here is also much more expensive. A trip to the normal clinic at International Building will cost around 8,000won (including medicine) whereas hospital bills can go up many more times higher than that. For my case, I was admitted to the ER once for food poisoning and it cost me around 350,000won. The insurance provided by NIIED will only cover 80% of the fee so we would have to bear the rest of the medical expenses at our end.

Important point to note is, depending on the language institute you are in, the allowance may or may not come on time every month. And the worse part is, we are never notified on any delay or postponement by our university. I have heard stories from seniors and friends from other universities that they occasionally have these cases happening. For us, we are fortunate that most of our allowance come in on the promised date EXCEPT for this coming March because apparently March is the end of the fiscal year for Korea so the allowance may or may not be delayed. And if you are leaving the country during official vacations, your allowance may be further delayed as well, which happened to all of my friends who were leaving the country this vacation. So to prevent any financial surprises it would be wise to save up a decent amount every month to be used in times like this.

Aside from that, for general help like renewal of ARC, visa issues or KGSP related queries like insurance claims and allowance, we are very fortunate to have staffs that would help us patiently even though they are busy. So far I have been hospitalised once but my insurance claim process was very easy and hassle free.

These are based on my experience while living here in Gwangju. In Seoul everything would be more expensive but I have so far secured the extra 100,000won allowance because I have gotten TOPIK 5. We’ll see how it goes for Seoul in the future.


Academic life

Difficulty level (for me): ★★★☆☆

Fun and related facts about me: I have been watching K-dramas and listened to K-pop for almost 10 years to date. I got into K-pop when TVXQ was a big thing back then and my first drama was Full House by Rain and Song Hye Kyo. Since then I have been consistently been exposed to Korean language and further improved my Korean by watching more variety shows and attending a 6 months Korean language elective in my university. I also speak fluent Cantonese and Mandarin, in which I studied the latter formally from primary school to high school. Upon arrival, I am placed in Level 2 class.

Difficulty level (for my roommate): ★★★★★ (P/S that’s what she said. I am not making this up)

Fun and related facts about my roommate: She is from Mexico and she speaks fluent English, Spanish and she could comprehend some French (A2 level, which in layman terms equals to the middle of TOPIK 1 and 2, in which in more layman terms it means basic French LOL). She is super hardworking and studies ALOOOOOT more than me. In Mexico there isn’t much Korean influence and when she first came to Korea, she had 0 knowledge on Korean language so she basically was a white piece of paper and she learned everything from scratch here. Which explains the 5 star rating of difficulty because it is a whole new world to her. #salute Upon arrival, she was placed in Level 1 class.

So what is similar between us?

All KGSP students assigned to our language university have language classes every weekday from 9am to 1pm. We started officially in the beginning of September and by November our extra classes started. Depending on the lecturer, the day the extra classes would be held may be different. But all of us would have 2 days of extra 2 hours per week for extra classes. The time for extra classes would normally be 2pm-4pm, which gives us an hour break for lunch. All our classes are held at the International Building, which is next to the main library.

For every class, there would be 2 teachers assigned to us. One would teach grammar and listening whereas the other is in charged of writing and reading. Both lecturers would also cover speaking portions as well but generally speaking portions come a little later because we have to learn enough to be able to speak. Six months into the programme, the language school is switching out our current teachers so after our winter break we would welcome a new set of teachers~

For syllabus, we mainly use the Ewha Korean language textbook and workbook. For level 1 to 3, the levels are split to two sets of books (i.e. 1-1, 1-2, 2-1 and so on). For level 4 to 6, it is one set of books per level. However as the grammar got harder and more complicated, my lecturer also supplemented us with notes from other books like Korean Grammar in Use. My room mate has the book herself as well. For TOPIK preparation, we use HOT TOPIK for reading in class. On the side personally, I memorized some words from Link Korean TOPIK Voca 2500.

Despite being in different classes and levels, all our exams (midterms and finals) are held on the same time. On average we have an exam once every 5 weeks, excluding small quizzes and evaluation tests that we get from time to time. This also mean that we have to cover 1 whole book in 5 weeks (sometimes even more depending on the scope of exam) and it is NOT as easy as it seems. There is a lot of additional vocabulary that is taught in class aside from the ones that appear in the textbook or additional notes. There are also a separate set of TOPIK test related vocab that we all need to learn and memorize too.

