Essential items to bring for KGSP arriving scholar

Hello everyone! May is a month full of public holidays in Korea so it is time to write another blog post before life gets busy again! Coincidentally, May is also the month where KGSP-scholar hopefuls get to know whether or not they make it pass the 2nd round of application. I got a special request from one of my readers to draft a post about what to bring when scholars arrive in Korea because some of them have already started preparing (kudos to you!). I will split the post into a few sections for easier reading.


Clothing

Korea is blessed with four seasons a year with very distinctive weather every season. For people like me who is born and raised in a mono-season country (it is summer 365 days in Malaysia), having the chance to experience 4 different seasons are indeed a blessing. But without the right clothing, it is hard to enjoy the beauty of every season so in this section I am going to cover on types of preferred clothing per season for girls and also my advice on what to bring!

Spring:

The beginning of spring will be more chilly as there are still bouts of cold waves from time to time (they call it coldness before the flower blooms LITERALLY!). It even snowed once AFTER the cherry blossoms have bloomed and withered so that’s why temperature can be rather unpredictable. Spring is also a season where it rains a lot but as we progress through spring the weather will turn warmer and it would be perfectly fine to go out and about in summer clothing by then.

For girls, spring is a really nice time to play dress up in floral dresses/one pieces or thinner clothing. The most ideal dressing for spring is actually thin clothing with a layer of thinner outer jacket or cardigan that can be taken off when it is too hot.

P/S: I could withstand the cold pretty well and I am the type of person who can run around outside in shorts and summer clothing when it hits 17 degrees and above. Cold tolerance varies between individuals and I think where you come from will also make a difference because most people who come from hotter countries tend to feel cold easily but can withstand heat better than people from colder countries vice versa.

Some photos of my spring clothing choices:

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Brown coat – Mixxo Korea, Top and skirt – Malaysia
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Dark blue wind breaker – Uniqlo Malaysia, Jeans top – Brands Outlet Malaysia and floral skirt – Malaysia
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Blue coat – Envylook Korea, Dress pants – Dorothy Perkins Malaysia, Top – Malaysia

Pro tip: Bring medium to floor length skirts or dresses because they could be worn in many seasons like spring, summer and autumn. You can also bring shorter skirts and pair them with leggings during colder days too! It is advisable to bring a water proof wind breaker in case it rains as it doubles as a rain coat while blocking the cold spring wind (photo 2). If you are not fond of wearing skirts (it can be quite tedious sometimes when we have to sit on traditional flooring during outings or meal gatherings), then dress pants is also a good alternative (photo 3) because it can double as a formal clothing but yet you can also wear it casually for a day out!

Pro tip 2: It is not too expensive to buy those fashionable long coats (photo 1 and 3) that we often see in Korean dramas because there is always good deals lying around so it is better to buy it here.

Pro tip 3:  If you have limited bag space (we all do but I was fortunate enough that my parents tagged along with me so I have more luggage space), jeans are the best items to bring because you can wear it literally for every season! Jean pants, jeans top of various thickness (photo 2) are my favourite pieces because they can match almost everything else. My advice is to invest in a few pair of good, thick jeans for winter, and thinner, lighter jeans for the rest of the other seasons.

Pro tip 4: Thinner clothing of certain material may not be dryer friendly and some may require ironing. We do have a dryer and an iron on every floor in our dorm but to save on the hassle, try bringing clothes that do not require ironing. For the drying part, we can dry our clothes on the hanger (bought ourselves) so it is OK if some clothes cannot go into the dryer.

Summer:

Summer is when the heat strikes and people from hotter countries tend to wear really little like spaghetti stripe top and mini shorts with slippers. The only advice I could give for summer clothing is to wear clothes that are really thin but try to cover up as much skin as possible because it BURNSSSSS when you need to walk under the sun a lot. Most of the Koreans I observed wear long sleeves and long pants during summer (for fear of getting burned) but I feel like I would faint if I were to wear that so I normally just wear a tee and shorts with sneakers for summer. A cap or hat and sunnies will come in handy too!

Since I came from a tropical country, I have a lot of summer clothes at hand so there is no need for me to buy anymore here.

Some photos of my summer fashion:

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Top – Malaysia, Silky floral pants – Uniqlo Malaysia, Sunnies – China (LOL)
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Cap – Gwangju Downtown, Top – Malaysia (Friend in Photo – Denmark)
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Sometimes evenings are cooler so thinner jeans is nice to wear as it can fend off mosquitoes (Jeans – H&M Malaysia)
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Another summer look

Pro tip 5: My summer clothing consists of work and casual clothing but seeing that my future masters is in MBA, I brought more formal tops compared to casual tops because I reckon I would need to wear them more often during my stay here. Depending on your major, there may be certain dress code you need to follow during your course, so it is better to find out first before packing. Dress code for language year is casual FYI.

Autumn:

Autumn can be really unpredictable as well. As it slowly transform to winter, some days get really cold towards the end. However, the beginning of autumn seemed more like summer to me because it is still very hot and humid. But it rains lesser compared to spring and it is much more windier. Similar to spring, it is a nice time to whip out the long outer coats with padding in the inside to stay warm. In my opinion, autumn feels colder than spring so this is when I wear a lot of jeans and long sleeved clothing under a coat or a fur jacket. Scarves are also widely used to keep the neck warm and add a little more style to the outfit.

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Fur jacket – Uniqlo Malaysia, Jeans – Lois
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Jeans – H&M Malaysia, Jacket – Uniqlo Malaysia
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Jacket – Uniqlo Malaysia, Jeans top – Brand’s Outlet Malaysia
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Coat – Mixxo Korea, Jeans – Lois, Shoes – Fila Korea

Pro tip 6: Autumn is a good time to start looking out for winter boots and winter clothing if you are planning to buy them because the stores will be launching their winter collections by then and there is bound to be discounts and good deals. Winter boots is not a necessity in Gwangju even though it did snow pretty often last winter. I survived with just a normal pair of Fila sneakers through snow and it works fine.

Winter:

Winter in Gwangju and Korea generally is full of cold, harsh winds with almost no rain. Surprisingly it is not as cold when it snows but the coldest time would be the period right after it snows. Last winter, all of us (locals included) were surprised that it snowed pretty often and pretty heavily most of the time. Roads can be really slippery when thick snow starts to melt so it is IMPORTANT to have the right shoes to avoid falling. But even with good shoes, there is still a risk so it is better to be careful.

Winter is when we will need to wear long johns and down feather jackets because the normal long coats with padding is still too thin to fight the cold. Some of my friends opted for Uniqlo’s Heat Tech as their inner clothing layer. I have both Heat Tech and long johns from Universal Traveller (a stores that specializes in selling winter apparel and necessities in Malaysia). A proper long john plus thick top and down feather jacket is enough for me to endure the coldest days of winter. Heat Tech tend to be a bit thinner in terms of material and they have different grades of heat retaining properties so it may be advisable to buy the thickest one if you do not have a long john.

Pro tip 7: Ear muffs, gloves and furry neck warmers are sold pretty cheap here in Korea so you can purchase them here. The more expensive winter item would be down feather jackets and long paddings (knee length down feather jacket). My roomie bought a light down feather knee-length jacket from Uniqlo Korea and it cost 169,000won (about RM620). I didn’t buy any winter outerwear in Korea because I brought the one I had and also bought a second one for about RM688, both from Universal Traveller. Both coats did a great job so I didn’t see the need to buy a long padding here. It would be better to bring the ones you have in your country if you already have one. If you don’t, you can try buying it here but take note that those paddings from branded outlets tend to be really expensive. Two down feather jackets is a good number because you can swap around and in case one gets wet because of rain or snow, you can wear the other one while waiting for it to dry up.