Also, we are NOT notified on the exact exams dates until 2 weeks before the exam, and sometimes the exam dates are changed without prior heads up as well. Based on personal experience, my parents came to visit me last November and we matched the dates of my finals so they could come right after the finals and we can spend time together because we do not have classes for the week after finals is over. Turns out, two weeks before the exam we were notified that the exam dates has changed. It was pushed backwards a day later, which means I didn’t get to spend as much time as I intended with my parents because one whole day is burned for taking/preparing for exams.

What is different?

My roommate and I, and also most of the KGSP scholars here are multilingual. However, the difference lies between the amount of prior exposure to Korean and also the existing language that we knew before coming. The reason why I placed a 3 out of 5 star difficulty, and my roommate gave a 5 out of 5 is because it is easier for me to related Korean words to Mandarin and Cantonese. Vocabulary wise, it is easier for me to guess words when I am reading or listening and to learn new words (mostly in more advanced levels) because 70% of Korean language is derived from Mandarin. For my roommate, she finds it harder to related the words and grammar because the vocab and sentence structure is SO different from the languages that she knows. From what I have noticed, people who have had prior exposure to Korean (in dramas, songs, variety show, taking Korean lessons etc) could breathe a little easier compared to those who has absolutely no prior exposure at all.

What is difficult?

Writing off-hand without Google Translate and speaking are the most difficult aspects for me now, especially the latter. I recently tried to speak up more in class during speaking session and I also joined a weekly language exchange offered by GIC to improve on my speaking but it takes time to be fluent and find confidence in talking to Koreans. As for writing, we did a lot of TOPIK style writing and other essays as homework so I am definitely better now. But right off the start, it was so hard to write a good essay even with the help of Google Translate. But sooner or later, all of us are required to shake the bad habit of searching for every single word we are not sure of because we don’t have Google during exams (DUH!).

Another difficult aspect in learning any language is the vocabulary. It is difficult to learn new words but it is even harder to keep them in and use them off hand in speaking or writing. I quote one of my friend who said, “We are basically throwing all the words we learned out while putting new words into our brain”. What he said is very very true and I agree with him totally because despite knowing how to say something in Mandarin doesn’t mean I can say it in Korean all the time even though both languages being so similar. And the fact is, learning new vocabulary is a daily thing and there is no end to this at least until we finish our language year.

At first, it would be difficult for us to communicate with our own teachers because they speak in Korean 90% of the time (for beginners class they start with English but they switch to full Korean very quickly). But once we get a hang of the language and get used to our teacher’s voices, it would be easier to understand. I have a great respect to our teachers because they are all so patient and understanding. They would encourage us to speak up even though we take ages to come up with the right words and make proper sentences. Good teachers make learning a new language a lot more easier and this is why it also encourages us to do well in our exams because we don’t want to let them down.

What is easy? What is less difficult?

Korean language is a very complex language where they have different expressions used for a similar purpose but with many grammar rules that binds on them and they are used in different context. In my point of view, basic grammars are easier to catch on because they have lesser exceptions and conditions. These basic level grammars are ones that always appear in speech so if you have prior exposure to K-pop or K-dramas/variety shows, chances are you may have unconsciously been exposed to them already, which makes learning them formally easier.

Once we got used to the textbook contents and flow and how our teachers conduct their classes, from then on it would be easier to keep up during class because the class syllabus and structure is always repetitive.

Among the four aspects of language learning, to me listening was easiest, followed closely by reading and then followed by writing and speaking.


So how do I feel after experiencing this for half a year?

Accomplished but mentally tired. There are many reasons that contribute to this. But the main factor lies in not having a proper break after exams or in between semesters. Unlike Malaysia where we have many public holidays scattered throughout the year, in Korea the biggest holidays were Chuseok (beginning October last year) and Seolnal (February this year). We have 0 days of break before and after midterms and while we were supposed to have 2 days off after finals (excluding weekends), this break got cancelled entirely for our January finals and got cut short for our November finals too! The only “long” vacation that we are getting is a 10 day worth of winter vacation, including weekends before we head back to class again with no more vacation till end of July.