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Inner layer – Very thick long johns from Universal Traveler, Top – Thin layer summer one-piece, Leggings + Long John Pants underneath, Down Feather Jacket from Universal Traveler, fur neck warmer from downtown (10,000won)
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Black dress pants with fur lining – Uniqlo Malaysia, Long John top (inside) – Universal Traveler, Turtle Neck top – Taobao
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White fur pink jacket – SPAO, Green long outer coat with padding – Gwangju Downtown random boutique, Gloves with inner fur lining – CLUE Korea, Jeans – H&M Malaysia, Long John (inside) – Universal Traveller

Pro tip 8: It costs around 8000 – 10,000 won to dry clean ONE piece of down feather coat. Based on personal experience, you may discuss with your friends to bring the coats for dry cleaning together to get a better price.

Pro tip 9: I managed to survive winter without long john pants when I am wearing jeans because I bought really thick jeans. Uniqlo also sells dress pants with fur lining which can keep us pretty warm. I brought two of them with me.

Pro tip 10: We can buy socks for real cheap in downtown so if you didn’t bring enough, don’t worry because you can find them everywhere in a decent price.

General Tips:

The most essential items to bring are comfortable walking shoes and plenty of underwear. It may sound really funny but the truth is, Korean sizes are pretty different and you may not be able to find suitable underwear here in terms of size and comfort level. So make sure you got that covered! Shoes are also important because you will be doing a lot of walking AND for those who have big feet (like me), it would be hard for you to buy shoes here too because their biggest shoe size is actually my shoe size (luckily or else I would be stuck with only one pair of shoes). My size is 40 and it is hard to get one that is not too tight on me here.

In terms of bags, backpacks are the best because we can use for class and travelling. Best to get waterproof ones in case it rains. For handbags, not very much needed unless for special events but nevertheless I still got some in downtown for a really good price.


Academic Essentials:

Depending on the major, there are certain tools and equipments that are needed so bring them along because you don’t know if you can get them here or would they be really pricey. For me, I didn’t bring any books because I don’t have any business related books (I studied science for my degree). I just brought my scientific calculator which I use for Math class in high school just in case I needed a calculator for statistics class.

But with limited luggage space, I would suggest to opt out bringing basic stationary like ruler, pencil, pen etc because you can buy them in Daiso here for a cheap price.

BRING your academic transcript, important academic certificate and other important certificate and copies of your passport, Identity card and passport size photo of yourself because they need it for Alien Registration Card (ARC) registration and sometimes they might need it out of the blue for other purposes.


Medicine:

Although we can buy all sorts of normal medicine here for flu, cough, headache, fever etc, it may or may not be the most effective medicine for us because we grew up in a different country and our bodies adapt differently to new viruses and bacteria. Having some basic medicine that you normally consume will come in handy especially when you suddenly feel sick in the middle of the night or when you are in a new place.

Bring medicine for the following:

  1. Fever
  2. Food poisoning (diarrhea, vomit)
  3. Cough
  4. Flu
  5. For special needs (eg. back pain medicine, high blood pressure medicine, migraine medicine) – this is most important especially if you need to consume from a specific brand

Other necessities:

1. Electronics – laptop, phone, camera etc

You can always buy them here but it is going to be pricey (taking to account the limited student budget we get) and there are lesser options available. In my opinion, it is easier to buy electronics back home because we can buy the exact model that we want and it is much more convenient. It is hard to purchase electronics here because of language barrier (at the start of our stay) and the models available might be limited in other areas outside of Seoul.

2. For girls: SANITARY PAD!

I would give this item a 5 star priority because having period is something unavoidable.

Similar to the underwear story mentioned above, it is going to be really hard to look for a good brand that suits you at the start. So bring at least 2 months worth so that you have ample time to ask around and try out some brands sold here. And also, pads here are really expensive compared to my country. For example, I bought one packet of overnight pads in the convenient store and it cost around 500won/pad. So in the end after knowing which brand I wanted to use for the long run, I bought them in bulk on Gmarket online and it cost around 300won/pad.

3. MONEY

This actually mean cold hard CASH. Some countries are really advanced and cash is no longer widely used. In Korea, the locals can pay using check card (aka debit card), credit card or using their phones. But for us, we will only be getting our bank card a month after arriving. We can also use our own credit card issued by our home country BUT bear in mind that not every card is accepted in every store. To be safe than sorry, it is best to bring at least enough cash to last you for a month (for food, books, necessities like pillow, blanket etc that you need to buy here) PLUS  a little bit as a spare. In Gwangju, USD is not accepted but I think you can convert your USD to Won in the bank.

Also important, Woori Bank staff here in Downtown Gwangju do not speak English so bring an English speaking Korean with you to the bank! This is probably not very likely in the first 2 weeks unless you already have friends in Korea before coming.

Pro tip 11: To figure out how much a certain item might cost in Won, you can visit the Gmarket Global website to get a hint. We won’t be able to purchase anything online until we get the bank card, but at least it gives you a hint on how much the necessities will cost.

Pro tip 12: Daiso is the cheapest place you can shop. But unfortunately they do not sell items like bedding items and clothing. That aside, we can get toiletries, laundry items, stationary and even cooking utensils there for a cheap price.


So there you go! Hopefully this post would be a great help to those who are preparing to come this year as a scholar! Good luck and happy preparing! ^^

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The winter that has come and gone~

It seemed like we were just wearing our down feather jackets and earmuffs barely a month ago and now spring has hit us in full blast. The past winter seemed like it has went on for the longest time and it still snowed even though flowers had bloomed and withered already!

Looking back at my first ever winter abroad, it was full of first-times and great memories! I have seen snow before in my previous travels but I have actually never seen it snowing before since I came from a country where it is summer 365 days a year. At first, I was a little disappointed when my Korean friends tell me that it barely snows in Gwangju. But to our surprise, it snowed pretty often and pretty heavy most of the time this past winter!

Needless to say, I was in awe every single time it snowed! I enjoyed being outside and see the snow falling. I loved the sensation of stepping and touching fresh snow. And I love it even more when it snowed enough the blanket the mountains and fields outside our window because it seemed like we entered the film set of “Frozen”. ^^

To me, the mountains looked majestic when it is covered with pure white snow. And snowy nights are most charming~

First, let me show you the view from my room window at every stage of snow!

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When it just started snowing (P/S it is not a dirty window)
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Sometimes we wake up to this in the beginning of winter
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And then one fine morning, this happened!
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So pretty!
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Look at the fields blanketed in snow
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Evening view
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Night snow

Aside from snow, the best part of winter is Christmas, Year End Parties and also New Years!

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Giant Christmas tree in downtown
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Another lights Christmas tree near ACC
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Christmas decorations near ACC
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Christmas tree in ACC
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Cake for class party!
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New Year fireworks

I decided to stay in during new years eve instead of going out because 1. It is freezing cold at night and 2. I had exam on January 2nd. But nevertheless I still stayed up till 12am to ring in the new year in the room with my roomie HAHA.

After all the year end festivities, 2018 started with loads and loads of snow too! This was me throughout winter~

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And of course, our campus look beautiful when it snows too!

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Lots of pine trees around campus
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Road to class
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Love it when snow rests on the leaves
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The football field covered in snow
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View of main building and the trees underneath
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After the sky cleared up a little
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When the sun comes out to shine (view from International building)
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When it snowed without mercy
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Love it when it snows like this!
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Another one on the way to class
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Small hill near main building

The highlight of my entire winter was actually watching my first ever ballet performance! I have been wanting to watch ballet live for a while now but I didn’t manage to because ticket prices in Malaysia is just so expensive! Fortunately, our school managed to plan the trip and we only had to pay 10,000won to get a seat PLUS dinner party! The show was The Nutcracker and it was amazing!