At some point, most of us felt the strain and it is mentally draining to be studying the same subject every single day without a small break in between. Throughout the past 6 months, everything from grammar to vocab to TOPIK studies were taught to us in a rush because there is so little time but so much to cover. We are all expected to digest all the information and do well not just for TOPIK, but also in the exams by the language institution. Bear in mind that even though our language programme is one year long, the period between class commencement and the first TOPIK exam is 5 months (Sept – Jan), the second chance at TOPIK for us is coming April, which is 8 months after class commencement and by April TOPIK test all of us are expected to score a TOPIK 3.

Negativity aside, currently I am feeling accomplished and more relaxed because I managed to score TOPIK 5 already. For now, I am just taking it easy and learning the language at my own pace and interest because there is no longer any pressure on me to score well in any test anymore~ I am glad I made it this far and with 6 more months to go I aim to polish my speaking skills so I can speak more fluently by the end of language year! Once I have let go of the pressure, I realised that new words stick in my mind fairly easier compared to when I was piled under the exam stress.

Any advice?

I hope this post was able to give a glimpse of my life here as a language student under KGSP programme. Even though there are many difficulties that I had to go through, I still feel it is a very good programme and it offers a lot of opportunities for us to be a better person than before. I may sound very pessimistic and negative most of the time in this post, but it is the real deal that all of us here are going through. Six month in, 2 of our friends have dropped out. A lot of us started out really optimistic but no matter how mentally ready we are to be a student again, it is never easy learning a new language in a foreign country away from the support system you have back home.

The best advice from me to any potential applicants out there, is to be mentally prepared and make sure you really have the passion for Korean language and your preferred masters degree before even applying for the programme. It is NOT nice to apply when you know you are not up for this and give it up when you have gotten it because there are so many people who desperately wants the spot. If, after serious consideration you have decided to apply, then the next thing you gotta do is to start brushing up on your Korean. If you have no basic in Korean at all, try taking some level 1 classes to at least learn how to read the characters (or you can self learn, it is not hard at all) and to learn basic words. If you have been long exposed to Korean like me, it would be great to start memorizing vocabulary. The smallest effort you put in before coming would be of great help to you when you arrive.

Good luck and all the best!

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Yellow Flower Festival

On the 28th October 2017, the international office organised a trip to bring us to the Yellow Flower Festival! All along I thought autumn is all about the red and yellow leaves and I didn’t know beautiful flowers do bloom in autumn too!

It was a beautiful morning and we hopped on the bus prepared by the international office to begin our journey!

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Good morning!

The international office staff provided breakfast for us too! We got a toast each from Isaac and also a drink!

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Brekkie~
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Me and my roomie posing with our breakfast
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Yummy juice

After about 30 minutes of bus ride, we arrived at the festival venue! There were A LOT of flowers EVERYWHERE. Mostly yellow coloured but they also have fields of colourful daisies and other flowers near the venue. As a huge fan of flowers, I took so many photos!

The weather was super sunny on that day too! Which made it perfect for photos but then, most of us went with our autumn trench coats so we ended up sweating pretty badly. But anyway, it was worth all the walking under the sun because all the flowers are simply beautiful.

From now onwards, I will let the photos do the talking~

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The entrance
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The yellow arch at the entrance made by yellow flowers
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Some of the flower displays
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Obligatory shot with roomie
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General look of the festival area
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Another one with Vivi this time!
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My clothes kind of blend with the flowers hahaha
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Centre display
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Shocked looking panda sitting on a bed of flowers
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They even have dinosaur statues to appeal to kids
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Decoration area
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Another decoration area

After exploring the main area as above, we decided to walk out a little more to explore. We ended up discovering fields and fields of flowers!

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This is just one of the many fields
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There are also flowers on the other side of the road
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Selfie time!
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There is a stream that cuts right across the fields
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The field on the opposite side of the stream

After exploring this area, it was time for lunch! Lunch was given out by the organisers and it was piping hot Pho. We were all sweating under the hot sun by then but we still gobbled down the Pho under the tree shade because we were so hungry. On the way back to get lunch, I took more photos too!