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They told us the dress code was formal (IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER REALLY?!)
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Me and roomie under the Christmas tree at the event
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This tree!
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A shot with the main characters
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Every performance or events in Korea always have a booklet detailing on the event, cast etc
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Outside the hall
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Entrance before the hall area
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Friends from China and Vietnam

 

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The stage!
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Group picha~
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Ending credits

We weren’t allowed to record the performance so the only photos I had was the ones at the ending credits where the performers come out for a final bow. I still remember the show vividly. The costumes, the plot and also the special effects during the show just make everything so magical!

Right after the performance we were ushered to a nearby restaurant where all of us from KGSP and our teachers held a year end class party! Needless to say everyone went wild with performances by students AND teachers, and also games (organised by me by the way hehehe). It was a memorable day as we get to bond with our teachers and other friends outside of classroom.

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All bundled up because it was so cold
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With Vivi and Ingrid from Brazil
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Another one with Vivi and our teacher
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Pizza is on the menu
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Song performance by fellow KGSP

All in all winter was pretty eventful! I wonder what would spring bring?

Day in life of a KGSP Korean Language Student – Exam season

Following my previous post about my day-in-life during non exam seasons, this post will be about how my normal schedule changes to accommodate time to revise for exams. Besides that, I would also share my study habits and patterns!

Before I begin, here is my life schedule during exam season:

Time Activity
8am Alarm ring
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2pm Lunch!
2pm – 4pm Bathe/Watch 1 episode of drama or variety show
5pm-6pm Finish homework
6pm-7pm Dinner time!
7.30pm – 10.30pm Study time
11pm Rest and relax, prayer time
11.30pm Sleep time

Now that I revealed my schedule, here comes a some details on my study habits.

Type of student:

First of all, if I would summarize myself as a student in a sentence, it would be…

Someone who studies only during exam period, but is able to pick up (to a certain level) new knowledge everyday and apply them whenever needed.

If I need to summarize my study/revision style in 2 words, it would be…

ARMY STYLE

I think one of my biggest strengths in the area of learning a language, is the ability of memorizing. Coming from Malaysia where we speak many languages and are exposed to even more local dialects, it is easy for me to pick up Korean because I already have a good foundation in Mandarin. Plus, since we were young, memorizing whatever that was taught to us has been a norm in our education system so memorization is not something that I am unfamiliar with.

Another important point that added to my “success formula” (lol) is discipline. I think 10 out of 10 people who has known me for a long time would agree that once I set my heart on something or make a goal, I would make an effort to achieve it. In my book, (some) rules are meant to be broken and goals are made to be achieved. Which is why I said when it boils down to important matters like grades, I would go full army style hard core studying (i.e. studying super hard and make sure I know everything I need to know for the test). I think it would take years of training (at home and in school) to be able to do that.

Also, I think I could say I don’t break easily when under stressful conditions mainly because personally, I always try my abest to reduce the stress I am taking in in every way possible. You would see how as you read on.

Study location:

I always study in my own room (100%). I don’t study anywhere else because I couldn’t focus properly and there might be a lot of distractions like people walking around, things dropping etc. Plus, I have everything I need in the room (books, stationary, water, food, music etc) and I prefer not to bring everything OUTSIDE and going through the hassle of bringing them back to the room again after I finish studying. Studying in the room feels less stressful for me too because I am in a comfortable location, in comfortable clothes and in a familiar environment. And after getting mentally tired from all the studying, I can straight away plop onto my bed and rest without having to make the long journey back to my room if I were to study outside!

The only downside is my laptop and my phone is always by my side so undeniably it is hard to resist the temptation to keep wanting to click on them all the time. I would allow myself to do it most of the time because I normally have a pretty relaxed study schedule (i.e. I know I could still achieve my study goals even though I get distracted a lot). But there are also times where I have no time left for distractions and this is when ARMY STYLE hormones kick in and work its magic.