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Umbrellas decorating the metal bridge
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Crossing the bridge to head back to the event
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KGSP-ers
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Bridge view
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Another bridge
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A small art village with colourful houses
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Hello it’s me again

Once lunch is finished, we thought there were no other places to view anymore. BUT as we walked down the opposite direction, we were greeted by fields of flowers again!

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I love how the flower bloomed so brightly
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Another shot
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There is a fountain in the middle of the stream
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Perfect place to take a stroll in autumn
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Us again!
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Trying to be artsy
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Spamming more photos
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OK last photo of this place

Aside from the stream, we also went to another area where they have more flowers too!

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Before we left for our hostel, we sat next to the stream while enjoying the breeze and flowers!

 

 

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KGSP-ers
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Where else can I find a bed of flowers as backdrop again?
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Last snap before heading back

It was a beautiful experience and definitely a memorable one. Hopefully the international office would organise more trips like this in spring!

January 2018 – Photo of the month

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Photo taken on 10 January 2018

We started off the second week of the year with heavy snow. It snowed for three consecutive days and by noon of the second day, the snow was around ankle height. After having lunch with my classmate Taylor, we decided to build a snowman on a little hill right next to our dorm! It was still snowing heavily at that time and it took us about 45 minutes for us to build a snowman in the midst of the freezing weather! Vivi came and join us mid way and all of us placed the finishing touches together~

Our snowman snowgirl is supposedly Olaf’s wife! The buttons, eyes and crown were made of the cherries that is growing around our dorm building. It is the first snowman I have ever built and hopefully I will be able to do it again during the next winter!

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Our snowgirl is wearing a dress and has a monobrow

Our Everland adventure

On 30th October 2017, the international office organised a trip to Everland for all KGSP students and other international students studying in Chosun University. It is a full day trip and we just have to pay 20,000 won for our bus ride and the entrance fees. It is a really good deal so of course me and most of my friends signed up to go!

We had to leave early in the morning around 8.30am because the bus ride will take around 3hours from our campus to Everland. We safely arrived at Everland around noon and we were told to get back to the bus stop at 8pm.

After the briefing, it was time to have fun!

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Group photo at the entrance
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Me and my roomie ❤

It was the Halloween season so there were a lot of Halloween themed decorations around. Me and my roomie decided to just stick with each other to roam around because both of us are pretty similar in our preferences so we ended up wanting to see the same thing anyway haha. Since I have been to Everland before a few years back, I knew how to go about in there and what are the attractions that are worth to experience.

First up, since the sun sets pretty early during that time (sunset at 6pm), I sortof knew that if we don’t see the animals first we would not be able to make it. For one, based on my previous experience the queue for animal related rides are really long. Two, the animal rides closes earlier than other amusement rides. So rather than going to the rides area first, me and my roomie, Maggie decided to visit the animals first!

When I went to Everland a few years back, I only managed to spend a little over half a day and there were many rides and attractions that I was not able to experience. Since there was a lot to offer, Maggie and I took a map and strategically planned our route so we can see as much as possible with the given time.

At that time, it was also autumn so we got to see a lot of beautiful autumn scenery too~

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So the first stop we went to is the Animal Kingdom where all the safari rides and animal related activities are at. After taking a turn from the main street, the first stop we stopped by is the Panda World~

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Entrance to Panda World
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Obligatory photo with giant (literally lol) pandas
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Oh look! A real panda!
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They also have a Red Panda~
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Panda souvenir shop

Panda World is not really a big area to explore because it only has about 3-4 enclosures. There isn’t a lot of pandas out on that day too. Before we got to the panda enclosures, we had to watch a 360 degree animation that narrates a story about a panda and it’s adventures. This is the second time in my life where I saw a real panda up close. The first one being in Beijing Zoo, which was really crowded with families. Fortunately we went on a weekday so it wasn’t so jam packed and we could take our time to take nice photos too~

After Panda World, we walked further down to Bird’s Paradise. But before that, we stumbled upon this souvenir booth that sells the cutest ear muffs ever!

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See what I mean?
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I ended up buying the penguin one because it is adorable!

P/S the penguin ear muffs are cute but it costs 17,000 won. It was undeniably an impulse purchase because it is just too cute to let it go by. So in my future posts that is winter related this ear muffs is going to make a frequent appearance because I will be sure to make full worth of my money hahahahaha.

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Entrance to the birds enclosure
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Just some random goose/geese chilling beside the waters

Nothing much attractive was in the birds enclosure so we quickly moved on to where the other side where the arctic animals are. They have king penguins and also seals that were out basking on that day~

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If my memory serves me right, this is the seal enclosure

By the time we finished walking through these attractions, it was way past lunch time and we got so hungry. But there were no restaurants nearby and it would be quite a waste of time if we sat down somewhere to eat for an hour. Plus, we saw a notice that there is an animal show going on about 20 minutes later so we decided to just grab a snack at the booth right next to the performance hall.

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Lunch for the day

For the sake of catching the animal performance on time, me and Maggie just chomped down the hotdog (plus, we were so hungry by then) and we queued for the animal performance! The first performance we went to is the one with the seals!

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Stage set up
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Audience participation during the performance

We were the first to go in so we sat at the first row at first because #kiasu (fear of losing out) but decided it might not be a good idea because there were warnings on the front row saying that there is a risk of getting wet. Since we have the whole day to go we decided to move a row back to avoid the potential splashes hahaha. Overall it is pretty entertaining and I feel like a kid again~

After the show ended, there was an announcement saying that there is ANOTHER animal show nearby which would start 20 minutes later. So since me and Maggie are a big fan of animals we just went ahead to the next performance. This time, the performance was performed by birds and domestic animals like dogs, cats and guinea pigs.

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Entrance to performance hall
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The stage
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Can you spot the giant bird?

Pretty impressed with the show where they could get so many animals coordinated in and out. The released two really big birds (I think it was a stork but I am not sure) during the end of the performance and it came swooping down right above us. At one point there was also a juvenile hyena that came out running across the stage too! They also had a “piano playing” dog mid performance but I think the dog needs more training or practice hahaha. There was also a train of guinea pigs that trotted across the stage but I think the leader got a stage fright or something so it just froze on the trail and caused a mini traffic jam for the rest of the guinea pigs. XD

After the really interesting show, we followed the map to look for more animals and we passed by the owls enclosure.

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The owls are so still and well camouflaged

After walking through most of the enclosures, it was almost the start of sun set so we went for our first ride of the day!

I think this is like the most famous ride in Animal Kingdom because there was a really long queue. I have been to this ride the first time I was here too. You sit in the circular boat covered with plastic blankets to avoid getting wet (but you would still get wet eventually especially on your shoes and pants) and it was a ride down the rapid currents. There are no real animals during the ride but it was fun because it was pretty bumpy and the Korean couple sitting with us were scaring us by saying “WATERFALL AHEAD!!!!”. I totally didn’t recall any huge thuds during my first ride few years ago so for a second I thought they renovated the ride and now it became more extreme. To be honest, me and my room mate freaked out -.-

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Dancing staffs entertaining the waiting crowd. They were so energetic even in the cold weather. I bet Everland only hires people who are cheerful and positive because their expressions are so bright and there was never a dull moment even though we were just waiting for our turn
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This is the entrance to the ride

After drying our clothes, we quickly proceed to queue up for the safari bus ride! I am not kidding when I said it would take a long time to get on the animal rides because…

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See what I mean? And this was taken after queuing up for half an hour or more.

But after almost an hour, it was our turn to board the safari bus! While feeling all the Jurassic Park vibes, we were taken to the tiger and lion enclosure and then the bear enclosure! This time around I didn’t manage to see the liger (tiger + lion mix) though.

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Tigers just chilling around
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One of the male lions
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Bear enclosure

P/S most of the photos taken in Animal Kingdom were blur because the animals/bus kept moving so it was hard to stay still for a shot. Or maybe, my hands started shaking because I was scared (LOL). And also possibly because as I age *coughs* my hands started shaking more hahahahaha.

There were so many bears that came by because the zookeeper staff were throwing out treats. In the picture above, the bear stood up to earn it’s treat and WOW it was so tall I got intimated even though I was inside the bus. Some bears refused to leave even though the bus was slowly being driven away because they wanted more treats hahahahaha. They kept standing up despite the zookeeper staff kept telling them “No more, stop it~~”. #socute

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The souvenir shop for Animal Kingdom
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En route to the next ride!
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The entrance to the other safari ride

After the safari bus ride, we went for another ride nearby. This time instead of the bus, we get to go on an amphibian vehicle that could move on land and also on the water. I missed out this ride on the first time I was here and later found out about the existence of this ride on Infinity Challenge.