An interesting FAQ is, do I turn on the music when I study? The answer is yes. But I could study and concentrate with or without it. I just turn it on so that I can stay seated longer. If no music is on, I would probably walk around the room while studying. It works both ways for me.

Learning Style

Everyone learns differently and in my opinion, once you discovered what is best for you, learning would be a breeze. I usually learn something new by listening, especially while learning technical terms or more complicated things. I would understand the reasoning or theory behind the subject by listening but usually I would forget the little details (that’s why I still need to revise). In class, I am usually very focused in listening to my Korean teachers’ explanation because sometimes it is hard to learn the context just by the book.

I also think it is important to continue learning OUTSIDE of the classroom. I normally watch Korean variety shows in my free time. I realised it helps me a lot in learning new words and also solidifying what I have learned in class. Aside from listening skills, it also polishes my reading skills and to some certain extent my speaking skills too. I am able to read pretty fast thanks to all the flashing captions across the screen that disappears with 2 seconds and my pronunciation is pretty good (that is what the Koreans tell me) thanks to all the influence I got from consistently being exposed to the Korean speech. Needless to say, it takes time for everyone to adapt to the speed of how Koreans speak because they speak so fast all the time. Some of my friends watched Korean shows without the subtitles but in an effort to reduce stress levels I always watch with subtitles HAHAHA #lazypig But yea, if there is no subs I would still be able to understand so it is OK HAHAHA.

Revision style

I always do my revisions alone. Group discussions do not work well for me. The reason why I don’t like group studying is because I have my own study pace (which fluctuates all the time depending on my motivation and energy levels) and now that I think of it, I don’t talk to anyone AT ALL when I am studying. So maybe that is why group study is not for me haha.

My main goal of revision before exam is to ensure I learned and memorized everything that I have to. I remember things better when I read (vision-type memory recollection) but to really know how to apply something I memorized, it is by listening.

In Korean language studies, I normally split my revision to two sections: Grammar and Vocabulary. I do really simplified mind maps for Grammar whereas for Vocab, I cram as many vocab as I can in an A4 sheet before moving onto the next. You can see some photos as below.

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If you haven’t noticed, at the end of the day I filled the A4 sheets to the brim and consolidate as many info as I can in 1 page. To me, it is really effective in bringing my stress level down because even though it is A LOT of information, it gives my brain a perception that actually it is not as much as I think. Imagine having final exams but you only have to study 4 – 5 sheets of A4 sized pages!

I would totally NOT…

If there is one thing I would totally not do when it comes to preparing for an exam, is to try to cram everything one or two days before the exam day. I have been adopting this habit since high school and I am really glad that by pacing out my study scope I am able to reduce my stress levels and I am able to be more prepared (both physically and mentally) for the exam. Adopting this habit also teaches me a lot about discipline, time management AND also crisis management.

For the discipline and time management part, by knowing my own pace I am able to set AND follow a schedule to achieve my study goals everyday during the study period. As for crisis management, I learn also how to deal with last minute issues or problems that arises during the study period. In our last mid term paper held in April, my parents were here a week before my exam (aka during the supposed study period) so I pushed all my study plans forward and started studying ahead of time because I knew I won’t have enough time to even finish my homework. BUT, to everyone’s surprise, the teacher added not just one chapter, BUT TWO EXTRA CHAPTERS to be included in the exam! All of us were informed about this 4 days before the actual test day. So in an actual turn out of events, I managed to squeeze in the additional chapters and finish studying everything I need before the test. This will not be possible if I were to only start studying a few days before the test. So my advice is, always leave some extra time for any last minute changes because you will never know what would hit you!


So there you go! I hope this post will be able to shed some light on the way I am coping and studying Korean language here in Korea under KGSP programme. So far I think I have found the best way for myself and I have been adopting all these habits ever since I was in college. There a thousand and one ways to study and learn so good luck finding the one that suits you the most! 🙂

Day in life of a KGSP Korean Language Student – Non-exam season

Finally it is the weekend again! After travelling for almost every weekend since the mid of March, I am finally able to take a breather this week. Also, since I have been posting lots of travel related posts recently, I thought it would be nice to also post some updates about my student life.