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The giraffe is NOT real
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Some animal enclosures we passed by on the way in
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The amphibian vehicle we got to ride on
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Here we go!
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No one had any idea what these camels are doing with this odd pose
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For one second I thought it was a statue because it looked so still
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Cute elephants
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Flamingoes

Aside from these animals, we also went to the giraffe area too! The zookeeper lured the giraffes near our vehicle and the giraffe even landed a sloppy lick on one of the tourists after finishing the treat HAHAHA.

After the ride, more souvenir shops!

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Omg so Korean with the heart gesture

By the time we were done with Animal Kingdom, the sky started to darken and it was time to enter the rides section! Since it was Halloween season, they had special events going on in the French Village (???) area that is near the animal area. Aside from foreign buildings and restaurants, they have arcades and special Halloween activities there too! Since my roomie likes everything horror, I got dragged along to experience some Halloween-y stuff even though I get scared so easily.

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Sunset view
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By that time, it got colder hence the zipped up jacket
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The view of the village as we walked further in
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Arcade time!

Initially we planned to go to the haunted house but since some of our friends who have been there told us it wasn’t really worth going seeing how long was the queue at that point. Prior to that, we were challenging ourselves on the arcade games available! In the photo above, my roomie was challenging herself with a game of darts and she totally aced it! As for me, I had to go for the one with the BB guns to shoot dolls off the moving plates since I had so much practice in gun related arcade games back here in Gwangju. It was so hard to be able to hit the dolls because they were moving on a belt. There were dudes from the military who were playing at the same time with me but even to them it was hard! But in the end, I managed to hit one doll off and won a prize!

From this point on, my main phone (the one that took ALL the photos you seen so far) ran out of battery so from this point onwards the photo quality might not be as good because it was taken with my secondary phone.

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VR adventure – Halloween edition

So after the super fun arcade session, it was time for me to brace my fears and accompany my roomie to some Halloween related activities. The one and ONLY Halloween stuff that we went to was this VR Adventure, in which we had to put on VR headsets to watch a horror clip. There was nothing bloody or gory but there were some really really horrifying jump scares that made a lot of us scream during the entire 5 minutes or so. I remembered hugging my roomie’s arm so tightly and closing my eyes halfway to cheat myself out of this hahaha.

Right after the VR, it was cold and we were hungry so we went to order some hot chocolate. While waiting, we walked over to the nearby park for a stroll~

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While holding onto our hot chocolate, we hiked further uphill to the area where the rides were. Because it was late, the ferris wheel was not operating anymore. So to make it up, we decided to go for the least “scary” rides around and we reckon that getting on the kid’s roller coaster (adults were allowed) was a good idea.

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Initially we thought there was no place for us to put our drink and bags so we literally downed a whole cup of chocolate before getting on the ride. Prior to queuing we even took a look at how the roller coaster would go and both of us agreed that it seems mild and we could handle it.

It’s a roller coaster made for kids but…

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THIS HAPPENED

My room mate looked delighted here (which I later found out was because she saw a camera ready to snap our photos). I saw the camera too but I was too scared at that point all I cared was to scream my lungs out. Me and my roomie can no longer deny the fact that we are not as young as we think we were anymore because right after the ride, both of us could barely stand up so we just sat outside of the ride laughing at how we screamed throughout the whole ride. Looking back, I think the time we spent sitting down and laughing at how we chickened out was the best time throughout the whole trip. ^^

After cooling down, we went for a stroll in a nearby park since we had some time left in our hands.

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Right after exiting the garden, we bumped into another group of friends who suggested us to ride on the bumper cars! So off we went~

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By the time we were done with bumper cars, it was almost time to go back so we went down by cable car. These are some of the photos I took on the way~

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The Merry-Go-Round that I didn’t get to ride on

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Aerial view
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One of the restaurants near the entrance

All in all it was a tiring but memorable day~ It was a super long day hence the super long post. I hope the international office would organise more trips like this so we can make more happy memories before leaving for Seoul!