This weekend is actually April 2018 TOPIK weekend and it is compulsory for all KGSP scholars in the language year to take the exam. But I was fortunate enough to get an exemption because I have already gotten TOPIK 5 in the January test AND the certificate is valid until the end of my masters. So yay to me!

This blogpost will be recording the usual, day-in-life of my life as a KGSP language year student during the non-exam season (aka usual days where we only have classes). My daily routine during exam seasons are a bit different (with the additional activity called: studying LOL) and I would record that in a separate post. It is important to note that everyone has a different study style and I would only study when there is an exam (i.e. Mid Terms, Finals, TOPIK) because that is what we generally do in Malaysia (don’t judge!). But anyway, welcome to my life!

Here is a summary on my weekday schedule:

Weekdays (aside from Wednesdays)
Time Activity
8am Alarm ringggggg
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2.30pm Lunch!
2.30pm – 4.30pm Housework/Laundry/Just chilling around
5pm-6pm ish Bathe
6pm-7pm Prepare and eat dinner
7pm-8pm Complete homework
8pm to 10pm Watching Drama/Variety Show time/Other life commitments
10pm – 11pm Call parents, wash up, pray
After 11pm Sleep time!
Days with extra classes  
Time Activity
8am Alarm ringggggg
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2pm Lunch!
2pm – 4pm Extra classes
5pm-6pm ish Bathe
6pm-7pm Dinner
7pm-8pm Complete Homework
8pm to 10pm Watching Drama/Variety Show time/Other life commitments
10pm – 11pm Call parents, wash up, pray
After 11pm Sleep time!
Wednesdays
Time Activity
8am Alarm ringggggg
9am – 1pm Class time
1pm – 2.30pm Lunch!
2.30pm – 4pm Bathe, Complete all homework
5pm – 8.30pm Volunteering at Gwangju International Centre
8.30pm – 10pm Dinner
11pm Prayer time and then sleep time!

Everyone has a choice on how much effort and time they put into studying and there is a way that works best for each and everyone of us. During off-exam seasons, I prefer to be more relaxed and just follow through the class’ progress by finishing all my homework everyday. There are also friends who study a lot at night and also in the early hours in the morning. I usually like staying in the room after evening but I also sometimes do enjoy a night out with friends for dinner and Noraebang haha!

Four hours of class during normal days seem to be pretty doable at the start and six hours of class for certain days seemed OK when we first started in November last year. But as the days go by, it gets more and more taxing because the higher you advance, the more complicated the language gets and the faster your lecturer would speak in class too. Which is why most of us get so burnt out after class and would nap in the evening. As for me, I don’t have a habit of napping but I do take 2 hour naps if I cannot take it anymore (usually happens once a month). I would love to say I could take a shorter 5 minute or 20 minute power nap but sad to say that I tried but I got so drowsy and I couldn’t wake up until I slept for at least 2 hours.

Also, to avoid falling into the mundane, repetitive life cycle, I signed myself up as a volunteer in a local NGO called Gwangju International Centre! They have loads of weekly and special activities and I am part of the weekly language exchange team, which holds free language exchange sessions every Wednesday evening for local Koreans and foreigners to practice Korean – English or Korean – Mandarin. I have experienced volunteering for both teams and it has opened up opportunities for me to work with and mingle with people from many different countries! More on that in my future posts.

For weekends, my schedule is pretty different. When it is too cold or too hot or when it is raining, I usually stay in to catch up with housework and also indulging in Netflix haha. But in autumn and spring when the weather is great, I would hang out in downtown or even travel around with my friends! I have been to many places, which I can’t wait to share more on this platform. What I have posted so far is just really, the tip of the iceberg.

Can’t wait to be updating more!